Photo ID cards among CLIA's new programs

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NEW YORK -- Cruise Lines International Association will introduce a photo identification card and several programs designed to add value to those agencies who are CLIA affiliates, said Jim Godsman, CLIA's president.

Under the ID card program, which begins in 2000, agents at affiliated CLIA retail locations can pay an annual $15 fee to obtain a photo ID card that identifies the bearer as an retailer as a CLIA-affiliated cruise seller.

The ID card also identifies the agent as an associate cruise counselor (ACC) or master cruise counselor (MCC) in CLIA's cruise counselor certification program.

Godsman said surveys of CLIA-affiliated travel agencies indicated most wanted agency identification cards. "We found that 73% wanted ID cards, but we weren't going to just throw cards out there," he said.

"We were hesitant to take that step at first. We are requiring that affiliates attest to actively selling cruises at the time they apply for the card."

Godsman said the program is optional and suspects that "some agents will opt to continue doing business they way they are now" without ID cards.

CLIA affiliates, he said believed the ID cards would help identify agents as CLIA affiliates and active sellers of cruises as well as help retailers with identification for ship inspections and fam trip requests.

Godsman said CLIA member lines are under no obligation to provide services to card carriers. "Like the IATAN card, any services provided are at the individual member lines' discretion," he said.

CLIA also announced an enhanced bonus coupon program that will offer agents who renew their CLIA membership for 2000 with coupons for up to $12,000 in bonus commissions for 2000 bookings. The bonuses are valid for 24 cruise lines for bookings made throughout 2000.

The bonus pay program represents a 50% increase over similar pay offers introduced last year.

Godsman said the increased commissions reflect "that the program did work last year and our member lines recognized that. Sixty percent of our agency affiliates said they did use some of the bonus coupons this year."

CLIA also is offering affiliates a marketing services Super Saver program that features reduced costs on overnight shipping, telephone, Internet and e-mail services, retail luggage products and other products and services.

Godsman said CLIA has arranged with several vendors for the services, but declined to name the companies until contractual details have been finalized.

The Super Savings program is available to first-time CLIA affiliates and affiliates who renew their member ship for 2000.

In another development, CLIA announced two new member lines, Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, a Florida-based operator of short cruises to the Bahamas, and American Cruise Line, a Hamden, Conn.-based small-ship specialist.

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