Biden Administration Approves $6 billion for Two California Rail Projects
Dec. 6, 2023—The Biden Administration has awarded $6 billion in funding via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for the state’s high-speed rail project in the Central Valley and to create a connection between California and Southern Nevada. This is the largest grant the Authority has ever received.
Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a $3.07 investment for a 171-mile route connecting Merced to Bakersfield, expected to be in operation between 2030 and 2033 and will be the world’s first solar-powered high-speed rail line. The project’s end goal is to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles via high-speed rail.
Additionally, $3 billion has been granted to the 218-mile Brightline West project from Las Vegas to Southern California, scheduled to begin operation by the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
“The dream of American high-speed rail is about to become reality,” said U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition Co-Chair Ray LaHood. “We greatly appreciate the commitment of the Biden Administration, our Coalition members and many others who have worked hard to spark America’s high-speed rail revolution.”
Omni Hotels & Resorts and Groups360 Expand Instant Group Booking
Dec. 5, 2023—Today, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Groups360, a company that offers planners simple group booking with their integrated technology solution GroupSync, announced the expansion of GroupSync Instant booking at all Omni properties across the U.S. and Canada. With this expansion, event organizers can book 10-25 guest rooms for groups directly online in a single transaction. Automation and direct data integration provide real-time group rates and room availability, simplifying a formerly complex and time-consuming process. Group travel organizers and planners can sign up for a free Groups360 account on groupsync.com.
Alaska Airlines Plans to Buy Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 Billion Deal
Dec. 4, 2023—On Sunday, Dec. 3, Alaska Airlines announced an agreement to buy Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal, in cash and stock. The companies agreed that Alaska will pay $18 per each share of Hawaiian Airlines, after the latter company’s stock closed the Friday prior at $4.36, and had earlier lost over half its value throughout the year.
The deal is still subject to approval by federal regulators, but officials from both companies maintain that it would create a stronger company, as Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines have few overlapping routes.
Notably, this merger would maintain each airline’s individual brands, unusual for a merger of this kind. Though the brands of each airline would remain the same, both would be integrated into one operating platform. The merger would also expand flights between Honolulu and a number of continental U.S. as well as international locations.
VISIT DENVER Achieves EIC’s Sustainability Event Standards Certification
The EIC Sustainable Event Standards are a collection of eight specific standards for advancing environmental and social responsibility in the events industry, with four levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Destination is one of the eight standards. They were created by the EIC Sustainability Committee in partnership with industry professionals and sustainability leaders. The standards assess performance criteria in the areas of organizational management, marketing, communications and engagement, climate action, water management, materials and circularity, supply chain management, diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility and social impact.
Incentive Research Foundation Elects Officers for 2024
Nov. 28, 2023—The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), which funds and promotes scientific research, awareness and application of motivation and incentives in global business and industries, has announced appointments to its 2024 Executive Committee and Board of Trustees. The term will begin Jan. 1, 2024. The Board of Trustees represents a cross section of the incentives, rewards and recognition industry, and works to further IRF’s mission to advance research and education that illuminate the power of incentive and motivational programs.
Appointments to the IRF Executive Committee are:
- Chair: Susan Adams, Vice President, Engagement Strategy & Corporate Services, Next Level Performance
- Chair Elect: Morgan Crain, Senior Program Manager, Reward and Recognition, Rubrik
- Treasurer & Secretary: Chris Johnson, Director – Global Travel, Enterprise Events, and Sports Partnerships, Land O’Lakes
- Member at Large: Kelsey Nicol, Director of Business Development, North America, Mutika, an Experience Management Company
- Immediate Past Chair: Mark Alt, Vice President, Maritz
Appointments to The Board of Trustees are:
- Cosimo Bruzzese, Vice President of Business Development, Global Sales, PRA
- Min Choi, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Germania Insurance
- Karen Devine, CEO & Founder, 3D Cruise Partners
- Rudy Garza, Vice President of Operations, Brightspot Incentives & Events
- David Gould, Managing Director, Europe, 360 Insights
- Sarah Haines, Senior Vice President Event Management, ITA Group
- Rutger Hoorn, Vice President, Global Sales & Strategic Partnerships, Ovation Global DMC
- Patricia Kerr, AVP, Meeting & Event Management, Nationwide
- Jennifer O’Mara, Account Director, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
- Lynn Randall, Randall Insights
- Amy Rippelmeyer, Global Luxury Account Executive, Marriott International Luxury Brands
- Richelle (Taylor) Suver, Chief Revenue Officer, One10
- Bich-Lien Kaldahl will continue to serve as Airline Advisor to the Board of Trustees
President Bill Clinton and 67th Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Will Speak at PCMA Convening Leaders 2024
Nov. 20, 2023—At PCMA‘s flagship education and networking event Convening Leaders 2024, which will take place at the San Diego Convention Center from January 7-10, 2024, President Bill Clinton and 67th Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will open day two, January 9, in a morning session conversation. They will deliver an exploration of leadership, international relations, the global economy and the important role meetings and events play in supporting the free exchange of ideas and democracy.
