Breakfast with Israel and TAW

TravelAge West and the Israel Ministry of Tourism partnered for a series of agent seminars held in California and Arizona

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Left to right: Hezi Sheli Bismout, Israel
Ministry of Tourism; Ken Shapiro, Editor-
in-Chief, TAW; Rami Levi, Director of
Tourism, Western U.S., Israel Ministry
of Tourism; Enid Richter, Certified
Vacations; Abraham “Pitch” Maayan, private
tour guide; Stephanie Sirotich and
Michael Escalante, El Al Israel Airlines.

Last month, TravelAge West (TAW) and the Israel Ministry of Tourism partnered for a series of agent seminars held in California and Arizona.

About 300 agents attended the breakfast events which were designed to educate agents on the advantages of selling travel to the Holy Land. Rami Levi, special emissary to the evangelical communities in the U.S. and director of tourism to the western U.S., led the presentation, which included a discussion with a luxury private tour guide and video presentations. Levi spoke at length on the growth of faith-based travel, as well.

Also participating in the seminars was Certified Vacations, El Al Airlines and Monarch Classic Cruises.


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Mansor received a scroll of appreciation
from Saab.
Malaysia Tourism Travels North America

Malaysia’s minister of tourism, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, led Malaysia’s 2007 Sales Mission tour from New York City to Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles recently.

During the weeklong visit, Mansor held meetings and luncheons with members of the media and the travel industry, among others, to renew and strengthen relations and express appreciation for continued support. In addition, Mansor helped launch the Win a Free Trip to Malaysia and Vietnam contest partnership with the First Vietnamese American Bank in Los Angeles; received a scroll of appreciation from Lourdes Saab, the deputy chief of protocol from the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors; spoke and helped cut the ceremonial ribbon at the newly opened Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel in San Pedro, Calif.; presented awards to tour operators and restaurant partners who have helped promote Malaysia; and received a special peace mural, designed and created by students, teachers and Peace Corps members from the Lawndale District in California, which will soon go on a 50-school tour in 50 U.S. cities.


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Durband Takes the Reins at Travcoa

Randy Durband took over as president of luxury travel operator Travcoa this month, bringing with him more than 20 years of industry experience.

Previously, Durband was president of Intrav, a First Choice Expeditions company that was partly absorbed by Travcoa earlier this summer. Prior to his role at Intrav, Durband spent nearly 20 years at Tauck World Discovery, where he gained experience in aspects of escorted tour operations.

“Many of the Travcoa staff members have known and respected Randy for years, so he already feels like a part of the family,” said First Choice Expeditions president and former president of Travcoa Jerre Fuqua. “Randy’s leadership at Intrav and past industry experience made him absolutely the right person to take the reins at Travcoa.”


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HAL promotes Olsen

Holland America Line promoted Brad Olsen to director, tactical marketing communications. Olsen is responsible for the development and expansion of the company’s direct mail and e-mail marketing efforts.

“Brad’s vast experience in marketing and proven track record of success will be invaluable to this position,” said Joseph Slattery, vice president, revenue marketing for Holland America Line.

Olsen joined Holland America Line in 2001 as manager, direct marketing, and direct mail volume increased more than three-fold during his tenure. He previously held various marketing leadership positions with Society Expeditions, Cruise West and Security Pacific Bank.


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From left to right: Brad Anderson,
Christoff and Michael Anderson turn the
valve at Aker Yards.
AVC and TAW Join RCI in Finland

Brad Anderson, co-president of America’s Vacation Center/ American Express and Michael Anderson, vice president of affiliate services, attended the floating out of Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas with TAW Managing Editor, Janeen Christoff, Sept. 14.

The ceremony, which took place at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, was also attended by Royal Caribbean executives Harri Kulovaara, executive vice president of Maritime; Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of sales; and captain Hernan Zini; as well as Juha Heikinheimo, president, Aker Yards Cruise and Ferries; and Jykri Heinamaa, Turku Yard director, Aker Yards; in addition to other travel industry professionals.

During the floating-out ceremony, guests gathered to watch as a valve was turned, releasing 87 million gallons of water into the dry dock area.

Independence of the Seas will share the title of world’s largest cruise ship with her sister ships, Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas.