BIG DEALS: Auto Europe vacation-packaging arm
Destination Europe introduced first-class air packages that offer
discounts of up to 20% on published fares, along with 12%
commission to travel agents. Sample first-class packages for
London, Paris or Rome from seven U.S. gateways range from $9,849 to
$11,377 per person, double occupancy, including roundtrip,
first-class air fare; seven-day Mercedes-Benz rental, with Global
Positioning System (GPS) and cell phone; and two nights deluxe
hotel with taxes, service charges and daily breakfast. Options
available include chauffeur-driven transfers, luxury car rentals
with GPS, nights in Leading Hotels of the World, Eurostar packages
and cell phone rentals; packages are available for over 100 cities
in Europe. Call (888) 223-5555 or visit www.autoeurope.com/tasite online.
SPAIN PAINTS: The Prado Museum in Madrid offers
a once-in-a-lifetime retrospective of Spanish portraiture this fall
and winter with "The Spanish Portrait: From El Greco to Picasso"
show. The exhibit, to run from Oct. 20 to Feb. 6 in the Central
Gallery and Room 12, will present 84 masterpieces tracing the
history of the portrait in Spain from the late 15th century through
the early 20th century. Included are works -- some never seen
before or ever exhibited at the Prado -- by El Greco, Velazquez,
Goya, Miro and Picasso. The Prado Museum is open daily, except
Mondays, New Years Day and Christmas, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
admission is about $3.60 daily except Sundays, when it is free.
Students, youth and senior citizens enter free or at a discount.
For more, contact the Tourist Office of Spain in New York at (212)
265-8822 or www.okspain.org.
MOVING ON: The Romanian National Tourist Office
in New York has relocated and also changed its e-mail address.
Address all letters and other "snail mail" to 355 Lexington Ave.,
Floor 19, New York, N.Y. 10017; meanwhile, e-mails should now be
fired off to [email protected]. The RNTOs main telephone
number (212-545-8484) and fax number (212-251-0429) remain the
same; however, telephone number 212-447-9058 is no longer in
service. For more on Romania, visit www.RomaniaTourism.com online.
UK LUXURY PACT: British tourist board
VisitBritain and agency consortium Virtuoso struck a marketing and
sales pact designed to position England, Scotland and Wales as
preferred destinations for Virtuoso specialist agents. VisitBritain
will provide Virtuoso agencies with exclusive offers -- as well as
access to its BritAgent online agent training program and new
Booking Britain online sales guide -- and will engage preferred
suppliers in "direct marketing activities to showcase ... British
products." In return, Virtuoso will promote Britain to its customer
database of some 1 million affluent leisure travelers and
distribute VisitBritains new luxury travel magazine, "So British,"
to its member specialist agents.
AIR WOES: Delays may be in store for British
Airways (BA) passengers flying in and out of U.K. airports later
this summer, as unionized terminal workers voted to go on strike
over pay. On Aug. 13, 53% of some 3,000 BA check-in staff, mainly
at Londons Heathrow and Gatwick airports, who belong to the GMB
union -- Britains largest -- voted in favor of job actions. Union
leadership has three weeks in which to call a strike, but must give
seven days notice of any action. And things could get even worse:
Thousands of Transport and General Workers Union members at six
British airports were also set to vote on strike actions sometime
before Aug. 18. For its part, the airline said in a statement that
any strikes would cause significant damage to its finances and
reputation. The unions reportedly rejected a pay offer worth 8.5%
to 10.5 % over three years.