PCMA and CEMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat, CAE, says, “Over the years, PCMA has had the pleasure to welcome many incredible speakers for convening leaders. I am absolutely delighted to welcome President Clinton and Secretary Clinton with a platform to share their reflections on pivotal moments in history, discuss pressing global challenges and illustrate the path towards an inclusive, sustainable future for all.”
EIC Opens Registration for CMP Advance 2024
Nov. 20, 2023—The Events Industry Council (EIC) has opened registration for the CMP Advance 2024, a two-day networking and learning event that will be held at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, Canada from March 11-13.
The event, centered around the CMP Domains organized within EIC’s pillars of People, Planet and Purpose, is open exclusively to CMPs. There, attendees will take part in peer-to-peer learning, impactful learning sessions on how to deliver tangible take-home value at events and see keynote speeches from industry innovators. By attending CMP Advance, attendees can earn CE credits towards their recertification.
“CMP Advance brings together visionary leaders and professionals who are passionate about our industry, our future and the economic and social impact spurred by events worldwide,” says EIC CEO Amy Calvert. “This is an important annual opportunity for the CMP community to meet, connect and continue their professional growth journey.”
Omni Hotels & Resorts Enhances Select Guest Loyalty Program
Nov. 16, 2023—Omni Hotels & Resorts has announced a 2024 relaunch of their Select Guest Loyalty Program with numerous enhancements aimed to help guests achieve and retain Select Guest Status more quickly and easily. Select Guests already earn rewards, or Omni Credits for each night of their stay, and earn a free night at any Omni property for 100 Omni Credits. In addition to earning rewards for each night of their stay, loyalty members will now also earn rewards every time they dine at an on-site restaurant, play a round of golf, visit the spa, or charge select items to their room.
The relaunch also introduces a redesigned tier system, progressing from Member, to Insider, to Champion, to Icon Status. Each subsequent tier offers increasing levels of recognition, benefits and free nights. Select guest status will be determined by a member’s on-property spend accumulated each calendar year. The Status tier a member achieves by the end of 2023 will be honored for 2024.
AHLA Survey Shows Positive Trends for Hotels, and Fuels Calls for Congressional Measures to Help Hire More Workers
Nov. 16, 2023—In September, a survey of 4,006 U.S. adults, commissioned by AHLA and conducted by Morning Consult, showed numerous conclusions that hotels are seeing business on the rise. 81% of those surveyed say that hotels are their top lodging choice. 55% of respondents who expect to travel for leisure during the last three months of 2023 plan to say in a hotel, and 68% of respondents whose jobs involve travel say that they are likely to travel overnight for business during the last three months of 2023—a 9% rise from 2022. 45% of those surveyed say they are more likely to stay in a hotel this year in comparison to last year.
All of these responses show rising business for hotels, following some years of pandemic turmoil. 71% of respondents say that their likelihood of staying in a hotel today is the same as prior to the pandemic.
As hotel business returns to, and in some cases surpasses, pre-pandemic levels, the industry’s labor levels do not match this rise. Indeed shows there are nearly 85,000 open hotel jobs across the nation. In September, the national average hotel wages were $23.60/hour, and since the pandemic, hotel wages have increased at a rate of +24.6%, in comparison to a rise of +18.8% for average wages throughout the general economy.
AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers says that there are a number of steps Congress can take to address workforce challenges, including establishing an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act. “Hotels are going above and beyond to take excellent care of guests as travel approaches pre-COVID levels, and this survey underscores that,” he says. “To continue growing, [U.S. hotels] need to hire more people, but a national shortage of workers is preventing hotels from regaining all the jobs we lost to the pandemic.”
