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Be aware of passport restrictions, religious observances and don’t let armed soldiers on the street alarm you, Israel travel experts say.
Plainview, N.Y. (PRWEB) December 10, 2012
Though the country is relatively safe, companies may be reluctant to send business travelers to Israel due to recent political strife with the nation’s Palestinian neighbors. But travel experts at OKT Corporate Travel Management say that with a bit of planning, Israel is the perfect location for conducting business abroad.
“Israel is an amazing country with thriving industries,” said Orit Keren, CEO of OKT Corporate Travel Management. “It has beautiful weather, and a little preparation will surely make any business trip to Israel one to remember.”
Keren had these tips for business travelers planning a trip to Israel:
Be aware of passport restrictions
There are often passport restrictions when traveling to Israel and surrounding areas. Executives meeting in Israel before traveling to countries like Syria, Lebanon and Yemen should tell Israeli passport control agents not to stamp their passports. Many countries in conflict with Israel will deny access to travelers with an Israel stamp in their passport. Prepare for delays with Israeli security if traveling through nearby countries before Israel.
Time is flexible
Be on time for meetings, but don’t be surprised when meetings begin late. Time in the Middle East is flexible, which may frustrate those unaccustomed to the delays.
Keep religious observances in mind
The official work week in Israel begins on Sunday and ends Friday at sundown for Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. It is best to schedule appointments between Sunday and Thursday while traveling for business in Israel. Avoid scheduling meetings in September and October, as many Jewish holidays occur during those months, or during Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the daytime.
Don’t mind security
It is not uncommon to see armed soldiers in restaurants, malls, supermarkets and other high-profile public places. But this unusual level of security should not alarm foreign business travelers. Expect routine bag searches before being allowed to enter these establishments.
Never leave bags unattended
Never leave bags or other cargo unattended in Israel. Unattended items may be reported as suspicious objects and destroyed by a police bomb squad. These events, known as chofetz chashud, happen on a regular basis. Do not be alarmed if a street is closed or a detour is put in place while baggage is destroyed.
Arrive early for flights
When leaving Israel, arrive at the airport three hours before departure time to get through security. Be prepared for questioning and a thorough search.
For a cost, business travelers arriving on flights in Tel Aviv may hire a VIP service with agents who help travelers negotiate pesky airport security delays.
“You can eliminate the wait at security if you use a VIP service,” Keren said. “They will meet and greet the passenger as they disembark the aircraft and escort them all the way through customs and immigration.”
Choose an airline with a flexible cancellation policy
Book Israel flights through El Al whenever possible. Airline tickets through El Al are refundable (with a penalty). This gives business travelers peace of mind should travel to Israel become unsafe.
“Israel has a unique culture and rich history,” Keren said. “A business trip is the perfect excuse to experience everything the country has to offer.”
About OKT Corporate Travel Management
OKT Corporate Travel Management has more than 15 years of experience in providing superior business travel experiences to clients in a number of industries including entertainment, fashion, advertising, venture capital, high tech, defense and more. The OKT Corporate Travel Management team of experts includes multi-cultural and multi-lingual travel agents who are dedicated to providing the highest levels of service for both domestic and international travel planning. For more information, visit http://www.okttravel.com or call 1-800-804-0432 or 516-622-1600.
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