NEW YORK -- Considering whether to attend ASTA's 2001 World Travel
Congress in Seville, Spain, next Nov. 6 to 11?
Seville is part of the allure that made Spain one of Europe's
premier tourist destinations and, now, the second-most-visited
country in the world after France. In addition to the traditional
cuisine, music and ancient historical sites, here are a few things
to consider:No two-star hotels will be included in ASTA's room allocation,
and there will be many more four-star properties than had been
available in Strasbourg, France, the site of ASTA's most recent
international congress in 1999, said Liz Culkin, ASTA's vice
president of meetings and trade shows.
Additionally, all hotels will be no more than 20 minutes by car
or bus from the convention center.Culkin and others have extolled Seville's tourist-friendly
Alvaro Renedo, director of the Tourist Office of Spain in New
York, pointed out that Spain's taxis have some of the lowest fares
in western Europe.
"We will have more than the necessary taxis needed in Seville
because the city's main source of revenue is from tourists; it's
not as if we have to add taxis for ASTA," Renedo said.Improved air fare discounts also might boost Seville's
attendance figures, which should range from 5,000 to 6,000
delegates, Culkin predicted.
Iberia, the official carrier for the congress, is offering a 75%
discount on business class and coach, plus a 50% discount for
partners and spouses.
Iberia operates daily service from Chicago to Madrid and
twice-daily service from Miami and New York (Kennedy). Several
daily Iberia flights are offered between Madrid and Seville.
Air Europa and Spanair are also offering discounts. Air Europa
flies from New York (Kennedy) to Madrid six times a week; Spanair
operates daily service to Madrid from Washington. Air Europa is
offering a 75% discount in economy class for agent attendees and a
50% discount for their spouses or partners.
Spainair's discount amounts to 75% for agents and their
spouses/partners for economy class; a more moderate discount is
given to suppliers.Renfe, the Spanish Railways, recently announced a 50% train
fare discount for delegates. The high-speed AVE train from Madrid
runs hourly and makes the journey to Seville in two hours and 10
minutes as compared with the 55-minute flight.
Meanwhile, ASTA still is waiting to hear about air discounts
offered to West Coast delegates, since Iberia does not fly from
Renedo said the program for Seville was still in the making, but
suggested that delegates would be able to take advantage of the
fall opera season at the theater that was built especially for
World Expo, which Seville hosted in 1992.
Most of Seville's hotels and conference facilities date from
that time, he said, so delegates will experience a thoroughly
But Seville's top attractions, such as the largest gothic
cathedral in the world, flamenco music and Spain's most prestigious
bull ring, date back centuries.