Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: May 11, 2005

FLOWER POWER: Germany¹s biennial national flower show, the Bundesgartenschau 2005, or BUGA 05, got under way in Munich, welcoming 75,000 visitors its opening weekend. The avant-garde show, to run through Oct. 9 on the 400-acre site of the former city airport, is expected to attract millions of visitors, including thousands from the U.S. BUGA features an artificial lake (open to swimmers), an aerial cable car, 30,000 trees, 2 million flower bulbs, themed garden displays, a shopping plaza, cafes and a restaurant. Tickets cost 14 euros (about $18) for adults and 3 euros ($4) for kids. Visit www.buga05.de or contact the German National Tourist Office at (212) 661-7200 or www.visits-to-germany.com.

PAX FAX: Youth operator Contiki Holidays (http://agent.contiki.com; (800) 266-8454) is offering its eight-night Tuscany package for $1,105 per person, land only -- a $100 savings -- for its June 17 departure, when paid in full at booking. Meanwhile, responding to "overwhelming" demand, Orbis Travel Bureau in New York (www.orbistravel.com; (800) 867-6526) added a free stop in Wadowice, birthplace of the late Pope John Paul II, to its Southern Delight Tour itinerary in Poland and created new tours combining the town with Rome.

LE WEB: The Hotel de Crillon in Paris launched an Internet site at www.crillon.com that features not only hotel information and real-time availability and booking but also online recipes from two-star Michelin Guide chef Jean-Francois Piege and wine tips from sommelier David Biraud. In other news, the Crillon is offering two summer packages: a two-night Tour de France deal July 23 and 24, from $1,664 to $2,054 (with breakfast) per room, depending on category; and a one-night Bastille Day stay from $775 to $969, with breakfast. See www.crillon.com, call (011) 331-4 471-1501 or e-mail [email protected]. Or, book through Leading Hotels of the World at (800) 223-6800 or www.lhw.com.

HOT STUFF: The Swedish Travel and Tourism Council, looking to parlay the debut of a new Scandinavian cooking TV show on PBS stations across the U.S. this fall into more tourist arrivals, is in talks with tour operators to craft related gastronomy-themed itineraries. "New Scandinavian Cooking with Tina Nordstrom," featuring a young Swedish chef, is set to air this September. See www.visit-sweden.com and www.scandcook.com.

DEPARTURES

* Air France (www.airfrance.com/us), to increase capacity to the U.S. by 10% this year, started seasonal nonstop service to Paris (CDG) from Cincinnati and added a third daily flight from Washington as of May 9. The carrier also will inaugurate service from Detroit on June 13.

* Air Plus Comet (www.airplususa.com), which pays agents commission of 6% and up, will add a second weekly service between Madrid and New York

(Kennedy) on Sundays this October, in addition to its current Friday

flights, and it may add a third weekly flight in 2006.

* US Airways (www.usairways.com), which launched daily seasonal service between Philadelphia and Venice on May 9, starts seasonal daily flights

between Barcelona and Philadelphia on May 16.

* Delta Air Lines (www.delta.com) is promoting its new nonstop, to start June 1, from Atlanta to Moscow (Sheremetyevo), Russia, with discount fares from $405 each way, from both Atlanta and New York (Kennedy), if purchased by May 18.

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