Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: Jan. 5, 2005

TUNE DANISH: The long-awaited new opera house in Copenhagen opens Jan. 15. The state-of-the-art facility, on Copenhagen Harbor opposite the picturesque Nyhavn quay, was designed and decorated by Denmarks top designers. The on-site cafe and restaurant are run by the former owners of gourmet eatery Divan 2 in Tivoli. For more, visit www.operahus.dk.

GO DUTCH: The Stedelijk Museum CS in Amsterdam is home to The Nest, an exhibition featuring 92 works by 51 Dutch interior designers, Feb. 18 to May 15. The museum, formerly housed in a Museumplein facility under renovation until 2008, is temporarily located in a high-rise tower at Oosterdokskade 5, formerly used by the Netherlands postal authority. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended viewing until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is 9 euros, or about $12. For more, visit www.stedelijk.nl and click EN on the left.

THEN GO EAST: Tour operators specializing in central and eastern Europe are publishing their 2005 brochures. Some new offerings on tap include:
" CzechWalking, a division of inbound operator E-Tours, is offering one cycling and four walking itineraries combining the Czech Republic with Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Tours vary from seven to nine nights in duration, and land-only prices range from $2,390 to $2,790 per person. For more information or a copy of the 2005 brochure, visit www.czechwalking.com or call E-Tours U.S. representative, European Walking Tours, at (866) 443-8687.
" American Travel Abroad (AMTA), New York, said it had held most prices in its new 2005 all-Poland travel planner at last years levels. For example, the air-inclusive, six-night Magic of Poland tour costs $1,319 per person from New York or Chicago, same as in 2004. New this year is a two-night Prague Extension, from $479. AMTA also offers seven other air-inclusive Poland tours ranging from six to 13 nights in length, and $1,299 to $2,899 in price. The firm also published a new Europe-wide brochure, as well. For more, call (800) 228-0877, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.amta.com.

ENGLISH ROSE: Paris and Rome may have more romantic reputations, but consider London as the Valentines Day destination of choice for clients this year. The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel is offering a Night of Extravagant Indulgence package, priced from about $770 per room, per night, Feb. 11 to Feb. 15. Perks include gifts of handmade chocolates, collectors bottle of Swarovski Rose Moet & Chandon champagne and La Perla ladies lace slip set valued at nearly $400. Also on tap: rose-petal turndown service, scented bubble baths and breakfast in bed. The package is commissionable to agents at 10%. Call (866) 526-6567 or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/london.

DEPARTURES:
" Baltic air carrier Estonian Airlines carried more than half a million passengers last year, up by more than a third compared with 2003. The airline, which serves 16 European cities,  has booking offices in Miami but does not directly serve the U.S. Estonian is, however, a member of the SAS Group of carriers and a code-share partner Scandinavian Airlines, which serves New York (Newark), Washington, Chicago and Seattle. The airline pays U.S.-based agents 7% commission; for more, call (800) 397-1354 or send an email to [email protected].
" Just across the Gulf of Finland from Estonia, Finnair said it passed the 8 million passengers-a-year milestone for the first time on Dec. 22. In total, the Finnair Group of airlines carried more than 8.1 million passengers in 2004, a record; in 2003, Finnair and its affiliates carried just under 7 million. Finnair has noted a rebound in both demand for air travel and actual traffic, with strongest growth in Asia, according to senior vice president of marketing Mika Perho.

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