Attacks claim a Steamboat travel agency |

Attacks claim a Steamboat travel agency

— The double whammy of an economic recession and the Sept. 11 terrorism attacks has claimed a Steamboat Springs travel agency.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel has announced it intends to close Dec. 1.

President and agency manager Lianne Pyle said the demise of her business is due more to Americans’ reluctance to travel than it is to the trend of airlines reducing the commissions they pay travel agents for booking airline travel.

“After Sept. 11 we had a 48 percent drop in phone calls and a lot of cancellations,” Pyle said. “We’ve had some very significant cancellations of big, big trips for the future.”

The Carlson Wagonlit office in Steamboat is affiliated with a large chain of travel agencies, but it was an independent business wholly owned by Pyle and her partner, Nancy Barnes, who had a 10 percent interest in the agency.

Pyle and Barnes opened the agency at 908 Lincoln Avenue in November 1998. Pyle said that had her business been better established it might have weathered recent economic upheaval in the travel industry. But she couldn’t see how it could emerge from its present difficulties.

“We’re still a small business and a relatively new business,” Pyle said. “We’ve had a lot of things happen we’ve been unable to sustain. We won’t get through it.”

Pyle, who intends to remain in Steamboat, said the decision to close has been difficult for her.

“My business is an extension of myself and my home,” she said. She believes travel agencies will continue to offer vital services to the public in the future. She said she and Barnes are proud of their staff and the way they conducted business. She said they have a strong personal commitment to winding up their business in an orderly fashion and assisting their existing clients.

Two of the travel agents who worked at Carlson Wagonlit in Steamboat, Charlene Regan and Sandy Schwindy, plan to continue to offer professional travel services from a home office.

Pyle and her colleagues welcome calls from concerned customers at 879-5160.

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