Walt Disney World Resort Fiscal Year 2022 Shows Major Economic Impact
Nov. 14, 2023—According to a new study recently announced by Oxford Economics, Walt Disney World Resort generated $40 billion in economic impact across its home state of Florida and over 25 million jobs in fiscal year 2022.
As one of the world’s most visited vacation destinations, its not shocking that Disney makes a massive contribution to Florida’s overall economy and tourism and small business sectors. When the numbers are broken down, the real impact comes to light. Walt Disney World Resort’s workforce holds one out of every 32 jobs in the state. It also generated $6.6 billion in tax revenue, including $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax revenue. This revenue benefits local schools, public safety, law enforcement, parks, roadways and more throughout Central Florida. And over 8,500 small businesses across the country are contracted by The Walt Disney Company to supply products and services to Walt Disney World, including 2,500 based in Florida.
President of Walt Disney World Resort Jeff Vahle says, “The numbers speak for themselves on why Disney is so important to fueling jobs, the economy and tourism throughout our region, and the future investments we’re looking to make will continue to provide even more opportunities for Floridians.”
AIME 2024 Knowledge Program Theme Addresses “The 4Ps of GLOCALISATION”
Nov. 14, 2023—The Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) gears up for its 2024 event, which will be hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC) in Australia from Feb. 19 to 21, 2024. AIME has announced details of its Knowledge Program, based on this year’s theme of “The 4Ps of GLOCALISATION,” which is inspired by the AIME global community’s goal of increasing harmony between global insights and local nuances. These 4 P’s are People, Planet, Purpose and Profit.
Attendees will attend breakout sessions throughout the event to learn about aligning a “glocalisation” mindset with the 4 P’s to achieve deeper brand engagement and sustainable business success. At the event, The Ideas Academy will serve as an intimate space for short, thought-provoking panel discussions and sessions, and will run continuously on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and Wednesday, Feb. 21.
The Knowledge Program will launch on the first day of the event and will be hosted by BEAM Founder and Chief Engager and 2024 AIMEbassador El Kwang. AIME’s speaker bureau partners Saxton Speakers Bureau and ICMI Speakers and Entertainers will be joined by two keynote speakers: Lisa Ronson, an award-winning marketing executive well-versed in building strong consumer brands, leading high-performance teams and growing retail sales and market share; and Sebastian Terry, bestselling author, TV host and founder of the 100 Things movement, who will share how people can integrate individual evolution with professional development.
Terry says, “To me, Glocalisation is the idea that the foundation to create a thriving and connected community is ensuring that we empower individuals and local teams to become the best version of themselves within a like-minded network.”
Brightline’s “Bright Friday” Offers Ease Amidst High AAA Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
Nov. 14, 2023—On Monday, AAA released their annual Thanksgiving Travel Forecast which showed that Florida highways and airports will be the busiest in the nation. In metro areas, travel time is expected to take 80% longer than normal.
However, the new intercity rail servicing Florida cities, Brightline, offers a “Bright Friday” package that can make Thanksgiving travel far easier for those who choose to travel around the holiday. The report’s top three domestic holiday travel destinations, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, are all connected by Brightline.
The “Bright Friday” deals offer one-way adult fares between Orlando and South Florida starting at $59, and child fares starting at $29 with the purchase of an adult ticket. On Thanksgiving day, travel fares between Orlando and South Florida will remain at a flat rate of $39 for adults and starting at $19 for children. Customers can book round trip travel under this deal by booking each trip separately. The “Bright Friday” deal is available for booking from now until Nov. 27, for travel from now until Feb. 29, 2024.
One10 and Cedara Partner to Support Sustainability and a Path to Net Zero
Nov. 14, 2023—Leader in enterprise-level performance improvement solutions through travel, events experiential and marketing services, One10 has announced a strategic partnership with carbon intelligence platform Cedara. This collaboration aims to power One10’s path to net zero through addressing accurate carbon measurement and implementing reduction strategies. Cedara supports the industry initiative Ad Net Zero, which places reducing emissions from events as one of its key actions.
The partnership with Cedara allows One10 to comprehensively map its corporate carbon footprint and verify its GHG (greenhouse gas) inventory with KERAMIDA, a CDP Gold Accredited Solutions Provider.
