By Roger Bray
The UK's tourist authority may soon launch a quality grading system for the country's meetings and conference facilities.
Tom Wright, chief executive of Visit Britain, said: “One area we will be looking at in the longer term is the services and standards of business venues. There are some schemes out there already but would seek to build on those.”
Mr Wright was speaking at the Association of British Travel Agents' (ABTA) annual convention in Orlando, Florida. He told delegates: “We are currently researching what consumers need from grading schemes and that includes business consumers.
“So far we have not looked specifically at the business travel sector but I am sure that will be part of our future strategy.”
He said Visit Britain was also reviewing how to grade budget hotels.
“Some have ratings at the moment but we have to decide whether we should rate them as three star properties within the overall scheme or put them into a completely separate category,” he said.
The organisation believes it is imperative that business and other travelers should know that a three star hotel in Brighton, for example, will offers the same quality as a three star hotel in Aberdeen.
Four ready to bid for Amadeus stake
Four companies are lined up to make a bid for a stake in Amadeus, the GDS and IT provider.
The Madrid-based company named the four bidders as UK venture capitalist BC Partners and Cinven and US companies Carlyle and Citigroup Venture Capital. The last already own Amadeus's GDS rival Worldspan.
The four are likely to make their bids either by the end of this year or in early 2005.
What is for sale is the 46% stake currently held in the company by three airlines, Air France (23%) Lufthansa (5%)and Iberia (18%).
All three airlines announced they were ready to sell last summer but there were indications last week that Air France might be having second thoughts.
However the chairman of Iberia, Fernando Conte has said he expects the sale to be completed by next spring.