Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: August 21, 2002

FLORIDA TOURISM and travel industry in general continue to face major obstacles, according to Barry Pitegoff, vp-research for Visit Florida. During the 35th Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism in Kissimmee, he cited several hurdles including a continuing fear of flying by many travelers; a reluctance of travelers to drive more than six to eight hours; a downturn in foreign visitors; pessimism about the U.S. economy; and changes in consumer attitudes. Nevertheless, Pitegoff believes that the state's visitor count will reach parity with pre-Sept. 11 arrivals by the fall.

THE HOLIDAY INN Family Suites Resort, Orlando, introduced its second annual Family Suite-Stakes program, whereby free two-night vacation packages are going to be awarded to 10 guests each day between Sept. 2 and Oct. 1. If a winning guest was booked by a travel agent, the same prize will go to the agent. Drawings will be held each morning for the free vacations, valid Oct. 15 to Dec. 23. For information, call (877) 387-KIDS. The Web site is at www.hifamilysuites.com.

AT NEARBY Universal Studios, "Kongfrontation," where King Kong attacks visitors in cable cars, will close Sept. 8, to be replaced by another ride, yet to be disclosed.

BILL COSBY will headline the "City of Laughs" at the Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, on Aug. 31, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., His appearance was arranged by the DreamCatchers Foundation and proceeds will benefit local charities. Tickets cost $60 to $100. For information, call (866) 468-7630 or check the Web site www.ticketweb.com.

YOU GO GIRLS is a new promotion from Wyndham's Key West resorts -- the Casa Marina and the Reach. Related packages (all commissionable at 10%) of one- to four-nights were designed to appeal to "girl getaways" such as mother-daughter, sisters and cousins and girlfriends-only, A sample package for three nights, through Oct. 19 is priced at $350 per person, double, covering a room, welcome amenity, cocktail reception and a $300 resort credit per room for use in restaurants and for recreational activities. Clients staying Oct. 20 to Dec. 19, would pay $395 per person, double. For information, call (800) WYNDHAM or check the Web site, www.wyndham.com.

LODGEPODGE
• The Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, introduced a two-night Disney Package priced at $378 double, covering a room, daily breakfast, a single day admission to a Disney World park, park transfers and other features. Tax is additional and agents earn 10% on the full price. To book, call (407) 586-2000 and mention code PR1, or check the Web site, www.gaylordpalms.com.
• The Inn at Pelican Bay in Naples, offers a one-night Longer you Stay, the Less you Pay package for Labor Day weekend. One night costs $80; two nights, $144; three nights, $207. Tax is additional. The offer applies Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 and pays agents 10%. For information, call (800) 597-8770 or check the Web site www.naplesinn.com.
• The former Sheraton Oceanfront Resort on Singer Island changed flags after a $5 million renovation and re-opened as the 193-room Crowne Plaza Oceanfront North Palm Beach. For information, call (800) 370-1010.
• A 15% commission is extended by the Travelodge Orlando Convention Center now through Dec. 12. Rates begin at $59 per night. Bookings must be made directly with the property at (800) 346-1551.

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