Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: October 27,2005

CELTIC TOURS, a tour operator known for its packages to Ireland, broke into the South Pacific with a series of independent and escorted products to Australia and New Zealand. Though its name evokes its base destination of Ireland, the 33-year-old company has in recent years expanded to Britain, Italy, Germany, France and Holland. The South Pacific expansion is Celtic Tours' first foray beyond Europe. The expansions have been made primarily in response to requests from past clients and preferred agencies, according to Marc Cavanaugh, director of sales and marketing. The operator's initial South Pacific offering consists of a 12-night escorted tour to Australia, a 12-night tour to New Zealand, and independent packages of varying durations to both Australia and New Zealand. For more information, call (800) 833-4373 or log onto www.celtictours.com.

PACIFIC DELIGHT TOURS is celebrating the Year of the Dog with a six-night, air-inclusive Chinese New Year package to Hong Kong. The package includes VIP bleacher seats to the Chinese New Year's Day parade, plus accommodations, roundtrip air from Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle or Portland, Ore. via Northwest or United. Prices for the package range from $1,058 for superior first class accommodations to $1,288 for deluxe accommodations with a harbor view. Rates are per person, double. Departures are scheduled for Jan. 25, 26 or 27. Extra hotel nights and air add-ons can be arranged. Call (800) 221-7179 or go to www.pacificdelighttours.com.

 

CARLSON HOTELS WORLDWIDE expanded its Goldpoints Plus hotel loyalty program to enable its members in North, Central and South America to earn points when staying in Carlson properties in the Asia Pacific region. Carlson operates 43 hotels throughout Australia, French Polynesia, China, Japan, Thailand, Nepal and India. Carlson said members will earn 10 points per U.S. dollar when staying with any of the four Carlson participating brands in the region: Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn. Members that book on line at such Carlson branded sites as www.radisson.com, www.countryinns.com, www.parkinn.com, www.parkplaza.com and www.goldpointsplus.com can earn an additional 1,000 bonus, Carlson said.

AUSTRALIAN TOUR OPERATOR Intrepid Travel started a joint venture in Vietnam called Intrepid Indochina. The company opened offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and will operate small group adventures for its customer base in North America, the U.K. and Europe. It will also act as a destination management company for other tour operators operating programs to Vietnam.  For more information, see www.intrepidtravel.com or call (011) 61 39473-2619.

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP added two Asian airlines to its Priority Club Rewards program: Shanghai Airlines and Hainan Airlines. To promote the partnership, InterContinental is offering triple miles on Shanghai Airlines loyalty program, called Flying Crane, and Hainan Airlines loyalty program, Fortune Wings Club. The offer starts with the second qualifying stay at any InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express property. Guests of Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites can earn triple miles with their first qualifying stay.  For more information, see www.ichotelsgroup.com.

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