Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: March 2, 2005

LTU PAYS UP AND AWAY: German carrier LTU said it will pay agents 9% commission, with no cap, on bookings of its new nonstop flights from New York (Kennedy) to Dusseldorf, Germany. The daily service (except Wednesdays) starts May 2 from Kennedys Terminal 4, with introductory fares from as low as $348 roundtrip (when booked by March 14). The New York also debut LTUs new First Comfort business-class cabin. LTU also flies from Los Angeles and Miami, Orlando and Fort Myers, Fla. For more, call (866) BOOK-LTU (866-266-5588) or log on to www.ltutrade.com.

SOUTHERN SPECIALTY: The Travel Institute, in Wellesley, Mass., is peddling its latest destination specialist course, Destination Specialist Southern Europe, for $59 -- $20 off the regular $79 cost -- through March 11. The course covers 11 Mediterranean destinations -- Andorra, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Spain and Turkey -- and includes maps and information for each destination, along with sales strategies, itineraries, tour products and a study guide. Other European courses in the series include European Culture and Heritage, France, Northern and Central Europe, and Spain. For more, visit www.thetravelinstitute.com or call (800) 542-4282.

TOURS DOEUVRES: Amid reports that U.S. travel to France this year may repeat the 10% growth recorded in 2004, the French Government Tourist Office, Maison de la France published 400,000 copies its official annual brochure. The 96-page FranceGuide 2005 is chock-full of articles by and about celebrities -- such as Brazilian author Pablo Coelho and French-born National Basketball Association star Tony Parker -- and features on walking, golfing, film festivals, cuisine and more. A Spanish-language edition will be available by mid-March. To order copies, visit www.franceguide.com/us or call (514) 288-1904.

SMOOTH OPERATORS
" From the offbeat desk: Los Angeles operator Pure Adventures is offering Dracula-themed hiking and walking tours for groups in little-visited Transylvania, Romania. The guided tours take in Bucharest, Sighisoara -- birthplace of Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler or Count Dracula -- Castle Bran, incorrectly but commonly referred to as Draculas Castle, and more. The 7-night itinerary includes inn accommodation, scenic hikes of 4- to 6-hours, most meals, English-speaking guides and all transfers. Prices start at $845 per person, based on at least six hikers. Private, 2-person tours can depart for $1,260 per person. Agent pay is 10%. Call (800) 960-2221 or visit www.pure-adventures.com.
" Italy operator Tuscan Way introduced two-tiered pricing and added four- and five-night packages to its usual full- and half-week offerings for small groups, at all three of its Tuscany culinary vacation venues: Villa Castelletti, nine miles from Florence, Italy; Casa Innocenti, in Arcidosso; and Villa Gaia, near Seggiano. First-tier pricing on three- to six-night deals runs from $1,690 to $3,390 per person, double; second-tier ranges from $1,290 to $2,890. Departures run March 1 to Nov. 30. Tuscan Way pays 10% commission. Call (800) 766-2390 or (305) 598-8368; or visit www.tuscanway.com.

JAZZ IT UP: The Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, rolls out the welcome mat for music lovers at the Cully Jazz Festival from April 1 to 9 with a special offer. Its 2-night All that Jazz package -- priced at 650 Swiss francs or about $559 per night, double -- includes two tickets to a performance; dinner for two at hotel restaurant La Rotonde; daily breakfast; wine tasting for two; and transport to and from the village of Cully, 15 minutes away. For more or to book, contact the hotel direct at (011) 41-21 613-3333 or www.brp.ch, or contact The Leading Hotels of the World at: (800) 223-6800 or www.lhw.com.

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