Costa Crociere, the number one cruise line in Italy and Europe, has announced the biggest and most innovative trade incentivization and client loyalty program ever launched in the tourism industry in Italy.

The operation is part of the recently announced partnership between Costa Crociere and Fiat: 500 exclusive numbered edition Fiat 500s, the new model produced by the Italian manufacturer and the most sought after car of the year, will be offered as prizes to reward the best Italian travel agents over the next 2 years.  All of the 10,000-plus travel agents that currently collaborate with Costa will be eligible to participate in this unique and totally original operation that will further consolidate the Company’s position of leadership in Italy: the Costa brand is recognized by 98% of Italians.

The 500 limited edition Fiat 500s have been specially designed by the Fiat Style Center as a tribute to Costa Crociere.  In effect, they feature the colors and symbols of the Company, notably the trademark yellow funnel that has graced all the ships in Costa's historic fleet since 1948.  The new Fiat 500 has been chosen for this operation because it is the symbol of an Italian success story based on innovation and forward thinking, just like Costa cruises:  launched in July, exactly 50 years after the introduction of the first edition of the model, which has become a veritable Italian motoring and cultural icon symbolizing an entire era, the new 500 has attracted critical acclaim, is one of 2007's best-selling cars, and is also the favorite among Italian celebrities, with many choosing their own personalized versions.

“The operation we’re unveiling today is unprecedented in Italian tourism, and it will allow us to consolidate our position of leadership in Italy,” announced Costa Crociere President Gianni Onorato.  “2007 has been a historic year for us, thanks to the great contribution of all our Italian travel agents, who have helped us to achieve the European record of 1 million Guest bookings.  We want to continue to grow together with them in the years to come, starting in 2008, when we expect to have a further substantial increase in our sales.  For an operation of this importance we have chosen an Italian brand which, in terms of tradition, prestige and popularity, is a perfect match for Costa Crociere, and a car that is a veritable trendsetter, epitomizing Italian style worldwide, just like our cruises.”

All of the 10,000-plus travel agents in Italy will be able to take part in the competition, with all the 500 Fiats on offer awarded according to the same mechanism.  The contest will be nationwide with categories in each of Costa Crociere’s 9 sales areas.  The rankings for the first year will be based on the results for the period ending June 30, 2008; the second year will reward the best performers in the 12 months ending June 30, 2009.  Each travel agent will be able check their ranking at, Costa’s website dedicated to the trade.  The winners will receive one of the exclusive Fiat 500s at “zero cost” and “all-inclusive” for 2 full years (the first year paid for in full by Costa Crociere and the second subject to the attainment of new objectives).  A 24-month rental agreement will be drawn up for each car, covering:  vehicle registration and on-the-road costs; third party liability, fire & theft, and “all risks” insurance; ordinary and extraordinary maintenance; annual registration fees; breakdown cover (roadside repair or towage); and claims handling.

More details about the program will be announced at the forthcoming edition of “Protagonisti del mare” (Champions of the Sea), the annual event arranged for Costa Crociere’s best travel agents, which will be held on board the Costa Mediterranea on November 27.

Costa Crociere’s “Operation 500 Fiat 500s” will also be promoted by a communication campaign with a dedicated section at, flyers and brochures presenting the project, a campaign in the trade press, a video clip and a launch event coinciding with the delivery of the first vehicles in 2008.