March 2015, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – The Queen of the Desert, a prestigious and all-female club in Israel consisting of 7,000 women leaders in various fields, has chosen the Philippines as its next destination for its annual caravan tour.
On 12 March 2015, the Philippine Embassy in Israel met with Yosha Sigal, Manager of the Queen of the Desert, Raanan Ben-Bassat, CEO of Geographic Society (a major tour company in Israel), and Yariv Fisher, Philippines-Israel Tourism Chamber Chairman and FlyEast Ltd. CEO, to discuss plans and preparations for the Philippine tour of about 400 Israeli women consisting of executives, community and government leaders and top professionals and celebrities. The first group of "Queens" will tour the Philippines in April-May 2015, while the next batches will go in October - December 2015.
The Queen of the Desert tours are very popular in Israel. Founded by the Geographic Society in 1999, the Queen of the Desert conducts an annual expedition combining adventures in off the beaten tracks and routes not usually found in regular tourist maps, and activities that challenge the participants' physical and mental strength and teamwork skill. The tour is different from other travel experiences as it gives participants more opportunity to immerse themselves in and learn from the culture of the places they visit, and contribute to communities in the form of humanitarian projects. Joining the tour is a most sought-after "badge of honor" among Israeli women of substance who are in their 40s and up.
Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial welcomed the decision to embark on an expedition in the Philippines and assured the group that the participants, as well as the rest of Israelis following the event, will be treated to beautiful sights and a wide range of unique and unforgettable experiences.
He stressed that "The Philippines is the most gender-equal country in Asia and the Queens will feel at home there. Our country is well-known for its smart and independent-minded women who are in the same mold as the fearless members of the Queen of the Desert."
The Queen of the Desert's upcoming trip to the Philippines will be a big boost to PH tourism, currently enjoying 30% growth in Israeli tourist arrivals. The new direct flight between Turkey and the Philippines, which started this March, offers more options for Israeli tourists going to the Philippines via Istanbul.
Last year, Israeli news and travel agencies, News1 (http://www.news1.co.il), Walla (http://travel.walla.co.il), Terminal (http://www.terminal.org.il), and International Air Services (http://www.ias.co.il) featured the Philippines in their websites, referring to it as the next must-visit destination for Israeli travelers because of its rich cultural heritage and world class tourist attractions. The Queen of the Desert is the latest to consider the country as a preferred destination.
The Queen of the Desert tours continue to attract thousands of women in Israel and even from other countries. It owes its prestige to the fact that applicants have to qualify in a rigorous screening process in order to participate in the expedition. Since its first trip to Jordan in 1999, the group has gathered more than 7,000 women from Israel to travel to far and exotic places in countries such as Turkey, Ethiopia, Georgia, Thailand, Romania, Morocco, Uganda, Spain, South Africa, Albania, Lapland, China, India, France, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, and Laos.
Photo : Yosha Sigal, Manager of the Queen of the Desert, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial, Raanan
Ben-Bassat, CEO of Geographic Society, and Yariv Fisher, Chairman of the Philippines-Israel
Tourism Chamber Chairman (from left to right).