Line predicts European carriers will cap

LONDON -- Lufthansa sees European commission caps for U.S. agents on international routes served by European carriers as inevitable, according to Ulrich Wachter, Lufthansa's vice president, sales & service for the U.K., Ireland, northern, central and eastern Europe.

Responding to a question on caps put forward by Travel weekly at World Travel Market's Forecast Forum here, Wachter said he anticipated that Lufthansa and its European competitors would have to cut costs by rewarding volume-producing agents and cutting commissions to others.

"Our [European airlines'] payment structure is different than United's so the caps would not take the same form, but something must but it is silly to spread commission equally among agents with no incentive," he said.

The Forecast Forum kicked off the 18th annual World Travel Market here. More than 5,000 exhibitors filled the Earls Court Exhibition Center on the opening day of the show, which runs from Nov. 16 to 19.

Other news from World Travel Market follows:

  • U.K.-based Regal Hotel Group, which owns and operates 91 three-star properties in England, Scotland and Wales, is changing its name to Corus. The firm will operate as Corus and Regal Hotels while the name change is phased in during the next three years. By early 2001, the Regal name will no longer be used. The phase-in begins March 1 with 25 properties. A spokeswoman for the company said the change in brand name is taking place to distinguish the firm from Regal International, another firm in the U.K., with which Regal Hotels has no affiliation. Regal Hotels, a public company, was founded in 1993.
  • Cendant Corp. said its Days Inn brand added three franchisee hotels in India. Two are in Madras, on India's east coast, and one is in Bombay. It also signed its first master franchise agreement in the U.K., with Premier Hotels, to develop a total of 14 Days Inn and Howard Johnson properties.
  • Howard Johnson, meanwhile, signed master franchise agreements in China and Oman. The deals mark the brand's entry to these countries.
  • The World Tourism Organization predicted that the Asia Pacific region will receive 5 million fewer tourist this year than in 1997, due to the economic turmoil in the region. Overall, it said that worldwide tourism is expected to grow by between 1.5 and 2 percent in 1998, compared to 2.8 percent in 1997 and 5.6 percent in 1996.
  • U.K.-based Swallow Hotels upgraded its web site to include detailed information on the firm's 36 hotels. A section was added for conference organizers. Another enhancement, due out next spring, will give consumers access to real-time availability and on-line booking capability.
  • Patriot American Hospitality and Wyndham International, together one of the world's largest hotel companies, acquired the 12-property Arcadian International hotel group. The purchase price was not disclosed. Patriot and Wyndham said the acquisition will be a springboard for growth in the Wyndham brand in the U.K. and Europe.
  • Arcadian International will be split into two divisions and will be known, respectively, as Patriot American Hospitality Europe and Wyndham International Europe. The conversion of the properties will take place during the next 12 months. Arcadian's portfolio includes 10 hotels in England, one on the island of Jersey and one in Paris.

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