Runaway Tours, the San Francisco-based tour wholesaler specializing
in Hawaii and Mexico, will “wind down operations and cease
operations” after 37 years in business, according to the company.
Runaway will honor reservations paid in full through February.
Clients who have booked travel with the company for dates later
than Feb. 28 will receive refunds, the company said.
Ed Jackson, Runaway president and CEO, was not immediately
available for comment. However, in a statement he said that “taking
care of our clients and vendors is our main priority. We are
winding down, but we are not closing our doors.”
Meanwhile, other tour operators including Classic Vacations,
Blue Sky Tours, Creative Leisure and Funjet Vacations will help
agents rebook Runaway itineraries.
Blue Sky Tours
ASTA Hits the Airwaves
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has taken to the
satellite radio airwaves to offer consumers travel advice.
ASTA president and CEO Kathy Sudeikis is one of about 15 ASTA
agents that are featured in a series of 26 weekly two-minute radio
spots, which launched Jan. 2, that are part of the daily “Traveling
with Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman” program. The show is
produced by the 4th Street Media Group for Discovery Channel Radio,
and is broadcast on Channel 119 on the Sirius Satellite Radio
network at 10 p.m. weeknights.
Working with the ASTA members, “we are able to offer a genuine
service to our listeners. It gives us the chance to prove the
practical value of working with a travel professional when planning
travel,” Lasley said.
“By broadcasting on satellite radio, ASTA members can not only
provide listeners across the country with helpful travel tips but
can connect with a new demographic younger Americans with
disposable income that they otherwise might not be able to reach as
easily. We’re really excited to be working with Paul and Elizabeth,
two of the travel media’s consummate professionals,” added Sudeikis
in a statement.
In addition to the satellite radio show, Lasley and Harryman
also host “The Travel Show,” a live talk-radio program heard on
KABC, Los Angeles; and “OnTravel,” a series of radio spots on
travel-related topics broadcast on XM Satellite Radio channels
several times a day.
Survey: Certified Agents Make More
The results from Travel Professional magazine’s 15th annual
survey again showed that certified travel professionals earned more
and sold more in 2005. Agents who earned their CTC or CTIE
designation saw a 5 percent pay increase, while non-certified
agents showed a 6 percent decrease from 2004, according to the
Because of the results, the Travel Institute Fund is offering
$135 scholarships to those who enroll in CTC classes by Jan. 31.
The $50 fee for the CTC Challenge, the prerequisite for those who
have not earned their CTA designation, is also being waived.
Castle Resorts & Hotels announced the launch of its 2006
travel agent incentive program, “5 for 50,” which rewards agents
with a $50 bonus for every five consecutive nights booked at
participating Castle properties.
“Travel agents are an integral part of our business, and we want
to thank them for supporting Castle Resorts throughout Hawaii,”
said Sheree Moffat, vice president of sales. “Nearly half of our
customers are influenced and book through travel agents.”
The program is valid on bookings made after Jan. 1 for travel
through Dec. 22.
Fairmont Under Siege
One of North America’s largest luxury hotel companies is under
New York billionaire Carl Icahn, ranked by Forbes as the
28th-richest American, first attempted in mid-November to take over
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts by bidding $1.9 billion for a 51
percent stake of shares.
Rejected by the company’s board, Icahn indicated he may now
propose buying Fairmont outright.
Fairmont board chairman Peter C. Godsoe said a special committee
is “actively exploring” its alternatives, which may include a
transaction with one or more third parties.
To boost bookings, Trafalgar Tours has announced the Sensational
Trafalgar Sweepstakes with multiple drawings worth up to $20,000
cash and free European vacations as prizes. Agents receive one
entry for every booking with a collected deposit within 10 days,
and there’s no limit on the amount of entries an agent can
Entries through Feb. 15 are entered to win $10,000. The Feb.
16-March 31 sweepstakes has a grand prize of $15,000, and the
sweepstakes through May 15 offers a prize of $20,000. European
trips for two are also up for grabs in the three sweepstakes.