Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: Nov. 19, 2007

PERILLO TOURS no longer is accepting bookings from agents affiliated with YTB Travel Network, a multilevel marketing travel agency. Steve Perillo, president of Perillo Tours, said that when he read a few weeks ago that Royal Caribbean was weeding out "card mills" and that YTB was on the list, he decided to have a look at YTB bookings for his firm. He said he found that "90% of the travelers and booking agents were the same person." He said Perillo Tours might take similar steps regarding similar companies. Meanwhile, IATA said it canceled accreditation of four U.S. travel agencies for violating accreditation standards forbidding the "improper lending, subcontracting or hiring to a third party of an IATA numeric code by agencies." It is apparent that agencies in the card mill/multilevel marketing categories are among the targets, but IATA declined to name the canceled companies.

 

VACATION.COM is "strongly supporting" the agencies that could be adversely affected by recent state legislative action in Michigan, and has thrown its support behind ASTA's efforts to repeal the bill that could levy a 6% tax on travel providers. The Michigan State Legislature recently approved a bill that would levy the tax on specific service industries; it was signed by the governor and takes effect Dec. 1. The confusion about whether travel agencies are subjected to the new tax stems from the North American Industry Classification System code 561599, which refers to "all other travel arrangements and reservation services." The code specifically excludes travel agencies, but the bill refers to taxing the services within the 561599 code, which includes reservation services for airlines, car rentals, hotels and cruise ships.

NACTA'S Travel Professionals 2.0 Conference will focus on peer-to-peer agent marketing and networking when the daylong event gets under way at 7:15 a.m. on Nov. 28. "Instead of having people who are not travel agents telling you how to be a successful travel agent, you will have successful travel agents sharing their knowledge with you," says NACTA on its Web site. Royal Caribbean International's home-based, online and interline channel manager, Jill Hanon, will moderate a forum on networking. Additionally, NACTA President Joanie Ogg will moderate a session called "The Hosting vs. Solo Debate," and Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales for Celebrity and Azamara Cruises, will present a program called "Attitude is Everything." The event is being held at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale, and it also will feature supplier booths. Details and registration is at www.nacta.com.

DATEBOOK: The OSSN California Central Valley Chapter will meet Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. for a presentation on travel to Bhutan. The chapter will welcome OSSN agents as well as non-members at Christ Unity Church in Sacramento. There is no fee for the meeting, but a freewill donation will be taken up for the church. Agents may bring a brown-bag meal for dinner if they wish. Kezang Nima, a senior tour guide from Bhutan, will discuss travel in Bhutan. Agents should RSVP via e-mail to [email protected] or by phone, (209) 759-3733.

FAM OF THE WEEK

Mexico

Trip: An overnight, all-inclusive stay at the Casa Velas hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

Sponsor: The Casa Velas.

Cost: $150 per person, per night, double. Includes accommodations in a master suite, all meals with premium alcoholic beverages, access to the hotel's hydrotherapy facilities and fitness center, golf at the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, taxes and gratuities.

Noteworthy: Trip must be completed by Dec. 20.

Contact: (866) 612-1097 in the U.S. or (866) 442-9205 in Canada.

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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