Europe firms design Unesco site program

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NEW YORK -- Two inbound operators in Europe crafted a commissionable tour of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Austria and Germany and are shopping the six-night FIT itinerary to U.S. travel agents and tour operators.

The Unesco World Cultural Heritage in Austria and Germany package from Panorama Tours of Salzburg, Austria, and Event & Touring of Wittenberg, Germany, is the first product to result from an effort launched in April by the German and Austrian tourism boards to jointly promote Unesco-protected sites.

Although, as previously reported, U.S.-based central Europe operators Smolka Tours and I.T.S. Tours and Travel plan to launch Unesco-themed products for 2003, the Panorama/Event & Touring package, unveiled last month, is the only such tour bookable now.

For its part, Event & Touring is in negotiations with several U.S. agents and operators to market the tour in the States, said Kathrin Fraustein, product manager.

"There's certainly interest from the U.S. side and we hope to get this worked out soon," she said.

Although Fraustein declined to name the agents and operators considering the Unesco product, Event & Touring's partners in other efforts include Uniworld, General Tours, Trinity Tours and Europe Express.

Meanwhile, Smolka Tours is the main U.S. partner for Panorama Tours, although it's not yet offering the new package.

The land-only Unesco tour wends it way from Salzburg to Berlin, with stops in the German towns of Munich; Bamberg; Eisenach or Weimar; and Dessau or Wittenberg, most of which are home to at least one Unesco-protected site.

For example, Eisenach, birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, boasts Wartburg Castle; Dessau is home to the Bauhaus Building and Masters Houses; and Salzburg is dominated by the Hohensalzburg fortress, nominated to the Unesco list in 1996.

The itinerary is priced at about $705 per person, double, and $959, single, until Oct. 31 and from Nov. 29 to Dec. 31; the rate includes four-star accommodations, daily breakfast, visitor discount cards, city tours, some attraction entrance fees and taxes.

Event & Touring and Panorama Tours also can put together group itineraries.

Agent commission on Event & Touring bookings is 10%, while Panorama pays 12%.

For more details on the package, call Event & Touring at (011) 49-349 166-0195 or visit www.event-touring.com/wkeshort.htm, or Panorama Tours at (011) 43-662 883-2110 or visit www.panoramatours.com" TARGET="_blank">touring.com/wkeshort.htm, or Panorama Tours at (011) 43-662 883-2110 or visit www.panoramatours.com.

For more details on Unesco sites in Germany and Austria, contact the German National Tourist Office at (800) 637-1171 or the Austrian Tourist Office at (212) 575-7723.

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