Week in Review – April 12, 2013

caribbean beachTour operators topped the news this week with a Wednesday afternoon bombshell: American Express is selling Travel Impressions to Apple Leisure Group. The deal includes American Express’ global tour operator business, which includes Travel Impressions and American Express Vacations International. Travel Impressions will continue to operate its business under its existing brand.

Agent response on our Facebook page showed trepidation about what the move mean for the company. Barbara Roy Kittler of Squaw Peak Travel says, “Let’s hope that they don't destroy Travel Impressions!

Julie Brogan and Danielle Carlson chimed in, saying, “I agree with Barbara!”

The news of the sale comes as the travel industry starts looking toward the summer – a story from last Friday, “Top 10 U.S. National Parks,” really struck a chord on our site, perhaps due to a longing for the great outdoors. This week also saw the release of our cover story, “Upgrading the Summer Vacation” – in case you missed it, we tried something a little different with this cover story, spotlighting a Summer Vacation a Day on our Facebook and Pinterest pages. Let us know what you think!

In cruise news, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ new flagship, the Europa 2, is moving toward completion. Our cruise editor took the opportunity to catch up with Julian Pfitzner, the ship’s director of product development, for a quick chat on what agents can expect from the ship and how the line is using it to target a younger demographic.

Our Caribbean editor was also traveling this week, to Martinique, where he attended the ceremony to kick off the first direct flights to Fort-de-France from the mainland. Other big news: the Martinique Promotion Bureau for the Americas is in discussions with Royal Caribbean for a call by the line’s new Quantum of the Seas, and Travel Impressions is adding the island to its portfolio.

Finally, we’ve been continuing to shine the spotlight on how agents can take advantage of social media, now with our “Most Social Travel Advisor” feature. If you’re at the top of the field when it comes to working with online social communities, don’t forget to nominate yourself – you could be featured on Travel Agent.

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, tips and trends.