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Published on Friday, March 12, 2021

Lastminute sets up Israel business






European travel company, lm group, has unveiled lastminute.co.il, a new online travel agency created as a joint venture with Israeli travel firm, Issta Lines Group.


The new company will sell worldwide flights from Israel, using lastminute.com's tech platforms, coupled with Issta's localised presence and commercial agreements in the region.


The combination brings together two major travel names to help accelerate the shift from offline to online as lm group targets Middle East expansion for 2021 and beyond.


While work on the joint venture began in late 2019, the two companies felt that the timing was now right to launch the new company with international agreements, like the Abraham Accords being signed, and Israel's fast-track immunisation programme gathering pace.


Andrea Bertoli, Managing Director said: "Last year was a very challenging year for the travel industry, and in fact, the whole world had to face an unprecedented pandemic crisis. Despite this, we felt that the moment to build for the future is now and this is the right time to grow into new markets and segments."


"We see the first signs of market recovery, thanks to the vaccine, with booking confidence in Israel, as well as the UK, growing week-by-week. This is why we're delighted to launch our first joint venture outside Europe into Israel and MENA."


"There's great interest in the Israeli market from across the world by huge companies due to the great potential inherent value in it, for example, the number of Israelis who flew abroad in the year before Covid was the same as the number of residents in the country (about 9 million)," said Achishai Gal, CEO of Issta.

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