Following CiF Watch post & reader complaints, Guardian’s Travel page adds “Israel” to the Map

As we posted here and here, the Guardian’s Travel page – which includes 110 nations on their list of travel destinations – omitted the word “Israel” from their list of countries, while included such hot-spots as  Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Oman, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, Cambodia, Cuba and Angola.

In fact, their site referred to a specific tour destination (arranged through their partner travel agency, Riviera Travel) which landed in Tel Aviv, and included an itinerary which consisted almost entirely of Israeli destinations, as “Middle East”.  

As we noted, in over 1100 words of text detailing the itinerary – which included stops to places such as Jerusalem, Masada, The Dead Sea, The Galilee, and Yad Vashem – the word “Israel” wasn’t mentioned once, and the tour itself was named “Jerusalem, Galilee & the Dead Sea”.

A proactive CiF Watch reader who contacted the Guardian’s Travel desk to complain received a reply which included the following explanation:

  • The decision to promote this particular tour was a thoroughly thought through process involving us, Riviera Travel and the Guardian Travel editorial team.
  • We are of course aware of the political issues in this region and the decision was taken to promote this tour in the ‘Middle East’ region as it is a neutral term for the destinations visited.
  • We know that the politics of this region are fragile but aim to offer our readers the choice to visit this culturally important part of the world.
  • It is an educational tour of the holy land involving tours around all…religious quarters, not just Israeli.

Our last post included the email of the Guardian’s Travel team, and we subsequently received word that more than a few of our loyal fans indeed contacted them to complain.

Well, the activism we encouraged evidently had a positive, if not perfect, result.

If you go to the Guardian’s Travel page now, you see the name of the previously unmentionable nation.

While, yes, it’s still strange that they feel the need to add “Palestine” to an Israeli destination (which, as we noted, includes only one stop into the Palestinian territories on a trip which covers 13 destination in 7 days), this is, after all, the Guardian, so we’ll view this as at least a partial victory.

However, if you want to engage in a bit of mischief (be “naughty” as my S. African wife always says to describe behavior which shows a bit of chutzpah) you can contact the Guardian travel team (holidayoffers@guardian.co.uk) and suggest, in the spirit of sensitivity to national aspirations, they revise the following destinations, thusly: Spain to “Spain/Basque”, Iraq to “Iraq/Kurdistan”, Syria to “Syria/Kurdistan”, Mexico to “Mexico/Chiapas”, Belgium to “Belgium/Flanders”, and Canada to “Canada/Quebec”. 

Interestingly, the only non-recognized state listed on the Guardian page (other than the continent of Antarctica) is, in fact, “Palestine”.

I simply can’t imagine why that would be.

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