Recent deals linking travel interests and cable television networks should remind retailers of the incredible earnings potential that exists for them in such cooperative ventures.

Whether an agency is part of Rosenbluth International, which is testing a proprietary tour program with the parent of the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel, or is an independent selling an IST Cultural Tours itinerary offered as part of a partnership with the History Channel, the trade should be poised to cash in on a major marketing phenomenon.

The Rosenbluth program, called Discovery Travel and similar to History Channel Tours, already offered in conjunction with Mayflower Tours, features escorted and independent itineraries throughout the world.

The programs are promoted in commercials on the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel and Animal Planet.

IST's globetrotting line, which the firm hopes to tie in to History Channel shows, promises to reach more than 54 million homes hooked up to the cable outlet.

Whereas the Net represents a travel-marketing resource still in its infancy, cable TV offers retailers and wholesalers a vast pool of here-and-now clients through the most effective promotional medium in the world.

And if you don't think television can sell travel, try buying commercial time during the Super Bowl.

It's in the bag

We commend the cooperative effort of the luggage manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Authority that resulted in a consumer-education campaign designed to reduce the size of carry-on baggage.

With the luggage industry unable to persuade the FAA to mandate carry-on standards, the "Think Small, Think Smart, Think Safe" campaign to get bin-busting passengers voluntarily to travel light is worth a try.

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