CEO of One10 Bob Miller says, “This partnership will enable us to provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of the carbon footprint associated with their event, empowering them to take meaningful steps towards a greener future.”
CEO and Co-Founder of Cedara David Shaw says, “One10 has a large presence in travel and events management, and we are delighted that they chose Cedara to help reduce their emissions and make their events more environmentally friendly.
“This partnership exemplifies One10’s commitment towards sustainability not only across travel and events, but also their incentives & recognition and marketing services solutions. We look forward to working with One10 to make a positive impact on the planet.”
With the help of Cedara’s carbon measurement and reduction solutions, One10 clients will have the ability to reduce their environmental impact, enhance their corporate social responsibility profiles and engage with sustainability-minded stakeholders.
Concord Hospitality joins Feed the Children to Deliver Meals Across North America
Nov. 13, 2023 — Employees from Concord Hospitality hotels all over the country joined together on their 15th annual “Share Day” to donate 6,000 volunteer hours and 235,800 meals to those in need through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program and its partnership with Feed the Children. In addition, NBA hall of famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson was also a contributor. This collaboration resulted in 3,200 families receiving meals by the end of last weekend.
“With a culture built on quality, integrity, community, profitability and fun, Concord strives to exercise its core values through our annual share Dar providing our team members with the opportunity to give back in the communities where they live and work,” says Debra Punke, chief human resources officer.
Culinary and Bartenders Union Reach Tentative Deal with MGM Resorts International
Nov. 9, 2023—After nearly seven months of negotiations, the Culinary Union and Bartenders Unions have announced a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract with MGM International just 24 hours before the strike deadline. Culinary and Bartenders Union members will now no longer be striking on Nov. 10, 2023, as previously announced.
Over 24,000 of MGM Resorts International employees in Las Vegas, at eight MGM International Resorts casino resorts, including Aria, Bellagio, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Park MGM, would receive the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Culinary Union. In addition, guest room attendants would receive workload reductions and mandated daily room cleaning. Other negotiated benefits include increased safety protections for workers on the job, expanded technology contract language, extended recall rights and the right for unionized workers to support non-unionized restaurant workers seeking to unionize.
Further details are not yet available to allow unionized workers to first vote on whether or not to accept the contract. The membership will soon hold a ratification vote, the exact date of which is yet to be determined.
EIC Announces CMP Scholarships
Nov. 8, 2023—The Events Industry Council (EIC) just last week announced a new scholarship program to support industry professionals seeking to earn the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. This designation is globally recognized as a badge of excellence for leading event professionals. Come January 2024, EIC will award five scholarships. Four types of scholarships will be offered: the CMP Scholarship, the CMP-HC Scholarship, the CMP Recertification Scholarship and the CMP-HC Recertification Scholarship.
Applications will be accepted until Dec. 1, 2023. Applicants are required to have received confirmation of eligibility to sit for the CMP or be recertified before applying. Each applicant must fill out an online application and submit a 1,000 word essay and one letter of recommendation. Applicants must also submit proof of eligibility, details of which are included on the scholarship information page under the FAQs, separated by the different scholarships offered for the CMP, the CMP-HC and recertification. Three CMP Governance Commission members will then grade applications through a blind review.
The CMP scholarship award will cover the application fee, exam fee and study books, and the CMP-HC scholarship will cover the CMP-HC application fee and exam fee. Awardees must take the exam within one year of approval notification.
Albany Convention Center Authority Releases Economic Impact Report
Nov. 8, 2023—The Albany Convention Center Authority (ACCA) releases the latest statistical findings in the economic impact of events hosted at the Albany Capital Center (ACC). The report showed a track record of achievement and a successful rise in attendee numbers, volume of events, revenue generation and more following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its opening in March 2017, the Albany Capital Center has hostel 928 events, which together generated spending over $77 million, with $8 million sales tax generated between New York State and Albany County. The organization also made clear its commitment to equal opportunity employment, reporting a combined 58% participation of women and people of minority groups in its workforce.
General Manager of the Albany Capital Center, Shannon Licygiewicz, says, “Since we opened our doors, it has become clear that the ACC fills a pivotal role in our community and makes critical contributions to Albany’s economic development…It is a great privilege for me to lead this talented team into a new era, where we will continue to deliver events that captivate our attendees and provide high-quality facility management services from ASM Global that consistently surpass expectations.”
