Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Dec. 6, 2004

GENESIS, the agent-owned GDS that's been in the works for several years, went live in Canada following an extensive testing period. The Genesis Phase 1 launch includes "a gradual migration of existing and new subscribers to the full production environment." Genesis positions its solution for small, including home-based, and midsize agencies that want relief from the productivity requirements of the traditional GDSs. Genesis has a Web-based platform that incorporates FareSpider, a search and booking tool. Genesis plans a launch for the U.S., Mexico and Europe in early 2005. A rollout in Australia, India and other countries is eventually planned.

AGENT ARREST: Larissa Maltseva, owner of Spring Travel aka TNC Travel Service, a non-ARC agency in New York, was arrested and jailed after ordering tickets from ARC agencies and altering them to yield extra income for herself, ARC said. The independent retailer ordered tickets at infant and child prices, altered the designations to "adult" and sold the tickets to adults at regular prices, pocketing the difference, ARC said. The modus operandi also included changing the reservation information to mislead airline personnel accepting the tickets at the airports and to delay detection of the scam by the carriers.

MALTSEVA was charged in New York County with second-degree felony grand larceny, felony scheme to defraud and 11 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument. She was jailed under $75,000 bail. ARC said the scam started in 2001 and affected multiple airlines and ARC agencies in the New York City area. It is the second infant-fare scam to surface in New York this year. Last summer, another independent agent (who was most recently a Transportation Security Administration screener) was charged with fraud in connection with a ticketing scheme that also used infant fares for adults. It produced more than $54,000 in debit memos for her host agency. The agent, Laura Chico-Moreira, is free on $10,000 bail while going through the pretrial process.

EDUCATION UPDATE: Look for the Travel Institute to roll out a new module for host agencies. Called "A Host Handbook for Independent Contractors," it is being written by veteran agent Rose Hache and will become available this month.

Host Agency Spotlight

Travel Experts   

212 Sawmill Rd., Raleigh, NC  27615
Phone:  (800) 274-2544

Web site: www.homebasetravel.com

Years in business: 15

Annual sales:  $48 million

Number of agent members: 75

Cost to join:  None

Monthly fees: $550

Industry affiliations:  Virtuoso

Commission split:  100% commission

DATEBOOK: Central NJ OSSN's Dec. 14 meeting will feature representatives from Star Clipper, Travelsafe Insurance and the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association. The event is at 6:30 p.m. at Denny's Restaurant, Route 18, East Brunswick, N.J. For details and to RSVP, e-mail [email protected]. FAM OF THE WEEK Greece/Turkey

Departures: Every Tuesday through 2004 from New York or Los Angeles to Athens on Swiss International Air Lines.

Length: Five nights, including a three-night Greek Isle cruise.

Sponsor: Tours Specialists, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Cost: $1,340 per person, double, from New York or $1,540 from Los Angeles. Includes roundtrip air, hotel accommodations, the cruise, most meals and sightseeing.

Trip: Spends two nights in Athens. The cruise visits Mykonos, Patmos and Rhodes, Greece, and Kusadasi, Turkey.

Noteworthy: The single supplement is $300. Companion rates are available.

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

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