Where in the World
Things change so quickly,” Rekha Buddiga said excitedly seconds
after her son and his teammates won the 2005 AAA Travel High School
Challenge at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., earlier this
month. About 64,000 teens participated in the tournament, designed
to increase geographic literacy in young Americans, and the
panelists’ fast response to tough questions had the audience on the
edge of their seats.
“What is the name of the largest ethnic Japanese neighborhood
outside of Japan located in a Brazilian city southwest of Rio?”
(Sao Paulo). “Which city is furthest from Atlanta: Miami, Baltimore
or St. Louis?” (Miami).
Members of the winning team Pratyush Buddiga, Michael Oh and Carson
Qing each won a $25,000 scholarship.
“American kids are not as culturally and geographically educated as
kids in other countries,” said Marc Mancini, who runs the
tournament and prepares TravelAge West’s GeoIntelligence page. The
contest “puts a spotlight on kids who are aware.”
Aloha Goes Online
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is launching a fast,
flexible new travel agent Web site at what it calls an
unforgettable address: agents.gohawaii.com. Making its debut on
June 1, the site provides real-time access to the many HVCB assets
that can help agents sell Hawaii.
“It’s our role to communicate information to our partners, and the
most efficient way to do that is electronically,” said Elizabeth
Johnsen, HVCB’s managing director of travel trade partnerships. “We
think we’ve created a complete resource center in an engaging,
With graphics matching those of HVCB’s travel trade e-newsletter,
the Web site features tools like preapproved generic ad templates,
downloadable photos and logos, an editorial library, niche market
tips, island itineraries and a print collateral order form. HVCB’s
7,000 Hawaii Destination Specialists are automatically approved for
access to the site, which is designed exclusively for agents and
wholesalers with a professional business license.
Urge to Merge
America West and US Airways recently unveiled an agreement to
merge, promising to offer a low-fare, full-service product
nationwide with a broader domestic and international network than
they can operate alone.
It would operate under the US Airways name but under the leadership
of America West CEO Doug Parker.
If the airlines can get the necessary approvals and clearances,
they hope to consummate the deal by fall. Parker said the airlines
would effectively be merged within months of consummation and would
soon thereafter, coordinate schedules, frequent-flyer programs and
other marketing programs.
Sabre to Buy LastMinute.com
Sabre answered the question of how it will take on
IAC/InterActiveCorp and Cendant in Europe with an agreement to
purchase LastMinute.com for some $1.08 billion in cash.
The transaction, subject to LastMinute.com shareholder approval and
pected to close by the end of July, widens Travelocity’s reach and
enhances Sabre’s foray into travel retailing internationally.
Travelocity’s strategy is to operate multiple brands in Europe,
with LastMinute becoming the lead brand in most countries where it
has set up shop, Sabre said.