Meet Kenes Tours, A Little Out Of The Ordinary

As Benny Scholder, director of sales – North America for Kenes Tours explains it the Tel Aviv-headquartered DMC is involved in everything from culture to demographics in order to fuel the interests of travellers to Israel.

Scholder joined Kenes Tours’ president, Yoav Bruck as the two were in Toronto recently to explore opportunities for the company in the Canadian market and by all accounts, both believe that the company has something that Canadian travel advisors will be interested in for their clients.

While Kenes Tours may not be well known to Canadian travel advisors, it has been in business for 60 years; it has had offices in the U.S. for quite some time; and it has been a member of Virtuoso since 2011.

Primarily working in the B2B space – although Bruck said it does work in the B2C arena as well – the company offers everything from pilgrimages to classic experiences, along with culinary, wellness, active, outdoors and many other niche or specialty experiences to their customers.

A big part of the company’s success has been understanding its clients and what they want in order to customize programs that give those clients the kind of experience that they want; or more importantly, the kind of experience that will surprise and delight those clients.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism’s (IMOT) Gal Hana notes that has worked to brand Israel as a true leisure destination as well as being the Holyland and Kenes Tours is the kind of operator that is a perfect fit for that strategy.

As for unique, well Yoav Bruck pointed to the company’s motorcycle tours. He explained that when it recognized there was an interest in this kind of program, Kenes Tours went out and bought 50 Yamaha motorcycles and begin offering tours.

The point for Bruck is that while there are many destinations where you can have an experience with or without a DMC, in Israel, you need one if you want to have an in-depth experience.

And certainly, as Gal Hana will tell you, there is definitely interest in Israel these days. Hana pointed out that Canadian visitor numbers were up by 5% in April – quite an achievement when you consider that it was achieved with 40% fewer flights available as a result of El Al pulling out of the Canadian market.

While Kenes Tours has had limited exposure in the Canadian market – primarily through Virtuoso-affiliated travel agents – both Bruck and Scholder believe it’s time for the DMC to make its presence known in Canada in a bigger way and their recent visit was all about getting to know and understand the Canadian market in order to serve its needs effectively.

Bruck is quick to point out that one of the key messages is that while Israel may be a small country, it is a very diverse destination.

And for Scholder, the goal is to combine exposure to the must-see with other experiences that surprise and educate the customer.

For those interested in finding out more about Kenes Tours, agents can contact Scholder at

[email protected] or Bruck at [email protected].

In the photo

Seen here, from l to r, are Israel’s Gal Hana with Kenestours’s Benny Scholder and Yoav Bruck during a recent visit to Toronto.