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Tour Operators

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NEWS
December 6, 1992 | By Donald D. Groff, FOR THE INQUIRER
The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) expects to pay out $2 million to make good on tours booked through Olson-Travelworld, a California company whose financial problems had jeopardized hundreds of booked vacations. The company, which was the official U.S. agency for the 1992 Olympic Games, notified the USTOA that it had insufficient funds to cover clients' trips scheduled for October and November. The USTOA maintains a $5 million insurance plan to guarantee the bookings of its members - a policy designed to reassure consumers as well as travel-industry suppliers.
NEWS
December 2, 1990 | By Donald D. Groff, Special to The Inquirer
CANADA'S TAXING ISSUE. A new 7 percent goods-and-services tax that has Canadians in an uproar will affect visiting Americans as well. It has drawn fire from U.S. tour operators, who would be saddled with administrative headaches under the tax program. It is to take effect Jan. 1. Known as the GST, the tax is designed to replace a federal tax on goods at the manufacturing level. It also will apply to services such as hotel rooms and travel packages. Revenue Canada - the Canadian IRS - compares it to the European value-added tax, for which rebates are available to foreign visitors.
BUSINESS
February 11, 2002 | By Marcia Gelbart INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Almost 1.5 million foreigners toured Washington in 2000. Boston snagged 1.3 million. Atlanta lured 700,000. Philadelphia? It drew about 390,000 - more international travelers than those who walked the streets of Detroit, but fewer than those who stopped in Houston. In spite of being the nation's birthplace as well as its fifth-largest city, Philadelphia for years has been losing the race to snatch up tourism dollars from abroad. Twenty U.S. cities counted more foreign visitors than Philadelphia in 2000, the most recent year for which data is available.
NEWS
January 1, 1997 | By Heather Dewar and Paul Rogers, INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
The federal government has decided to sharply limit controversial aircraft tours in Grand Canyon National Park and ban them completely in Rocky Mountain National Park. The restrictions, announced yesterday by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Interior Department, drew immediate threats of lawsuits from air tour operators who say they're too tough and from conservationists who say they're not strict enough. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said he was "delighted" by the Rocky Mountain ban, which stops tour operators from overflights.
NEWS
April 3, 2008
AS HBO's new miniseries "John Adams" chronicles the life of one of our Founding Fathers, it provides a great glimpse into the process of creating a nation: patriots coming together to debate, argue and, in the end, find consensus. The show is also a good reminder of something we who live here take for granted: What a sacred place Independence Mall is. So the squabbles and apparent unholy alliances involving the National Park Service, Independence Visitor Center and tour operators recently highlighted by Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky would make the founders shudder.
BUSINESS
October 29, 1999 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau took its new Web site out for a spin yesterday, providing a preview to about 80 member hoteliers, restaurateurs, and other tourist business executives. The site, http://www.pcvb.org, is not quite ready for prime time. Some important parts of it are still under construction. And some of the real flashy interactive stuff won't be ready until January, when the bureau will begin marketing the site more aggressively to its chief targets - meeting and convention planners, tour operators, and the media.
NEWS
May 10, 1987 | By Stephen Birnbaum, Special to The Inquirer
I booked a package trip (air fare, hotel, meals and transfers) to Trinidad and Tobago. I was told I had to pay for my trip 30 days in advance, which I did. The tour company says its policy is not to send plane tickets and hotel vouchers to the client earlier than two weeks prior to the trip. Now, four days before my scheduled departure, my travel agent hasn't received a thing. The envelope probably was lost in the mail, but the tour company refuses to send duplicates. I don't know if my trip is on or off. Aren't tour operators required to send documents to the traveler at least 30 days in advance?
NEWS
April 30, 1995 | By Donald D. Groff, FOR THE INQUIRER
Georgia officials and 1996 Summer Olympics organizers have vowed to fight hotel price-gouging, but the first reports of it are in - even before tickets go on sale tomorrow for the Atlanta Games. At a recent travel trade show in Atlanta, foreign tour operators said they were quoted outrageous prices for some rooms - like $212 a night for the Econo Lodge Airport that normally charges $49, and $350 for the Holiday Inn on Kingston Court in Marietta, where the published rate for rooms with double beds is $79. Agents from such countries as England, Argentina, Estonia and Argentina said the rates came from local real estate companies or tour operators - not the hotel operators themselves.
NEWS
October 16, 1994 | By Donald D. Groff, FOR THE INQUIRER
Current rules limiting noisy tourist flights over the Grand Canyon aren't enough, the Interior Department said in a report to Congress, and the department is developing stricter regulations. In announcing the report this month, George Frampton Jr., assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, said a set of flight restrictions imposed six years ago - including development of air corridors and minimum altitudes - "doesn't even come close" to meeting noise requirements. He said that at best, only one-third of the park was quiet at least 70 percent of the time.
