Booking day trips at Naples just got easier
September 14, 2006
NAPLES, Italy — Petty Officer 2nd Class Acelia McGaffee’s job in security at Naval Support Activity Naples means she often can’t plan for weekend excursions until the last minute.
With the booking offices closed by late Friday afternoon, she is often forced to miss out on a trip to Rome or to the beaches of Baia, she said.
That should change, now that the Naples Morale, Welfare and Recreation office of Information, Tours and Travel have made it possible to book scheduled day trips via the Internet.
“I think it’s wonderful, for the convenience alone,” said the 33-year-old master-at-arms.
Travelers now no longer need to stop by or call the ITT office to reserve a spot on one of the roughly 45 day trips the office offers each month.
For now, the service is available only for ITT trips originating from the Naples office, and only for day trips, said Carl Cardenas, the ITT director.
The online booking option will grow in two ways: eventually to include noncomplicated extended trips and eventually being made available by other ITT offices in Europe, such as in Rota, Spain, and Sigonella, Sicily, said Chris Robus, the regional MWR program director.
“This is the first phase of a much grander project,” he said. Expanded services should be available by mid- to late-December.
Travelers still will have to make in-person reservations for complicated trips, like those where the destination country requires an entry visa, or those where travelers want to pay in installments instead of in full.
ITT will spend about $5,000 a year to provide customers with the online service. But for travelers, there will be no additional charge to book a trip via the Internet.
For security reasons, no credit card or Social Security numbers will be maintained in a file, so patrons who book online will need to print receipts to show proof of purchase.
While online booking and payment is nothing new to the travel industry, officials here had to find a way to safely circumvent Navy security and firewall protections to make the service available, Robus said.
MWR also has introduced an option to let people sign up for MWR activities — youth sports, outdoor recreational activities, single sailor programs or golf tournaments — via the Internet instead of in person, Robus said. The option benefits those who sign up for more than one program throughout the year, for example.
“We’re looking to cut the red tape and cut out the paperwork,” he said.
To register with MWR or book a day trip via the Internet, visit: www.mwritt.org, and then click on the Naples site.