Major US Tour Operator Cancels Dubai Programs

It’s not often that a company places principles over profit. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I received the following e-mail:

New York, February 16 2009:

One of America’s largest tour operators, New York-based IsramWorld has canceled its tour programs to Dubai, it was announced today in the wake of the United Arab Emirates’ decision to deny a visa to Israeli tennis player, Shahar Peer, to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championships.

“The UAE’s action is an odious act of political bigotry, says A. Ady Gelber, president and CEO of IsramWorld, a leading U.S. tour operator for more than four decades and a leading member of USTOA (the United States Tour Operators’ Association), “and it reveals that despite its massive investment in tourism infrastructure, Dubai appears not ready to be a member of the world tourism family.”

IsramWorld offers tours and packages to 56 countries on five continents. In the wake of the Camp David Accords it was one of the first U.S. tour operators to offer a diverse program of tours to Egypt, and in 1994 it began offering tours to Jordan, “I am deeply disappointed in the UAE’s decision, one that seems to spell a return to the grim dark days of division and discrimination,” observed Gelber.

The Dubai Tennis Championships are sponsored by Barclays, Britain’s fourth-biggest bank that in 2008 acquired the assets of failed US investment bank, Lehman Brothers.

According to a report in today’s New York Times, when U.S. tennis champion, Venus Williams, learned of Peer’s visa denial she said, “All the players support Shahar, we are all athletes, and we stand for tennis.” Peer and her family urged the Women’s Tennis Association not to cancel the tournament because of the incident but, the New York Times took an unusually strong position in its article on the controversy, saying: “ There is always going to be international conflict, and athletes in the middle. But they can’t be abandoned there when there is a choice. Tennis should finish its business in the gulf this month, and say bye-bye, Dubai.”

“We’re saying ‘bye-bye, Dubai,’ right now,” Gelber added.

Shahar Peer

Isram is a major tour operator to the Middle East. It also operates in Europe, the Far East, and Latin America. I’ve worked with them in the past and they offer an excellent product with great service.  They even offer some tours to Israel in Spanish, and a series of Elite Collection programs for upscale travelers.

On the same subject, I read in another blog that The Tennis Channel refused to broadcast the tournament over the same incident. This was also reported by the New York Times.

I’m eager to see what the WTA‘s reaction is going to be. I hope they do the right thing and pull out of Dubai.

What are your thougths on this?

Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171


5 responses to “Major US Tour Operator Cancels Dubai Programs

  1. Pingback: Tennis Channel no dhimmi’s - won’t air UAE matches « Creeping Sharia

  2. Its a little ridiculous that only now can politics and sports not mix. There was no uproar this week when Britian denied entry to the Cricket team from Zimbabwe. There is no uproar when Israel forces the Palestinian soccer team to forfeit matches .

    Why is morality only applied to non “western” countries?

  3. I agree. Politics and sports should not mix at all. Having said that, the only thing I found about Zimbabwe cricket from this week was a refusal by New Zealand to travel to Zimbabwe. Not the same thing. And remember Israel is not solely responsible for border crossings from Gaza and the West Bank. If the other neighbors (Egypt and Jordan) also close the borders, don’t blame Israel.

  4. oblogdeeoblogda

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the information. yes this is very good. that is why making a noise is so important – so thank you world for the outcry. best melanie from

  5. Us Tennis Parents

    “hatred and racism should have no place in the “pure” world of sports”. Discrimination starts with raising our children in a way that they understand it is just wrong. Tennis is a international sport and we need to accept the fact that there are players from different ethnic backgrounds. What would you say, if we discriminate our own youngsters by setting rules that kids are not allowed to speak in their native language. We are enforcing juniors in the US with a “English only policy” and if they use a different language we penalize them. So for me racism and discrimination starts right at our own doorsteps. Please read further at:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s