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."
• 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)
• 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
• 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.