In the News 5-27-2005

*AAA High School Challenge
*Aloha Goes Online
*America West merges with US Airways and more

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.”
Marcia Levin

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: 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, easy-to-use setting.”
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
Sabre answered the question of how it will take on IAC/InterActiveCorp and Cendant in Europe with an agreement to purchase for some $1.08 billion in cash.
The transaction, subject to shareholder approval and ex-
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.