Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: July 10, 2002

WITH ITS PARENT FIRM, Paris-based Vivendi Universal, saddled with excessive debt and facing a cash crunch, there is speculation in financial circles that the company's new CEO and chairman, Jean-Rene Fourtou, and Vivendi's board of directors, may decide to sell some holdings, including the Universal Studios Recreation Group of theme park interests. One possible scenario is that Barry Diller, who heads the Universal Entertainment Co. subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, might take full control of the subsidiary should it be spun off as a separate public concern. Diller had sold his USA Networks Inc. TV holdings to Vivendi earlier this year.

UNITED VACATIONS, operated by Mark Travel Corp., slashed $50 per person from the published costs of its three-night and longer Disney Fall Fantasy vacations, which are valid for stays Aug. 25 to Oct. 2. Sample reduced rates for three nights are $524 per person, double, from Boston, New York and Washington; $559 from Atlanta and Chicago; and $654 from Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Covered are roundtrip air, a room at one of Disney's All-Star Resorts hotels and Disney's Ultimate Park Hopper Ticket. Passenger facility charges, air segment fees and security fees, if applicable, are additional. Agents earn 10% pay on phone bookings or 11% on electronic ones made through the GDSs or VAX Vacation Access. For information, call (800) 328-6877.

ORMOND BEACH, next to Daytona Beach, scheduled its 2003 Birthplace of Speed Centennial celebration March 26 to 28. Events will include the dedication of the refurbished Birthplace of Speed Park; the re-enactment of the 1902 race when the Winton Bullet #1 beat the Olds' Pirate in the first Challenge Cup; car shows; and concerts. For information, call (386) 676-7675.

THE PALM BEACH County Convention & Visitors Bureau enhanced its Web site www.palmbeachfl.com, to include cultural, sporting and recreational activities. There also are links for scuba diving, airline services and dining information. A Current Events page showcases trendy activities and "hot spots."

PAY PROMOTIONS
• SunStream Hotels & Resorts, introduced a promotion called Travel Agent Summer-Fall Rewards, whereby bookings for stays as of June 1 are commissionable at 15%. The last date of stay under the offer is Dec. 19. SunStream has seven hotels in the Fort Myers Beach and Naples area. For more information, call (800) 752-4544.
• Four hotels operated by Rosen Hotels and Resorts in Orlando launched a 15% commission policy to help fill rooms on dates when they have plenty of availability. The incentive will run indefinitely. The hotels are the Quality Inn Plaza (800) 999-8585; the Quality Inn Int'l (800) 825-7600; the Rodeway Inn Int'l (800) 999-6327, and The Comfort Inn Lake, Buena Vista (800) 999-7300. To assure the 15% pay, agents should mention code 15CM when booking by phone.
• Meanwhile, the Island Outpost chain offers 16% pay on stays through Sept. 30 at its three Miami Beach (South Beach) properties: the Tides Marlin and Kent. For information, call (800) OUTPOST.

SEAWORLD ORLANDO introduced an option for meeting groups of up to 240 -- Dine With Shamu. Guests get a buffet meal served in the killer whale training area, backstage. If requested, a private show can be staged for the group. For information, call (407) 363-2200.

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