Industry News 7-6-2007

*Virtuoso and Classic Vacations Back Together
*Hertz Expands Company-Wide Environmental Initiatives
*PATA Regional Director Moves On
*and more...

Virtuoso and Classic Vacations Back Together
Virtuoso, the leading luxury travel network, and tour operator Classic Vacations have resumed their preferred supplier relationship after a 3 ½-year hiatus.

“This is a considered decision for both of our brands,” stated Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso. “Virtuoso is the champion of travel agency retailers, and our actions past and present have supported the relationship between retailers and their clients in the face of competing distribution channels. We are pleased that Classic Vacations has renewed its commitment to Virtuoso and our member agencies.”

“The re-establishment of the Virtuoso-Classic relationship is a win for both companies. I strongly believe that our common focus on superior service will bring many benefits to Virtuoso’s members and their clientele who seek the very best in luxury travel,” said Tim MacDonald, president of Classic Vacations.

Virtuoso based its decision to renew its relationship with Classic Vacations on several factors: the quality of its product, its ability to customize luxury travel plans for clients and the high degree of satisfaction that both agencies and clients experience through their interactions with Classic Vacations. With a steady increase in consumer demand, Virtuoso feels that the marketplace can support the addition of another luxury tour company.

Virtuoso’s invitation-only network comprises over 300 agencies with more than 6,000 elite travel specialists in 22 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,000 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations.

This is the first Image
Toyota Prius
Hertz Expands Company-Wide Environmental Initiatives
The Hertz Corporation, the world’s largest general-use car rental company, has expanded its company-wide environmental initiatives. The company is making a $1 million donation to the National Park Foundation and a donation of $250,000 to benefit The Mayor’s Fund for the Advancement of New York City.

Hertz is also expanding its signature Green Collection, a fleet of environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient, family-sized vehicles, with a planned $68 million investment in 3,400 reservable Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles. The Green Collection and the introduction of hybrid vehicles complement the 105,000 EPA SmartWay certified cars currently in the company’s car rental fleet. More than 64 percent (268,000 cars) of the company’s rental fleet achieves 28 mpg or greater fuel efficiency and 42.4 percent of the fleet (176,500 cars) achieves 34 mpg or greater fuel efficiency. Hertz also continues to incorporate sustainable initiatives into its fleet and operational business practices, as part of a corporate-wide commitment to environmental sustainability.

“Today’s announcement marks another phase in Hertz’s company-wide initiative to promote environmental sustainability in all aspects of our business and to help preserve our National Parks, one of our most important natural resources and vacation destinations,” said Mark P. Frissora, chairman and CEO of Hertz.

PATA Regional Director Moves On
After four years as regional director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Jim Ferguson has decided to move on to new professional opportunities.

“It has been a distinct pleasure and privilege to have worked for Asia Pacific’s leading travel trade association. Our valued members and worldwide staff have truly been like family. I look forward to maintaining my many PATA friendships and to continuing my passion for Asia Pacific travel and tourism in a future role,” said Ferguson.

Marriott to Partner with Schrager
Marriott International Inc. has announced a partnership with famed hotelier Ian Schrager. Credited with inventing the boutique hotel concept more than two decades ago, Schrager will work with Marriott to develop as many as 100 new hotel properties in gateway cities throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. The initial list of domestic markets to be explored includes New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and Las Vegas.