Site offers full deck of city cards

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LONDON -- More than three dozen Continental cities joined forces to collectively present their discount "city card" visitor passes at one Internet site in hopes of easing travel planning for travel agents and their clients alike.

The new European Cities Tourism Web site, at www.europeancitycards.com, offers information or online booking for passes from 36 cities and towns, from Budapest, Hungary, and Tallinn, Estonia, in the east to Granada, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal, in the southwest.

City cards and visitor passes typically offer travelers free admission or discounts at museums and attractions as well as at restaurants and shops and on public transportation systems.

Angus Rankine, chairman of European Cities Tourism and founding director of Leisure Pass Group, purveyor of two city cards -- for London and York, England -- said the new site, in time, should become a "one-stop shop" for travelers visiting multiple European destinations.

"It's going to make travel agents' lives considerably easier, so they don't have to go hunting at each individual tourist board's Web site for city-card information," he said.

Very much still a work in progress, the site at press time offered three levels of functionality for the city-card product.

Three of the cards -- the Stockholm Card from the Stockholm (Sweden) Visitors Bureau and the commissionable London Pass and York Pass from the Leisure Pass Group -- can be reserved and paid for at the site.

Meanwhile, detailed information and contact links are provided for cards from three additional cities -- Barcelona, Spain; Brussels; and Innsbruck, Austria -- while basic data is posted about the remaining 30 passes.

Complete information and links for all passes should be on line at the site by September, and city cards for Amsterdam, Berlin and Gothenburg, Sweden, will be available for Web purchase soon, Rankine said.

In addition, city-card programs from Moscow, Paris and up to 10 other municipalities will join the European Cities Tourism effort by year's end.

For more information and a list of participating cities, visit www.europeancitycards.com or call Leisure Pass Group direct at (011) 44-207 580-8060.

To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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