In what is a first, the Israel Ministry of Tourism brought
together travel leaders from all corners of the industry for a virtual Passover
seder, the ritual meal that accompanies the holiday.
Also a possible first: talk of commission protection
accompanied the breaking of maztah.
Eyal Carlin, the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s commissioner
of North America, thanked two of the participants, ASTA CEO Zane Kerby and
USTOA CEO Terry Dale, for their efforts to keep the industry afloat.
“With us, we have two wise leaders whose work to advocate on
behalf of the travel industry has been on full display,” Carlin said. “In this
crisis, they have known what to say, when to say it and how to act.”
Kerby and Dale read parts of the seder, along with Signature
Travel Network CEO Alex Sharpe, Travel Leaders Group vice president of
marketing Jim Nathan, MAST Travel Network COO John Werner and representatives
from United, American and Delta.
The event included a few quips about the hand-washing element
of every Passover seder. “No, really that’s part of the Seder, not just corona
paranoia,” Carlin said. Dale’s seder portion reminded everyone that nobody
should “rejoice when your enemy is defeated” unless that enemy is coronavirus.
There were also expressions of hope. Gal Hana, the Israel
Ministry of Tourism’s director of Canada, said that while parsley is usually a
reminder of springtime growth, “maybe growth is a bit stunted this time around,
but it is still important to remember that growth shall return, and with it,
prosperity for the travel industry.”
Sharpe, whose technical issues prevented him from showing up
on Zoom, wrote a very current list of things to be thankful for right now:
enough toilet paper, grocery delivery, Netflix binging and Zoom. He concluded, “If
God had made everyone postpone and we got to keep ALL of the commissions … actually
that would fix most of our problems!”
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