Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: March 16, 2005

GUTEN TAG: In the wake of near-record U.S. arrivals last year, the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) rolled out its 2005 marketing campaign, Germany Faces, to highlight cities and villages, castles and palaces, packaged tours, transportation, river cruising and festivals. With more than 4.3 million overnights from the U.S. in 2004, a 15.1% jump, Germany was the third-most popular European destination for Americans, after the U.K. and France. The GNTOs www.cometogermanynow.com Web site, for consumers and travel agents, offers deals from 13 supplier partners, with prices starting at $439 per person for roundtrip air and hotel.

LUTEFISK & FREEDOM: Norway celebrates 100 years of independence from Sweden this year. Centennial celebrations will include city festivals featuring art and cultural programs in Bergen (June 14 to 19), Kristiansand (June 15 to 26), Trondheim (Aug. 1 to 6), Tromso (Aug. 16 to 21) and Oslo (June 3 to 13), where opening Culture Night events will include public viewing into the wee hours of the morning at many museums, theaters and other cultural institutions. Other highlights: The opening of a new bridge to Sweden, at Svinesund, on June 10, and the debut of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo on June 11. For more information, go to www.norway2005.no, www.nobelpeacecenter.org, www.svinesundslopet.no and www.visitnorway.com.

INN-SIDE STORY
" Raffles Holdings signed a deal with Tornim Hotel to operate its new, 239-room hotel in Tallinn, Estonia. The property, set to open in 2007, will be operated under Raffles Swissotel brand. The Swissotel Tallinn, Estonia will be the second hotel in eastern Europe for Raffles, which signed a deal to manage a hotel in Moscow last year.
" The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) sold 73 hotels in the U.K. to the LRG Acquisition consortium. The $1.9 billion deal calls for IHG to operate 63 of the hotels under a 20-year management agreement, with the rest managed on a temporary basis. Since April 2003, IHG has sold 121 hotels.

GRANDMAMMA MIA: Bridge the generation gap with Italy tours for grandparents and grandkids this summer. The 10-night Italys Splendor from Grandtravel, based in Washington, takes in Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome. The tour includes not only sightseeing, fine dining and a Tuscan picnic, but intergenerational lessons on Venetian Carnival mask making, wine distilling and Italian cookery. Price: $6,990 per person, double; $6,780, triple, with one child age 12 to 17; and $6,690, triple, with a child ages 7 to 11. The price includes accommodations, meals, transportation, admissions and activities, predeparture guidance, a tour manager, an activities director, youth counselor services, fees and taxes. Agent pay is 10%. Call (800) 247-7651 or visit www.grandtrvl.com.

FLOWER POWER: Peter Deilmann Cruises debuted European garden-themed cruises on its fleet of river ships and its luxury ocean liner, the Deutschland. The Dresden departs June 4 for Germanys Saxony and Elbe River regions, while the Princesse de Provence tours the gardens of Provence in France starting June 18. Later, the Cezanne tours Frances Normandy region on July 2, and the Heidelberg sets sail on Dutch and Belgian waterways on July 23. Out on the high seas, the Deutschland will sail on garden-themed cruises to Holland, Ireland, England and France, Aug. 3 to 14; Germany, England, Spain, Portugal and France, Sept. 10 to 22; and Portugal, Morocco, Spain, France and Italy, Sept. 22 to Oct. 7. Travel agent commission on all Deilmann products is 10%. Call Peter Deilmann Cruises at (800) 348-8287 or visit www.deilmann-cruises.com.

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