Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: January 18, 2006

TRAVEL AGENTS who book a vacation with E.E.I. Travel by Jan. 31 will receive a $50 bonus commission coupon on tour packages or customized itineraries with a total value of $2,500 or more. Options include the 12-night Classic Europe package, featuring hotel stays in Paris, London, Venice, Florence and Rome. Also included are roundtrip airfare, second-class Eurostar train travel, continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service charges. The package is priced from $1,209 per person, double. For more or to download the January Bonus Commission Coupon, visit www.eeitravel.com.

U.S. TRAVEL TO EUROPE climbed 3% in July over the previous year, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A total of 7.5 million U.S. citizens traveled to Europe by transatlantic air through July compared with 7.2 million in 2004. Further, every month in 2005 except February saw a spike in U.S. visitors. The increases are credited in part to the strengthening dollar, which is down to $1.17 per euro from a high of $1.36 last year.

EUROSTAR was tapped as a global partner with The Da Vinci Code tourism campaign, aimed at promoting the destinations most heavily featured in the novel and upcoming film: Paris, London and Edinburgh, Scotland. To this end, Eurostar, the high-speed rail service that links Great Britain with France and Belgium, is uniting with VisitBritain, VisitLondon, VisitScotland and Maison de la France to boost tourism along the Da Vinci Code trail via TV, online and in-terminal exposure. Rail Europe, Eurostars North American representative, is participating in the promotional campaign. The movie is set to be released by Columbia Pictures May 19. For more,  call (800) EUROSTAR or  visit www.raileurope.com.

SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIR LINES in North America will add a second daily flight from New York (Kennedy) to Zurich March 26, marking a new code-share agreement on the New York routes with United Airlines. The current code-share partner is American Airlines. Also on March 26, Swiss will offer nonstop service to Switzerland four times daily, except Saturdays, from Newark.  The airline is offering a last-minute business-class fare, good for travel through Feb. 14, of $2,397 roundtrip from Newark, not including taxes and fees. For more, go to www.swiss.com.

SWISSMADE TOURS trimmed rates on its 2006 independent tours to Switzerland by up to 30% compared with last year. A two-night package, priced from at $189 per person, double, is good in three-star hotels in any of 13 Swiss cities and includes daily breakfast, service and taxes. Upgrades to four- and five-star properties are available in all cities except Locarno. A six-night Scenic Wonder Route itinerary, priced from $599 per person, double, features visits to Lucerne, Lugano, Saas Fee, Zermatt, Montreux, and Interlaken. For more, call (800) 995-7997 or visit www.swissmadetours.com.

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