Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: March 29, 2006

THE SWEDISH TRAVEL TOURISM COUNCIL is changing its name to VisitSweden in a move to attract more international visitors to the destination. The council was founded in 1995 and is owned equally by the Swedish state through the Ministry for Industry, Employment and Communication and the Swedish tourism industry. VisitSweden has been charged with the task of marketing the brand name of Sweden and increasing revenue from tourism from overseas. The Swedish tourism industry accounts for 2.58% of the gross national product. Visit the tourism council on the Web at www.visitsweden.com.

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES is poised to introduce daily nonstop service between New York/Newark and Barcelona, Spain, May 17. This service will offer the only year-round, nonstop flights between the U.S. and Barcelona, a city that receives more visitors from the U.S. than from any other country. Continental also operates daily service between New York/Newark and Madrid. 

THE CLARION HOTEL BERLIN completed the first phase of a major refurbishment, adding 270 guest rooms and 30 suites and revamping 190 existing superior rooms. Features designed to appeal to business travelers include wireless LAN in every room, wide flat-screen TVs, voicemail and fax and modem connections. In addition to function and meetings space, the property features two restaurants, with a third and a bar planned for phase two of the renovation.

JDB FINE HOTELS & RESORTS launched four Independent Excursions to Italy that include private tours, cooking programs, gourmet dining and spa treatments designed for upscale travelers. The three-night Discover the Magnificent Truffles of Piemonte tour, for example, combines truffle hunting, accompanied by a private guide and a truffle hunting dog, with a cooking lesson incorporating truffles in regional dishes. The package, which features accommodations at the Lovera Palace Hotel in Cuneo, is priced at about $490 per person, double, including dinner in the hotels Michelin-starred restaurant. For details, visit www.jdbhotels.com/excursions.

INSIGHT VACATIONS created a Country Roads, Gardens and Stately Homes of Britain tour that includes visits to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, Warwick Castle and Castle Howard. The land price of the 14-night program starts at $2,599 per person, double, and includes two nights in each destination, sightseeing excursions to Winchester and Salisbury cathedrals, St. Andrews University and Old Golf Course, Edinburgh Castle and Hadrians Wall, among other sites. Groups are limited to 40 passengers. Insight pays a minimum of 10% commission on land, 10% on air. Details on the package are available at www.insightvacations.com.

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