This new year marks 9 years as a tour guide in Israel and as in past years this is an opportunity to review what has been accomplished. I managed to write 24 blog posts this year bringing the total to 331 articles in words and pictures (more than 1000 of my photos).
There were 65,313 page views by 37,160 visitors this year (mostly from US and Israel, some from Europe, Canada and Australia), down about 18% from last year. I am now less than 5000 views from reaching a half a million page views. The total number of people who interact with my website/blog increased, there are currently 390 (up from 325) people who have subscribed to my blog directly and another 528 (up from 430) people on Facebook who are notified when I post a new article. I also post updates regularly to my Facebook page, Israel Tours.
I had slightly fewer clients this year but those clients hired me for more days enabling me to effectively guide twice as much.
Again this year in the heat of the summer I hiked Yam l’yam, leading a family on the 3 day hike from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee.
I guide both Bethlehem and Jericho and can report that the newly uncovered mosaics in the bathhouse at Hisham’s palace are really something to see.
I am happy to offer Photography Tours for people who are interested in my experience and expertise to help them get great photos. I take clients to the area at the Dead Sea and also south to the Large Makhtesh, both unique areas in Israel.
I did my longest tour ever, an indepth 17 days with a couple and her parents (in their 80s) where we covered Christian and historical and nature sites throughout the country, with some great food and wine along the way and even 2 days from Eilat to see Petra and the desert from Jordan.
Here is what Mom wrote which I think sums it up:
Dear Shmuel. We write to tell you what a wonderful guide you are, with so much knowledge in so many areas. You were truly professional and were attentive to our interests and more. You were so genuine, friendly that we felt you became part of our family by the end of our two weeks. Thank you for a superb, learning experience done in your special way.