Staycation: a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
When was the last time that you went on a tour, in your own backyard? Possibly when you had some visitors from abroad. They may have hired a tour guide, and you joined their tour. You may have even helped to plan their tour for them. Perhaps you gave them suggestions, listed the “must-see” sites, recommended some places to eat. In most instances, the tourists from abroad had the good sense to work with a travel company and a tour guide. This gave them the opportunity to make the most of their visit here. For some, it may have been some day trips planned around business meetings. Others came here on vacation and had a few days to see the country. There were families who came to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah or other happy occasion. Lastly, there were groups who came for a religious experience. For many, they were on the tour of a lifetime. For all, seeing the country with a licensed tour guide, made all the difference.
Have you ever wondered what makes this country so special? Why have all these tourists come to see Israel? What do they see and experience, that we who live here, may not? Its time to find out!
I have been a licensed tour guide for 25 years. I have had the sincere pleasure of showing tourists the Israel that I live in and love. As we toured together I was required by law to wear my tour guide license. I always wore it as a symbol of pride. I know that for the tourists from abroad, I was the country’s ambassador. It was my mission to educate them about our history, culture, folklore, and more.
Corona is here. It may be with us for a while. The entire tourism industry in Israel has come to a standstill. The skies and cruise ship ports are closed. Tourism to Israel as we know it has come to a standstill. No one can say when the planes will start flying again, or when cruise ships will visit our shores. Even when the air and seaports do reopen, it will take quite some time till tourists return.
Life must go on. We all have bills to pay, families to support.
Many of my colleagues are looking for government help. Travel coordinators have closed their doors and tour guides have stopped working. Some are hoping the national insurance system (Bituach Leumi) will save them. A few guides have even gone on a hunger strike! We are hoping the govt will recognize the important part our industry plays in the countries GDP and address our needs. Perhaps down the road, the govt will offer us free or subsidized retraining. Tour guides are known as people with lots of energy and optimism. I’m sure given the opportunity, most of us would like to learn something new.
Speaking of new, at the moment I and other guides are taking a course in conversational Arabic. Next week, I am starting a course in touring with the handicapped. Since the corona restrictions have been lifted, a group of us guides has been on our own educational tour days. We zoom lectures, visit sites together, produce tour videos, and more. All this, while following the Ministry of Health guidelines. We do this so that when the tourists will return, we will be ready!
Until then, let us show you what makes this country great. Treat yourself to a day or more with a licensed guide.
I invite you to join me, Dave of Dave’s Dynamic Tours of Israel, on a Staycation!