July began with traditional fireworks displays, but the month ended with a real bang when Amtrak announced that it will pay agents up to 16% commission to put their clients on the rail line's long- and short-distance leisure trains.

As for other travel pyrotechnics in July, consider:

  • VTS Travel Enterprises acquires Direct Travel in an all-cash deal involving two New York agencies.
  • The State Department says that it will begin to issue travel advisories by early fall for countries whose airports or aviation systems are not Y2K compliant.
  • Pleasant Holidays launches a trade Web site capable of booking multi-island, air-inclusive Hawaii packages.
  • Far & Wide Travel Corp. acquires two Greece specialists, Tourlite International and Zeus Tours.
  • Amadeus and Galileo International introduce a display that shows only the flights of an airline alliance, in this case the Star Alliance.
  • The Irish Tourist Board agrees to allow tour operators to offer their services on the board's Web site.
  • The Department of Transportation proposes to postpone for agents its oral disclosure rule on code shares and leased aircraft until Aug. 25.
  • Royal Caribbean International says it will pay retailers to service bookings when it introduces its consumer reservations engine in December.
  • JetBlue says it will launch low-fare service to up to 44 New York cities early next year and Southwest plans to serve Hartford, Conn., starting Oct. 31.
  • Continental becomes a participant in the Priceline.com airline ticket service.
  • Swiss-based Kuoni Travel proposes to buy Intrav and its Clipper Cruise Line subsidiary for $115 million.
  • Delta announces that it will give corporate accounts access to negotiated fares and Web discounts on its SkyLinks Net site.
  • Royal Caribbean agrees to pay an $18 million fine for dumping waste and other hazardous chemicals.
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