NEW YORK -- Italy, never a tough sell in the worst of circumstances, should soon become even easier for travel agents to book, thanks to the newly created Italian Travel Promotion Council.

The council, which was established by the Italian Government Tourist Board (ENIT), comprises 11 U.S. tour operators specializing in Italy and three trade association presidents.

"The function of the council is to assist the ENIT offices in marketing Italy as a major tourist destination," said council chairman Fred Berardo, president of Jersey City, N.J.-based Central Holidays.

Also presiding over the council, which recently met for the first time, is vice chairman Mauro Galli, president of TourCrafters in Chicago.

The first order of business, after naming the officers and members, was to create a marketing committee headed by Steve Perillo, president of Perillo Tours in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Also on the committee are April Merenda, president of CIT Tours.; Rosario Mariani, president of Italitours, and Angelo Scroppo, president of Donatello Tours, all in New York.

"This committee fulfills one of the primary functions of the council, which is to recommend a marketing plan to ENIT," Berardo said. Specifically, the committee will be involved in identifying markets, developing marketing programs and seeking ways to better distribute the product and increase awareness of the destination, he said.

The committee also will analyze any problems with regard to travel to Italy, Berardo said. "One of first issues we will address is the information distribution from ENIT," he said.

Berardo said the committee will monitor the new system and make recommendations based on its performance. The council also will concentrate on creating a marketing plan for 1999.

Council Roster
NEW YORK -- Tour operators who are members of the Italian Travel Promotion Council are:
  • Steve Perillo, Perillo Tours of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
  • Fred Berardo, Central Holidays, Jersey City, N.J.
  • Franca Franzaroli, Donna Franca Tours, Boston.
  • Angelo Scroppo, Donatello Tours, New York.
  • Peter McCormack, Trafalgar Tours, New York.
  • Mauro Galli, TourCrafters, Chicago.
  • April Merenda, CIT Tours, New York.
  • Rosario Mariani, Italiatour, New York.
  • Bert Svensson, Legend Tours, San Diego.
  • Gino Di Nallo, Touritalia of Chicago.
  • Luigi Camera, Visit Italy Tours, Los Angeles.
  • Association president members are:

  • Robert Whitley of the U.S. Tour Operators Association.
  • Michael Spinelli of ASTA.
  • John Hawks of ARTA.
  • Tour operators were selected based on the volume of tourists they send to Italy.

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