IWorld of Travel presents its new take on the Croatian family: Travel Weekly

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When Michael Gelber invited around 30 travel counselors on a familiarization trip to Croatia at the end of last month, the goal was to showcase a new yacht product that his company, IWorld of Travel, is selling.

But the 10-day adventure on land and the Adriatic Sea also served as a spell release for the company, which it has spent the past four years revamping and rebuilding as a spin-off of IsramWorld of Travel, one of the first tour operators focused on Israel. which was founded by his father, Ady Gelber, in the 1960s.

And while Gelber proudly invokes his late father’s name and reputation, clearly calling IWorld of Travel a business inherited from Ady Gelber, Gelber also makes it clear that this is not his father’s business.

Instead, this is a new generation of what he describes more as a travel broker than a tour operator, a generation who is leveraging his father’s long-standing relationships to help agents develop. premium FIT and small group travel packages rather than the more traditional fixed packages. -date, guided group tours like the ones her father’s business helped launch.

“What we did was we took out any stationary product line and opened it up for customization,” Gelber said.

Travel to Israel remains a key focus, but the company also offers itineraries in more than 80 countries. She recently opened an office in Croatia and is in the process of opening an office in Peru. From there, he said, he plans to focus on creating new offerings in destinations like South Africa, Turkey, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Latin America, regions where he said he expects post-pandemic travelers to return first.

Ships in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Photo credit: Jeri Clausing

Among the new products on display in Croatia: four yachts that IWorld has contracted for exclusive use for charter as well as the company’s recently launched land-based product called Luxury Small Group Departures, which uses boutique hotels rather than chains.

The Croatian family gave advisers the opportunity to taste both, with an overland itinerary that included an overnight stay in the Croatian capital of Zagreb at the historic Esplanade Zagreb hotel; a trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park, the oldest national park in South East Europe; and a visit to Linden Tree Retreat and Ranch, a luxury western-style ranch hidden within Unesco’s Velebit Mountain Biosphere Reserve.

Gelber said his intention was to be primarily a land-based operator, but that he had stumbled upon yacht rentals and saw huge potential in using them to develop additional land-based packages in Croatia.

“It’s a destination where I think we can make a big difference,” he said. “It’s beautiful. There are so many things that are not being promoted.”

T1018ZAGREB_JC [credit: Jeri Clausing]

A street scene in Zagreb. Photo credit: Jeri Clausing

Alida Paljevic, originally from Croatia, who joined the company last year from Atlas, one of Croatia’s largest destination management companies, helped develop products and open the office of the company in Peru.

Gelber also works closely with Sally Black, Founder of Vacationkids and former Global Travel Marketplace Advisory Board Member who, as IWorld’s “Agent Ambassador”, has helped develop recent knowledge of the agents who have participated. at GTM.

The ships presented are offered through a partnership with Adriatic Service Travel. IWorld has secured the exclusive rights via Adriatic for 72 crossings on four family yachts of 15 to 20 cabins that navigate the translucent waters along Croatia’s famous Dalmatian coast.

The boats themselves could be described as mere luxury. There are no bells and whistles like room service, butlers, or spas. But the cabins are well appointed, the crew and service first-rate, and the fresh, local sea-to-table cuisine exceptional.

While FIT bookings can be made on some of the secure crossings for sale through IWorld, the product is really designed for advisers to book full charters which they can then customize and sell with their own rates.

One of the first agents to book one of the boats through IWorld, Jasper Fanfalone of Vast Passages in Armada, Michigan, said he chartered a boat in May that it was selling for around $ 2,000 per person, little- lunch and lunch included, some dinners and some excursions included.

“I am really excited about the product,” he said after his firsthand experience.

He described the charter marketing opportunities as an “absolute gold mine. … Croatia and its islands are going to be my new advertising campaign. My people from Greece and Italy have to come here.”

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