Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: Feb. 16, 2005

UPPER CRUST: Looking to woo high-end travelers, U.K. tourist board VisitBritain launched So British, a twice-yearly, upscale magazine promoting the finer things in England, Scotland and Wales. Some 200,000 copies of the debut issue of the 120-page publication -- cover price, $6.95 -- are being distributed free in the U.S., along with other upscale magazines, at private social clubs and luxury hotels and via about 6,000 travel agent members of consortia such as Virtuoso and Vacation.com. So British also will be available free to BritAgent specialists and other qualified retailers and operators. Visit www.visitbritain.com/VB3-en-US/campaigns/sobritish/Magazine_online.aspx.

BON VOYAGE: The French Government Tourist Office is running a travel agent seminar series Feb. 28 to March 3 in four U.S. cities. The evening events, all set to start at 5 p.m., are scheduled for Feb. 28 in New York, at the Hotel Parker Meridien; March 1 in Vienna, Va., at the Hotel Tysons Corner Marriott; March 2 in Chicago, at the Hotel Fairmont; and March 3 in Los Angeles, at the Four Seasons Hotel. Interested travel agents should R.S.V.P. to [email protected]. For more on France, visit www.franceguide.com.

INN-SIDE STORY:
" Intimate Orient-Express Hotels property La Residencia, on the island of Mallorca, off Spain, reopened after a three-month closure for refurbishment, just in time for its 21st anniversary. As part of the $2 million rehab, the hotel bar was expanded and an elevator installed to link the main manor house to the pool. Orient-Express has continued to renovate the 59-room hotel since acquiring it in March 2003. For more on La Residencia, where nightly rates start at about $290 with breakfast, call (800) 783-0526 or visit www.hotel-laresidencia.com.
" Derag Hotels Dollars for Euros program makes greenbacks equal to euros on a one-to-one basis for accommodations at its 11 hotel and extended-stay properties in Germany until March 10, saving U.S. clients 30% at current exchange rates. Agents get 10% commission on each hotel room booking and up to 5% on long-term apartment bookings. Call (011) 80-00-136-9999 or book online at www.deraghotels.de/english.

OLD WORLD, NEW EUROPE: Continental Journeys is peddling three-night independent travel packages to Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw, priced at three levels from April 1 to Oct. 31: from $199 to $299 per person, double, for tourist-class hotels; $259 to $389 for first-class properties; and $329 to $659 for deluxe hotels. Stays -- with some exceptions -- include breakfast daily, city tour, roundtrip airport or rail station transfers, taxes and service charges. Other cities, including Krakow, Poland; Salzburg, Austria; and Dresden, Germany, can be added. Call (800) 601-4343 or (818) 995-8643; fax (818) 995-8673; e-mail to [email protected]; or visit www.continentaljourneys.com.

MUSICALLY ARTFUL: A performance on antique Amati violins at this years TEFAF Maastricht (International Art and Antiques Fair) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, has lent a musical theme to the entire affair, with paintings and sculptures on musical subjects accompanying actual instruments in antique dealers stalls. The show, which runs March 4 to 13 at the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Center (MECC) and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance costs 35 euros (or about $45) for adults and 7.50 euros  ($9.50) for children; season tickets and other discounts are available. For more, visit www.tefaf.com, or call the Netherlands Board of Tourism at (212) 370-7360. Dutch inbound operator Wens Travel is peddling individual and group packages to TEFAF; for information, call (011) 3135 542-9333 or visit www.wens.nl.

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