Last updated: 01:50 AM ET, Mon October 29 2012

Central Holidays Hosts Agents on Fam Trip to Italy

Vacation Packages | Central Holidays | July 20, 2011

Tour operator to Italy and the Mediterranean, Central Holidays continues to enhance its training programs for traditional and home-based travel agents with more in-destination familiarization opportunities than ever. The company recently hosted nearly 200 travel agents on a variety of familiarization trips in cooperation with the Italian tourist offices of Piedmont, Como, Brescia and Mantova.

"At Central Holidays, we truly feel that there is no better way to acquire insight about a destination than experiencing it hands-on," said Fred Berardo, chairman and CEO. "We are thrilled to further demonstrate our commitment to the travel agent community by making it easier than ever for them to acquire insight about the destinations we so passionately serve via this highly effective form of training."

Working closely with the various tourist offices of the regions showcased on each itinerary, Central Holidays chartered a NEOS 767 that traveled from New York's JFK to Milan, Italy, and back from June 19 to 24. Travel agents then divided into seven groups to explore and enjoy the unique itineraries developed for them by Central Holidays' destination specialists. The groups were accompanied by seven Central Holidays staff including several of the company's top-level executives -- President and CEO Fred Berardo, Chief Operating Officer Gianni Miradoli, Director of Marketing Ester Lorusso, and Vice President of Groups Department Sergio Bigini.

Four of the groups, including approximately 150 agents and 10 travel journalists, participated in an extensive program throughout the blossoming region of Piemonte where Central Holidays announced an alliance with the town of Sordevolo. As part of the alliance, Central Holidays has been named the key tour operator partner for upcoming events of the acclaimed "Passione Di Cristo" of Sordevolo, the renowned passion play (similar to Germany's Oberammergau) performed every five years in Sordevolo, with its next events in 2015, four times a week from June through September. During the alliance announcement event, Central Holidays officially unveiled its newest DVD, showcasing the Passion of Christ in Sordevolo that travel agents, group planners and religious group leaders can request as a sales support tool. Additionally, the town of Sordevolo's mayor and minister of tourism announced the town's commitment to creating a strong presence in the U.S., Canada, Central America and South America and their plan to establish a dedicated office to service these markets.

Fam participants to Piedmont were able to experience the virtually limitless range of features that this emerging travel destination offers, including amazing gastronomy, from its famed wines Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Asti to delicious regional cuisine including its acclaimed white truffles, hazelnuts, chocolate, cheeses, rice varieties and more; captivating religious and pilgrimage sites such as Sordevolo and the Sanctuary of Oropa with its iconic Black Madonna; and cultural and experiential offerings including cooking class programs, wine tastings in centuries old cellars, opportunities to explore castles, museums, and more.

"Our goal is to make doing business with Central Holidays easy and profitable for agents, as such, we offer an ongoing range of training opportunities and a comprehensive array of travel programs -- all commissionable to agents," said Berardo. "As we continue to deliver the high-quality, value-packed travel programs that fulfill your travelers' wishes, our product development team is busy developing and introducing new programs in line with feedback from customers and industry trends, and aggressively negotiating with suppliers to help agents boost bookings.”

Beyond the recent trips, Central Holidays coordinates a number of other familiarization opportunities for agents each year. Agents can look forward to hearing about Central Holidays' upcoming educational familiarization trips to Italy and Greece, Greece, Turkey, Spain, European River Cruises, and more. The company’s dedicated Travel Agent Sales Team also conducts a series webinars online and seminars for travel agents in cities across the U.S., and participates in travel industry trade shows to help agents gain the most knowledge about the destinations they offer, benefits of working with Central Holidays, and ways they can maximize their earnings.

Founded in 1972, Central Holidays offers superior travel programs, value and service to enchanting destinations throughout Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, plus dozens of Mediterranean and European river cruise itineraries and worldwide ski programs. For more information, call 800-935-5000 or visit www.centralholidays.com.

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