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November 14, 1986 - Image 3

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-11-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I IIIIII MI Ell IN MI MI MI NI EN IN MI MI

UP FRONT

Milk-Honey Packages
Boosting El Al Load

The airline is promoting its new tours to
increase business for itself and for Israel

ALAN HITSKY

News Editor

Aviva Lavi:
Business is booming.

y

ou have a relative in
the airline industry
who has tied in to
package tours in a big, big
way. She's got some of the
lowest prices, the best bar-
gains, some of the world's
most historic sites, and hot,
sandy beaches for a winter
tan.
The relative is Israel and
the airline is El Al, which
has begun a national cam-
paign to promote its "Milk
and Honey Vacations" in Is-
rael this fall and winter.
The new packages are of-
fering 12 days in Israel for as
little as $379 plus air fare
($769) for first-time visitors.
The packages are designed
for both first-time and ex-
perienced visitors, including
tour guides for newcomers
and rental cars for the ex-
perienced. The packages
range from 12 to 22 days,
with extensions available for
Eihat and Cairo. With the
package, -visitors can stay at
the King David or similar
hotels for $16 per night.
"Israel?" you ask. "What
about terrorism?" Aviva Lavi,
El Al's advertising and pub-
lic relations manager for
North America believes that
Israel's and El Al's safety re-
cords are gaining wider at-
tention. And public confi-
dence is increasing. "El Al
had a 92 percent on time per-
formance record last year,"
Lavi said last week during a
visit to Detroit, "and the air-
line was ranked number one
by the International Air
Transportation Association."
The heavy security precau-
tions that El Al is noted for
have not hurt that on-time
record, she said. In fact, El
Al's security is a gauge of
confidence. "In good times, El
Al flies 50 percent of the air-
line travelers to Israel," shar-
ing the load with 14 other
airlines. "Now we are flying
70 percent which, while we
like the business, is not a

healthy situation."
Veteran travelers who be-
lieve they can call El Al
last-minute to schedule a
flight are finding that the
situation has changed be-
cause of the demand. And El
Al has also put together
"Milk and Honey" and
worked hard to upgrade serv-
ice to match its safety record.
The airline is trying to in-
crease the number of its
popular business class seats
on each flight from 34 to 56.
"We want people to fly El
Al not because it is Jewish,
but because of better service,"
Lavi said. "Our security pro-
cedures do not keep us from
being on time." Lynn Kop-
pinger, the airline's resident
sales representative for
Michigan, added that "El Al
has worked hard to eliminate
its old image: Every Landing
Always Late."
El Al has sold 1,200 "Milk
and Honey" packages in the
few weeks since the packages
have been introduced. The
airline has a goal of 4,000
packages for the winter sea-
son ending in March.
The package business is
only one approach that El
Al, and Israel's Ministry of
Tourism, is taking to promote
travel to Israel. The two have
collaborated on a 14-minute
video tape on travel oppor-
tunities — with gorgeous
footage of Israel. The tape is
available free of charge
through the local El Al office
to groups and individuals.
Lynn Koppinger is also
holding extensive seminars in
the coming weeks with travel
agents and Christian groups
to promote local Christian
pilgrimages to Israel. For the
winter season, El Al has al-
ready booked more than 160
passengers from the Detroit
area through St. Elizabeth's
Catholic Church in Wyan-
dotte, Jordan College, Trinity
Episcopal Church in Bay
City, and 35 Michigan minis-
ters through the Knights
Templar. An equivalent
number of Jewish passengers
have been booked by El Al
through group programs of
the American Israel Chamber
of Commerce, Temple
Emanu-El, Temple Shomer
Emunim in Toledo, Cong.
Beth Shalom, Cong. Shaarey
Zedek and Michigan Friends
of Hebrew University.
"In good times," said Aviva
Lavi, "60 percent of our traf-
fic to Israel is Christian. In
bad times, 70 percent of the
traffic is Jewish." She pre-
dicted that winter tourism to
Israel this year would be
about the same as last year,
which was a marked reduc-
tion from the banner year of
1985. "But tourism has a
tendency to go up and down.
The political situation is
quiet," she said, "and that
helps tourism."

11111

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