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March 09, 2006

Intercontinental Erases Israel

InterContinental%20Middle%20East%20map.jpe

Zalmi's Weblog has noted that InterContinental Hotels Group placed a four-page ad in Business Traveller "which has achieved in print what Mr Ahmadinejad seeks to achieve with nuclear weapons: the erasure of Israel from the world map." Zalmi continues:

Now I always thought its Crowne Plaza Dead Sea hotel was in Israel. According to this ad, it's in Jordan.

dead sea.jpg

In response to emails from concerned readers, Kate Prescott, communications co-ordinator for InterContinental Hotels Group's Europe, Middle East & Africa region, sent out the following form letter:

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) would like to apologise for any offence that has inadvertently been caused by the recent feature on the group published in the February 2006 UK and Middle East editions of the Business Traveller magazine.

We operate hotels in almost 100 countries around the world, including Israel, for which we also operate a dedicated Hebrew website. We respect our customers in all the markets and territories in which we operate.

This feature was produced locally by our Middle East and Africa division and was intended to highlight hotels operated by that division specifically. This division does not include Israel, which is managed as part of our
European division.

We regret any confusion that was caused by the feature and have strengthened our internal processes to ensure that such an error will not be repeated.

To which one rightfully indignant Terry M. replied:

1. I would have to be particularly naïve to agree that leaving Israel off a map of the Middle East, and substituting Palestine could in some way be deemed 'inadvertent'.

2. I am a UK citizen and read the UK edition of Business Traveller magazine.
That you have a dedicated Hebrew website is irrelevant to this issue.

3. I am not sure how you define 'respect for your customers in all the markets and territories' you operate in:

A) Would it be by following the line taken by the Iranian president, and shared by Hamas, that Israel should be wiped off the map?

B) Would it be by insulting Jewish travellers such as myself who read the UK edition of Business Traveller magazine?

4. Rest assured you do not need to apologise for "any confusion that was caused by the feature" - the publicity issued by your Middle East and Africa division was crystal clear and was along the lines of 'there is no such place as Israel...that area is called Palestine'.

To write to Kate Prescott, email Kate.Prescott@ichotelsgroup.com . To request that Business Traveller print a correction, email editorial@businesstraveller.com .

(Hat tip: Terry M.)

Posted by TS at March 9, 2006 02:58 AM

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