The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the
Sabre/Travel Network recently hosted a Legislative Day in
Washington, D.C., where more than 70 participants met with federal
officials to discuss issues that impact the travel industry.
“In a world and industry where change is a constant, the
importance of remaining vigilant and protecting one’s interests
cannot be underestimated,” said William A. Maloney, ASTA executive
vice president and chief operating officer.
Travel professionals heard from panels focusing on homeland
security, regulatory and tax issues and aviation issues topics
discussed included Secure Flight, U.S.-Visit Program, Registered
Travel Program and the new passport issue initiative for the
Sabre awarded ASTA with a $5,000 check in recognition of the
agency’s commitment to travel advocacy. After the half-day speaker
sessions, travel agents went to Capitol Hill for meetings with
Low-Cost Carrier to Take Off
Mexican airline Mexicana recently announced the launch of the
country’s first low-cost carrier, with the initial flights taking
off this summer.
Click Mexicana, a part of Grupo Mexicana, will start ticket
sales in May and flights in July. The new airline will operate ten
100-seat Fokker-100 airplanes formerly flown by regional carrier
AeroCaribe, serving nine cities from its Mexico City hub. Flights
are planned initially for Huatulco, Merida, Nuevo Laredo, Oaxaca,
Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Villahermosa and
Zihuatanejo, all in Mexico.
Mexicana officials said the name Click was chosen because it’s
easy to pronounce in any language, it “communicates” speed and
technology and it refers to the company’s online Web site, where
the carrier will offer its lowest fares.
Emilio Romano, CEO of Grupo Mexicana de Aviacion, said in a
statement that Click “will significantly increase the volume of
clients who will have the opportunity to travel by air.”
Regis and Kelly Set for NCL Pride’s Maiden
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa will cruise on the Pride of
America’s maiden U.S. cruise this summer, along with 1,000 of their
closest friends. The duo will broadcast “Live With Regis and Kelly”
live during the June 18 cruise of NCL America’s flagship vessel as
it sails from New York to Miami.
As part of the lead up to the cruise, Regis and Kelly will give
away the cabins onboard the sailing to 1,000 contest winners and
fans. Between May 16 and June 10, the show will give away a cruise
to one winner each day for 20 days. Local contests will be held in
the cities of the show’s affiliates.
After its inaugural ceremonies in New York, the Pride of America
will sail the one-time cruise from New York to Miami via Boston,
Philadelphia and Norfolk, Va. “Live with Regis and Kelly” telecasts
will be done from each city, and one show will be done at sea.
Marriott Commissions Go Weekly
Marriott International announced the expansion of its weekly
commission payments from hotels to travel agents by partnering with
Agency members of the Texas-based company, which processes about
$41 million in hotel commissions a month, were previously paid
commissions on a monthly basis.
“Pegasus’ new implementation of weekly commission payments will
enhance our relationship with our most important distributors,
travel agents, and will ensure that all travel agencies will now
receive their Marriott commissions weekly whether they receive
their commissions through Pegasus or Marriott’s Central Travel
Agent Commission system,” said Fred Miller, vice president for
global sales, Marriott International.
Royal Caribbean Ship Strikes Pier
The Grandeur of the Seas struck a pier in Costa Maya, Mexico,
while performing a docking maneuver and suffered a 42-foot-long
“football-shaped” gash in its bow. The puncture, on the bow’s
starboard side, is about five feet wide at its widest point.
Royal Caribbean International said 15-knot winds and a 3-knot
current contributed to the incident, which occurred April 20. None
of the 2,030 passengers or 740 crew was hurt in the incident.
A team of technical experts and regulatory authorities arrived
in Costa Maya, and Royal Caribbean said a “full evaluation of
repairs” was expected.
The Grandeur of the Seas was operating a seven-day cruise from
New Orleans that included stops in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and the