STARS, the new nonprofit organization founded by Peter Stilphen to "recognize the true individual professional travel agent," unveiled two membership categories, one for preferred suppliers and one for strategic supporters. Stars' preferred suppliers will have access to the group's individual members via a login to the members' Web site. There are no fees for such members through 2009; after that the annual fee will be $500. The strategic supporter membership category is open to individual travel professionals, travel agencies, host agencies, training and educational entities and specialty or smaller suppliers. There is a one-time $50 fee to cover administrative costs. Stilphen also is the founder of PATH, the Professional Association of Travel Hosts.
YTB TRAVEL NETWORK won assurances that the company can continue to use its IATA numeric code as an ARC-approved agency, but it did not win reinstatement at IATA. YTB had challenged IATA's termination of the agency before IATA's agency commissioner for the U.S., James Johnstone. He found that YTB had "lent, subcontracted to or hired to a third party" its IATA numeric code and that IATA had taken "the appropriate step to enforce its right in the code." But the commissioner said there was "no issue" on the matter of YTB's option to continue using the same numeric code as an ARC-accredited agency. It means that YTB can use its ARC number but without any reference to IATA. The agency is no longer eligible for any IATA products or services.
DATEBOOK: The OSSN Mesa/Phoenix Chapter will meet on May 6, at 5.30 p.m. for a workshop with Club Med. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at the Sunland Village Restaurant, in Mesa. Agents should RSVP via e-mail to [email protected] or call (602) 323-7752.
THROUGH THE PORTHOLE: Celebrity Cruises will continue to offer four- and five-night Caribbean sailings during the winter of 2009-2010. These cruises went on sale earlier this month. From Dec. 12, 2009 to April 22, 2010, the Celebrity Century will sail 29 western Caribbean itineraries, departing from Miami on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Each itinerary has two ports of call. Celebrity's roster of ports for short cruises includes Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cozumel, Mexico; and Key West, Fla.
FAM OF THE WEEK
Trip: Visits Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Yichang and Xian and cruises the Yangtze River.
Departures: June 29 and July 16, 13 and 20 from Beijing, land only.
Length: Nine nights, including a two-day Yangtze River cruise aboard the Yangzi Explorer.
Sponsor: Abercrombie & Kent, Oak Brook, Ill.
Cost: $1,570 per person, double. Includes accommodations, the cruise, most meals, transfers, sightseeing fees and the services of a tour escort.
Noteworthy: The single supplement is $453; the companion rate is $100 additional. Air within China is an additional $490 per person. Agents must fax to Grace Porter a copy of the agency 2008 IATA list, their business card and a letter from the agency owner or manager authorizing participation.
Contact: fax: (630) 954-3324.
Home-Based Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
Phone: (508) 221-3674
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