Travel arrangements by this company were excellent - the trip went as scheduled with numerous opportunities for adjustment. The travel guide that was assigned to us was knowledgeable, friendly and competent.
I would have rated the trip a 5 on a scale of 1-5 if not for two reasons. First, the itinerary in Tel Aviv was a bit"weak" - we didn't get much out of the day trip to some of the adjacent sites in that area, especially the field where David supposedly slew Goliath. I'd drop that from future itineraries. Also, we were disappointed to finish the Bethlehem tour with a visit to a Palestinian souvenir shop selling olive wood carved products among other things. We felt very pressured to buy something to support the Palestinian Christian community and the products were not something that we were interested in. I would definitely make this optional for future travelers.
All of the historical sites, the Old City of Jerusalem, the geographical contrasts of the country (Mediterranean Sea vs. deserts, etc.). etc.
Spend a little less time in Tel Aviv or visit different in that area (museums?). I'd also skip the Dead Sea. The beach area is very small, it was very crowded and the water was very dirty due to people scooping up Dead Sea mud. It was interesting to see but the tourist area was not really able to accommodate the number of people that were there.
[TRAVEL COMPANY'S COMMENTS]
Dear Mr. G,
First off, I would like to thank you for the wonderful review. It was truly a pleasure hosting and meeting you both here in Israel over your past trip. I am so happy to hear that our services met your expectations and more. During the trip, we had checked in several times by phone and person and with that being said, the review did come as a surprise. We felt based on all your live feedback during the trip that everything was going perfectly. We had never received any concerns or negative feedback regarding Tel Aviv or Bethlehem.
We also made sure that you knew we were available 24/7 with any issues and you can feel free to turn to us incase needed.
In general, Bethlehem is part of Palestinian Territories, and though we take full responsibility for the tours and getting our guests across the border and back, sometimes the local guides have their own agendas.
I do want to say that your feedback is extremely important and will only help us to improve our trips for future clients.
Lastly, I do want you to know that we have personally reached out to our partners in Bethlehem and have made it very clear that shopping should be done only by the request of our guests.
Again, it was a pleasure hosting you both here in Israel and hopefully we are able to welcome you back in the future!
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