BUSINESS
September 6, 1993 | By William H. Sokolic, FOR THE INQUIRER
Eileen Ryan, a travel agent in Buffalo, thought it would be nice to book a bus tour of Valley Forge and other local attractions this fall. Rather than rack her brain figuring out what hotels to book, what restaurants to eat in, and what sights to see in an area she had little familiarity with, she let Loretta Wagner do the legwork. Wagner, a former director of tourism with the Valley Forge Travel and Visitors Center, knew all the right places. Wagner runs Legacy, "Tours of Distinction," which puts together package deals for tour operators like Ryan.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
April 29, 2013 | By Chico Harlan, Washington Post
SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea said Saturday that a detained American allegedly tried to "topple" its government and would soon be put on trial, a potential complication as Washington tries to ease tensions stemming from Pyongyang's recent weapons tests and threats of nuclear attack. Kenneth Bae, a tour operator from Washington state, is the sixth American detained by the North since 2009, but he faces more serious charges than the others. The North used several previous cases as bargaining chips with the United States, drawing rescue-mission visits from former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
TRAVEL
October 2, 2011
Every now and then we remember back when we thought tours were for old folks. No all-day bus rides for us, cooped up with a bunch of oldsters. No slow-poking it through yet another bland roadside attraction, following the guide with the flapping red flag. No looking at that mountain when we'd rather be up there on it. We wanted adventure, action, and most tours promised precious little of that. So we planned our trips ourselves and avoided group travel altogether. It used to be that only the most agile traveler could go to some of the more untamed areas of the world.
NEWS
July 7, 2011 | Inquirer Staff Report
Duck boats will be missing from the streets of Philadelphia today as the city marks one year since the deadly crash on the Delaware River that killed two Hungarian tourists. The parents of the two victims - Dora Schwendtner, 16 and Szabolcs Prem, 20 - in the meantime are asking why duck boats are still allowed to operate at all in Philadelphia. In a joint column in today's Daily News, Aniko Takacs and Sandor Prem said, "We've been living that year in the grasp of sorrow, haunted by painful memories and questions.
NEWS
May 15, 2011 | By Matt Ford, Associated Press
CAIRO - U.S. tour operators and Egyptian officials are hoping to convince hesitant international travelers that Egypt is safe and stable enough to resume large-scale tourism. A delegation of representatives from the U.S. tourism industry visited the country over Easter weekend, meeting with officials from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the U.S. Embassy. Malaka Hilton, CEO of Admiral Travel International Inc., based in Sarasota, Fla., said 90 percent of her company's trips to Egypt had been canceled since the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.
NEWS
February 13, 2011 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK - In a big city - New York qualifies - there are plenty of tours. Someone will guide you through the highlights of Central Park, which you would expect. Someone will just as readily lead you to the best cupcake bakeries, which you would not. So my first reaction on hearing about a new bus tour called The Ride is a skeptic's chuckle. A "new" bus tour (ho . . .) of midtown Manhattan (. . . hum). Even so, I click on the website. It turns out that this is not your ancestors' 1950s-era bus tour, a model poked and prodded over the decades, but largely intact.
NEWS
January 13, 2011 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
THERE I WAS on Tuesday, poking around the American Bus Association's trade show at the Convention Center, when I spied a rack of materials promoting Philly's visitor attractions. Displayed amidst the brochures and pamphlets was a glossy, blue-and-green flyer. Its banner read, "Inter-Quacktive fun for Groups of all Ages!" I figured that the flyer belonged to Ride the Ducks, since anything in this city containing the word "quack" is often associated with the amphibious-tour company.
NEWS
November 18, 2010 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
BACK IN AUGUST, Jonathan Bari asked Gov. Rendell for minutes, memos and documents related to board meetings at the Independence Visitor Center. Since Rendell has a representative, William Graham IV, on the IVC board, Bari figured the records were public. Rendell refused the request. So Bari appealed to the state's Office of Open Records, which determined in September that the documents should be released. Bari hoped, after reviewing the paperwork, that he might finally learn why his business, the Constitutional Walking Tour, has for years been all but banned from marketing itself at the IVC. Despite the Office of Open Records order, Bari has not received the records.
NEWS
October 18, 2008
Philadelphia tour guides would be foolish to wing it, just because they've been given a six- month reprieve on taking city-ordered tests to certify that paid guides know their history. Even with the tests under a pending federal legal challenge, the court-imposed delay doesn't mean tour guides have a license to dabble in more of the fanciful storytelling that prompted city officials to order that guides be certified. The injunction issued last week by U.S. District Judge Jan E. Dubois instead offers tour operators a little more breathing room.
NEWS
July 3, 2008 | By Joseph A. Gambardello, Inquirer Staff Writer
An unconstitutional law in the birthplace of the Constitution? There is indeed, claim three tour guides who have taken issue with City Council's attempt to ensure that they know their history. The guides filed a federal lawsuit yesterday that seeks to knock down a new city tour-guide licensing law. Brought with the backing of some tour operators, the suit argues that the law, which takes effect Oct. 13 and imposes fines of up to $300, violates tour guides' First Amendment free-speech rights.
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