EUROPE BOOKINGS for summer are lively, according
to one retailer who told Travel Weekly "things are hopping" at her
home-based agency. Kaye Horacek, who owns Vacations Unlimited, in
Waco, Texas, said she's working "nine days a week" and having to
turn some business over to another independent. Horacek said FIT
rail trips in Europe are selling particularly well, for travel
through August. "One client told me she wasn't afraid to travel to
Madrid because terrorists can hit home, too. I've heard this from
more than one customer in the past year," she said. Other
top-selling Europe destinations for Horacek are Italy and the U.K.
On this side of the world, Horacek said cruises are a hot ticket,
along with Las Vegas, Jamaica, Costa Rica and New York City.
Horacek said she has missed some important industry shows in recent
years because revenue was down, and this year she's tied to her
desk because she's swamped with work.
NORTH OF THE BORDER: Home-based agents in
Canada's Ontario Province are sorting through a series of proposed
regulations, issued by the Ministry of Consumer and Business
Services, which would affect independent retailers. Existing
regulations do not envision at-home agents who are not tied to a
host for all bookings, while the new proposals appear to
acknowledge that an at-home agent does not necessarily rely on a
host for every transaction. Current rules say that agents cannot
register with the province unless they work in a site that is
commercially zoned and that is "not a dwelling." Also, ads cannot
include a residential address or phone number. By contrast, the
proposed rules say agents would be able to operate their
independent businesses "from a dwelling," provided that operating a
business from home is permitted by local zoning authorities and
they maintain a separate business telephone. Additionally, it
appears at-home agents would have to disclose any connection to a
host agency when a host is used in a booking. The ministry set an
April 30 deadline for comments.
CRUISE PLANNERS got some hefty exposure this
month. It's listed at No. 23 in Entrepreneur Magazine's "101 Top
Businesses You Can Start at Home." Just one other travel firm,
CruiseOne, is included in the list, at No. 30. A spokesman for
Cruise Planners said its inclusion gives the company credibility,
and is a testament to the "strength of the company's marketing
initiatives." Many Cruise Planner franchisees are home-based
agencies. The company is based in Coral Springs, Fla.
DATEBOOK: National Trade Shows will present a
mini-trade show and dinner in Wayne, N.J., April 12, 6 p.m. to 9
p.m. About two dozen exhibitors from various areas of the industry
are scheduled to participate. There's no admission fee for travel
agents. The event is being held at Wayne Manor, 1515 Route 23
South. RSVP to (800) 526-0041.
FAM OF THE WEEK
Departures: May 20 through Sept. 23 from Moscow to
St. Petersburg, cruise/land only.
Length: 11 nights.
Sponsor: Ambassador Cruise Lines, Boca Raton,
Cost: $795 per person, double. Includes three
meals daily; guided tours; transfers, and shore excursions.
Trip: Cruises the Volga River between Moscow and
St. Petersburg, also visiting Goritsy, Kizhi, Kostroma, Mandrogi,
Uglich and Yaroslavl.
Noteworthy: The single supplement is $500. Airfare
can be arranged. Visa fees and taxes are not included.
Contact: (800) 255-5551 or e-mail [email protected].