Firms offer their own 'Magical Mystery Tours'

NEW YORK -- Several companies and individuals in the U.K. and the U.S. offer Beatles-themed excursions and tours to Liverpool, England, and other sites associated with the renowned musical group.

Although some tours -- particularly short day trips -- are not commissionable to agents, the value they might add in terms of client satisfaction could make them worthy of consideration for FIT itineraries.

The following list is a small sampling of suppliers:

• Liverpool Productions of Orange, Conn., is paying agents at least $100 commission on its 19th annual, 12-day Magical History Tour to Liverpool, London and Amsterdam, set this year for Aug. 17 to 28.

The package includes roundtrip air fare; four-star hotel accommodations with breakfast; event and attraction admissions; land transportation on deluxe motorcoaches and the Magical Mystery Tour bus; all transfers; and the services of a guide.

Part of the Beatles Story, a popular, interactive exhibition about the famed music group in Liverpool. Highlights include a "bed-in" at the Amsterdam Hilton, a recording session at Abbey Road Studios, a private party at the Casbah Club in Liverpool with original Beatles drummer Pete Best and a Twist & Shout Dance Party at London's Hard Rock Cafe.

Liverpool Productions also is the U.S. ticket agent for the 2002 International Beatle Week festival.

To book the tour or to order Beatle Week tickets, call (203) 795-4737, fax (203) 891-8433, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.toursandevents.com/beatles-main.htm.

There also is a toll-free hot line at 866-LIVERPOOL (548-3776).

• The Beatle Pilgrimage Tour, a division of Pilgrimage Ltd. in Greensboro, N.C., is offering a John Lennon's 62nd Birthday Celebration Tour from Oct. 1 to 12 as well as a nine-night tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mersey Beat magazine from July 1 to 12, 2003.

Although Pilgrimage does not pay agents commission, it is "considering travel agent support" as its tour inventory grows and "would consider any offer," said a company spokesman.

Prices start from $1,899 per person, land only, to $2,399 with air from select U.S. cities.

For more information, call (888) 769-3715, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.beatletour.com.

• Walrus Tours of Plymouth, England, offers groups of four or more the chance to ply the route from London to the West Country that the Beatles took on their 1967 Magical Mystery Tour.

Clients stay at the same hotels and visit the same pubs, restaurants and beaches.

The tour is priced at about $286 per person, double; a single supplement is available. A 10% deposit is due at least four weeks before departure.

Walrus does not pay commissions to agents.

To book, call Walrus at (011)44-175 233-5266 or e-mail [email protected]. For more information, visit www.walrus.ic24.net.

• Famed nightclub the Cavern has teamed with Liverpool attraction the Beatles Story to offer a Beatles Combo program for groups of 10 or more.

The deal combines a Magical Mystery Tour, which must be reserved 24 hours in advance, with free admission anytime to both the Cavern and the Beatles Story.

The combo price of about $22 offers a 10% savings on the tour and the Beatles Story; some live music events at the Cavern are not included in the rate.

The Cavern also hosts the 2002 International Beatle Week music festival from Aug. 22 to 27; for a brochure, call (011) 44-871 222-1963.

To book the combination tour, call Cavern City Tours at (011) 44-871 222-1967. When booking in advance by phone, credit card details, the number of tickets needed and the desired date and time of the tour is required.

For more information, visit www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk.

• Liverpool & Wirral Guide Escorted Tours celebrates Paul McCartney's birthday on June 15 with its daylong Macca's 60th Birthday Tour of Liverpool.

The program -- priced at about $103 -- includes an open-air lunch, a party at the Casbah with Pete Best, a souvenir gift and entrance to McCartney's art exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery.

The company also offers taxi cab tours, such as the two-and-a-half-hour Ticket to Ride, which ranges from $117 to $147, and the deluxe, four-hour Here, There and Everywhere, which costs from $220 to $265.

For more information or to book, visit www.liverpool-wirral.co.uk/tours.htm.

• Wiseguides in Liverpool offers a selection of guided walking, automobile and coach Beatles tours lasting anywhere from two hours to all day.

Itineraries are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Danish and Italian.

For details, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.angelfire.com/wi/wiseguides/BEATLESTOURS.html.

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