Agent Issues Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Feb. 23, 2004 February 23, 2004 Share 1 -- HOMELAND SECURITY'S relatively new practice of telling foreign airlines to cancel suspect flights bound for the U.S. isn't stopping business travelers and others who "must" travel abroad, but it is prompting plenty of American tourists to select domestic vacation spots over international ones, an informal survey of several home-based agents and host agencies found. Some two dozen international flights have been affected by the security tactic since December, along with one known intervention related to a domestic flight a few weeks ago. TRAVEL AGENT Theresa Tortorello, of Destination Vacation, Elmhurst, Ill., said some of her clients "undoubtedly" have become more skeptical of international travel, but she believes the public eventually will become accustomed to the new security policies. "This is our way of life now," she told Travel Weekly. According to Alan Kawadler, of the host agency Itasn, "It may take [more time] to assess the impact on international travel." He predicted the public's reluctance to fly would dissipate over time, even if international flight cancellations continue over the long term. Marvin Davis, president and CEO of Cruise Planners, said the action definitely is turning people off traveling long distances and is particularly hurting the Europe market during what might have been the "turnaround year" for tourism to the continent.THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION issued a 107-page report on home-based businesses, and anyone who can read it from start to finish in one sitting will be eligible for a cash prize. Just kidding. As government reports go, this one is relatively straightforward. In fact, it comes at good time -- tax season. The report documents the particular difficulties of home-based entrepreneurs as they attempt to deal with "complex and confusing IRS rules" for home office and equipment deductions. It says that the self-employed person spends 50 hours a year, or roughly an hour every week, on activities related to filing a federal business tax return. And it estimates that owners of a home-based business can expect to pay $500 to $3,500 to a professional tax preparer, depending on the size and complexity of the business.ACCORDING TO THE REPORT, home-based businesses face "daunting restrictions from both federal and local regulations." We knew that, but we didn't know that more than 50% of home businesses are concentrated in the "personal service sector," which would appear to include home-based independent travel agents. The report concludes that, for home businesses, the IRS has the most burdensome regulations of any federal agency. The SBA document, "Home-Based Business and Government Regulation," also addresses several other areas of concern to home-based workers, such as state and local taxes, zoning rules and at host of federal regulations. It is available www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs235tot.pdf .HOST AGENCY SPOTLIGHTThe TravelZone.com 1515 University Drive Suite 204B Coral Springs, Fla. 33071 (888) 921-8785 Ext. 15 In business since: 1988Web site:www.thetravelzone.comAnnual sales: $5 millionCost to join: Monthly subscription fee of $29.95Industry Affiliations: Nacta, CLIA, ARC, IatanCommission split: Starting level is 70% to agents, with potential of 90% as volume increases. Platinum plan pays 100% commission with monthly fee of $500.DATEBOOK: AA Vacations is hosting an event called More Vacation Options for Your Clients in 2004 on March 1. The event, being held at the Hotel InterContinental, 15201 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, Texas, is free to agents and will feature a reception, trade show, presentations and one-on-one meetings with suppliers. It starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m. No reservation is required.FAM OF THE WEEKParisDepartures: Daily from Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco to Paris via United Airlines.Length: Five nights.Sponsor: Tours Specialists, Palm Harbor, Fla.Cost: $890 from New York or $1,090 from California gateways, per person, double. Includes roundtrip air, accommodations and breakfasts daily.Trip: Five nights at the Ibis Hotel in Paris.Noteworthy: Companion rate is $100 additional, and the single supplement is $300.Contact: (800) 223-7882; fax: (727) 784-7520; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.