Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: June 8, 2005

SWEDE AIR: Sweden on June 1 became the fifth European country, after Ireland, Italy, Malta and Norway, to ban all smoking in restaurants and bars. But public use of "snus" -- a snuff-like, oral tobacco product outlawed in most European Union countries but popular and legal in Sweden -- is still permitted. Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the U.K. also plan to extend or introduce anti-smoking legislation in the near future.

GET CARDED: BritRail and its U.S. distributor ACP Rail International resumed sales of London Visitor TravelCard discount passes for the British capital¹s Underground, or subway, system. Sales were suspended on March 31 so that the program could be reworked. Prior to the suspension, ACP had sold vouchers that could be exchanged for Visitor TravelCards at Tube stations in London. Now, the firm furnishes travelers with actual TravelCards -- no vouchers required. Prices ranges from $12, for a three-day, six-zone off-peak kids¹ TravelCard, to $78 for a seven-day, six-zone peak adult card. Travel agents earn 5% commission; to order, call (866) BRITRAIL (866-274-8724).

DOGGONE IT: German extended-stay hotel operator Derag Hotel and Living now welcomes pets. In fact, guests at The Max Emanuel Muenchen Hotel, in Munich, and the Koenigin Luise Berlin Hotel, are greeted by full-breed pug dogs in residence, Max and Friedrich Wilhelm, respectively. Derag, which owns and operates 11 four- and five-star properties in seven European markets, pays travel agents 10% commission. Call internationally toll-free at (011) 8000-136-9999, send an e-mail to [email protected] or log on to www.deraghotels.de/english.

SMALL HOTELS, BIG DEALS: Several members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World are offering fixed room rates priced in U.S. dollars for Americans. Dollar deals can be found at the 51-room Hotel Vernet in Paris, which offers rooms at $280 a night instead of 280 euros (about $343) and a nightly, two-room family plan rate for July and August of $700, and the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London, which has a dollar-for-pound program. Other SLH members with guaranteed dollar rates include Relais Christine and Pavillone de la Reine in Paris; La Tartane in St. Tropez, France; the Hotel Art and the Empire Palace in Rome; the Stafford and the Dorset Square in London; and the Chester Gosvenor in Chester, England. For more, call (8000 525-4800 or visit www.slh.com.

ONLINE RAIL: Technology developer Wandrian Inc. rolled out www.railagent.com, a new site that leverages rail-planning technologies to offer commissionable European rail passes and point-to-point rail tickets to U.S. agents on the Web. Agents can log on to book a range of European rail products for commissions of 5% to 10%. The Railagent.com product line includes a range of Eurail and Britrail passes; 16 national and 13 regional passes; point-to-point rail tickets, including Eurostar; seat reservations; and four specialty products, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway. Among the site¹s features is a planning engine that estimates travel costs and recommends the best fare options. For more or to enroll, visit www.railagent.com.

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