Operators to Iberia court agents, pay up to 15%

NEW YORK -- Bucking the commission-slashing trend, tour operators to Spain are pledging even higher-than-standard rates and bonuses for travel agents.

Comtours, based in Cleveland, crafted an air-inclusive, one-week package to Spain that pays 15% to travel agents in celebration of its 15th year in business.

Travel agents remain important partners for Comtours -- hence, the bonus commission, said Tom Spagnoletti, account executive at Comtours.

"We've even changed our slogans to inform the industry that we always pay a minimum of 10% on FITs," he said.

For example, one new tag line promises: "As the industry completely cuts, we'll never cut. Guaranteed 10% on FITs as always."

The company's new A Taste of Spain tour includes roundtrip air fare from New York on either Iberia or US Airways; roundtrip airport transfers; six nights at the Hotel Melia Costa del Sol (or a similar property) in Torremolinos, near Malaga; daily breakfast, and all hotel taxes and service charges.

A stay at the Hotel Melia Costa del Sol on El Bajondillo beach in Torremolinos is featured on Comtours' A Taste of Spain tour. Car rental and optional add-on tours throughout southern Spain, including Seville, Granada, Gibraltar and Cordoba, are also available.

A Taste of Spain is valid for travel Nov. 1 through March 31, and is bookable through March.

However, a holiday blackout period from Dec. 14 to Jan. 2 applies, said Spagnoletti, as does a land add-on for the Easter period in March.

Pricing is guaranteed while space remains. "We can help all FITs now through 2003, as well," he added.

For its part, Petrabax, Rego Park, N.Y., will pay 10% to 13% commission based on the number of clients booked on its self-drive, motorcoach, group and FIT packages to Iberia.

In addition, agents can earn a $25 cash bonus on every motorcoach tour.

Air-inclusive Petrabax motorcoach offerings range from the seven-night Spain Fiesta tour, priced from $859 per person, double, to the $1,765 Spain, Portugal & Morocco 20-night tour of Iberia.

Self-driving tours of Spain's paradores, or historical manors, include the six-night Don Quijote and Gaudi, priced from $899, double, with an Avis car rental, and the nine-night Castles of Spain from $1,269.

All packages include daily breakfast and some taxes.

To book Petrabax product, call (800) 634-1188; fax (718) 275-3943, or e-mail [email protected].

The Web site address is www.petrabaxusa.com.

To book Comtours' A Taste of Spain, call (800) 248-1331; fax (440) 835-7258 or e-mail [email protected].

Comtours' Web site is located at www.comtours.com.

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