CLIA began offering memberships to
individual agents, for $99 per year. To qualify for the new
category, an agent must be part of an active CLIA member agency.
The individual agent will receive an individual and local listing
on the group's online travel agent locator and the listing will
also reference the agent's CLIA agency affiliation. The growing
number of home-based agents was among the reasons why the
organization launched the category, which provides access to its
education and training programs, industry information and marketing
resources. "The one-size-fits-all model of membership doesn't
reflect today's changing travel agency channels, and CLIA is
committed to delivering value and opportunities to both our agency
members and the individual agents selling travel" said Terry Dale,
the group's president and CEO. Details and registration are at www.cruising.org.
JOYSTAR, a host agency, confirmed that
Royal Caribbean Cruises severed their business relationship because
the cruise company considers Joystar a card mill. Royal Caribbean
decided a few weeks ago that its three brands -- Royal Caribbean
International, Celebrity and Azamara -- no longer would accept
bookings from travel-related companies that it determines are card
mills. Joystar President Larry Fishkin said his company has been
"mischaracterized" and is not a card mill, which is generally
defined as a company that sells consumers access to benefits
designed for travel agents. He said that he and other Joystar
executives met with Royal Caribbean's top management to try to
convince the company to reinstate Joystar. "The only thing they
would say to us is that we have philosophical differences," Fishkin
said. "I think they're misguided and misinformed. I haven't heard
any rational explanation for why they're doing it." According to
Joystar agent Annemarie Helmetag, Royal Caribbean has made a
mistake. Helmetag said she signed on with Joystar two years ago. "I
have found the company to not be in the market of selling ID cards.
I have earned my IATAN card and can prove it with my earnings," she
TRAVEL, a Pennsylvania-based, Internet-only retailer with
43 home-based affiliates, became a Platinum Sandals Agency after
meeting the required threshold of business booked with Sandals and
Beaches. Mandy Chomat, senior vice president of sales for Sandals
and Beaches Resorts, said training and highlighting the best
representatives of the brands is a key strategy for the
Caribbean-based resort chain. The designation means TripGuy now
qualifies for business tools such as co-branded collateral, Web
sites and advertising support. TripGuy's agents specialize in
Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, escorted and independent
tours, and cruises.
RETAILERS who own their agencies in Massachusetts can
breathe a sigh of relief since a proposed bill that would have
imposed a $250,000 bond on each of the state's travel agencies is
essentially dead, according to Ryan Kearney, policy analyst for the
committee considering the measure. Kearney said the proposal had
received no support at any time from any quarter. When it was set
for a hearing before the state legislature's joint committee on
financial services a few weeks ago, only two people testified, both
agents in opposition. Agents also sent faxes protesting the
proposed bill. Meanwhile, proposals worrisome to the trade are
pending in New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislative committees. The
New Jersey bill calls for a $50,000 bond, and the Pennsylvania
measure calls for the testing of travel agents, ongoing education
and a consumer compensation fund.
FAM OF THE
Trip: Three nights in Budapest.
valid: Through March 31.
Sponsor: Tradesco Tours, Los
Cost: From $148 per person, double.
Includes accommodations at a choice of hotels, buffet breakfast
daily and a three-day Budapest Card, which covers public
transportation and discounts on museums, shopping and
Noteworthy: Tradesco is also offering fam
rates to Vienna; Prague, Czech Republic; and Warsaw and Krakow,
Poland, also through March.
Contact: Fax: (239) 495-5092; e-mail: [email protected].
Agent Editor: Donna Tunney
Phone: (508) 221-3674
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].