Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: April 16, 2007

AMERICA'S VACATION CENTER plans to open an office in south Florida by the third quarter of this year. The host agency said the new location would provide increased support to its network of independently owned and operated affiliates, as well as deepen relationships with nearby cruise vendors. The agency's headquarters will remain in San Diego. Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines, welcomed the news. "By having an AVC office at our fingertips, we look forward to furthering our already strong relationship with the company," she said.

THE CARIBBEAN remains the most popular cruise destination, and travel agents expect that cruise sales to the region in 2007 will surpass sales in 2006, according to a poll conducted by the Cruise Lines International Association. Eighty percent of more than 500 CLIA travel agents named the destination as the most popular among their customers, and 88% reported that the total number of Caribbean cruises sold at their agencies in 2006 increased over 2005. Ninety-three percent of agents predicted that 2007 sales totals would surpass 2006 levels.

EDUCATION UPDATE: Royal Caribbean International rolled out an online training program called the University of WOW, designed to teach agents about brand itineraries, services and other tools offered by the line. Royal Caribbean said that agents would earn five credits toward a CLIA certification upon graduation from the program, and would also be able to earn Royal Caribbean rewards in the process. Retailers can register at www.cruisingpower.com. As agents complete training levels they will earn incremental incentives such as discounted and free cruises.

POINT PERSON: The Network of Entrepreneurs Selling Travel appointed Rosemary Sarkis service director. Sarkis is responsible for maintaining one-on-one contact with NEST members and providing training in all of the organization's products and programs. NEST, based in Oyster Bay, N.Y., is a marketing organization for at-home travel agents. Sarkis has travel retail experience with Austin Travel, Harmony Travel, Power Travel and as a home-based seller.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Spain

Trip: Visits Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Seville and Valencia.

Departures: Fridays through 2007 from New York or Los Angeles to Madrid via British Airways.

Length: Eight nights.

Sponsor: Tours Specialists, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Cost: $1,700 from New York or $1,900 from Los Angeles, per person, double. Includes air, hotel, some meals, sightseeing and transfers.

Noteworthy: Companions are eligible for $100 additional. Air from other gateways is available. Airline taxes are not included.

Contact: (800) 223-7552; fax: (727) 784-7520; e-mail: [email protected].

Home-Based Agent Editor: Donna Tunney

Phone: (508) 221-3674

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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