ACVB Organizes Thanksgiving Food Drive to Support Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency
Nov. 8, 2023—The staff at the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently organized a Thanksgiving food drive to support Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (ACSS). The ACSS empowers men and women who have experience homelessness and financial vulnerability through workforce readiness training, job placement and life stabilization services.
New Orleans & Company Musician Database Officially Launches
Nov. 8, 2023—The official tourism and hospitality destination sales, marketing and trade organization for the city of New Orleans, New Orleans & Company, has partnered with globally-acclaimed music platform WWOZ to officially launch the New Orleans & Company Musician Database. The database debuted on Nov. 7, 2023, and provides an online compendium of over 200 New Orleans musicians.
Event organizers seeking live music and talented musicians for their New Orleans events now have access to a comprehensive resource where they can see bios, images, Spotify playlists, live performance schedules and personal URLs of these local musicians. The database will continue to evolve, welcoming new artists as they enter the New Orleans music scene. Planners can stay up-to-date with information about local artists as they organize events and feature these musicians.
Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta Announces Partnership with CorePower Yoga
Nov. 6, 2023—Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta has announced a new partnership with CorePower Yoga in order to improve the wellness experience for guests at small meetings and events. Beginning in November and running through March, Hyatt Centric Buckhead with offer “Mindful Meditation” as an exclusive add-on.
“This collaboration with CorePower Yoga perfectly aligns with the mindfulness ethos that defines Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta. We are thrilled to expand our partnership with CorePower Yoga, providing guests a rejuvenating and relaxing experience during their meetings, even during the winter,” said Devraj Gorsia, General Manager of Hyatt Centric Buckhead Atlanta.
The guided sessions, that last between 15 and 30 minutes, offer guests postures for stretching and controlled breathing.
Frontier Airlines Releases 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report
Oct. 31, 2023—Frontier Airlines released its Environmental, Social and Governance Report for 2022 today, which demonstrates their continued commitment to environmental stewardship, team-member diversity and well-being, community engagement and governance.
The report showed that they conserved an estimate of 135 million gallons of fuel in 2022 by operating the youngest, most fuel-efficient fleet in North America, offering 102 available seat miles per gallon, installing 30% lighter Recaro seats and employing the latest engine technology in their Airbus A320neo family aircraft. They also are committed to purchasing millions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and transitioning to biodegradable in-flight products.
The report also shows their commitment creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for employees and for customers. They have worked to provide an à la carte pricing model so customers can access affordable flights. They also are partnered with aviation industry employee advocacy groups, operate a management trainee program—which sees 80% female participation—alongside a pilot cadet program for young pilots, establish business resource groups to support their company’s diversity and support crew members’ choice to participate in unions or collective bargaining.
“We strive to be the most environmentally sustainable airline in North America, which has led us to our current position as ‘America’s Greenest Airline,'” says CEO of Frontier Airlines Barry Biffle. “Furthermore, at Frontier, we believe ‘The Sky is for Everyone,’ a philosophy that extends to both our customers and our team members. Throughout this inaugural report, we aim to capture many of the initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to the pillars of ESG.”
GMCVB Annual Meeting Shows Strong Trend in Securing Meetings and Events
Oct. 30, 2023—At Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau‘s (GMCVB) annual meeting on Oct. 26, they shared how 2022/2023 fiscal year showed impressive success in securing meetings and conventions. From Oct. 2022 to Sept. 2023, the GMCVB sales team generated 3,280 leads for its hotel partners and a 56% surge in confirmed bookings. In the upcoming fiscal year, this trend is projected to continue with 446,000 room nights, which would be a 48% jump.
GMCVB President and CEO David Whitaker says, “We saw a resurgence of Greater Miami and Miami Beach as a top destination for conventions, securing an impressive 14 new major event bookings to convene at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Our marketing teams helped fuel substantial successes, including the launch of Find Your Miami and Miami Beach – Find Your Wave campaigns.”
The annual meeting saw attendance of over 750 people who learned about these trends and more of GMCVB’s many initiatives, including their continued commitment to a sustainable tourism industry.
Moscone Center Awarded LEED Platinum Certification
Oct. 27, 2023—Moscone Center in San Francisco, the city’s convention center, has achieved LEED Platinum certification for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance. This is the highest level of LEED certification developed by the U.S. Green Buildings Council. This award also makes San Francisco the only city to have the most advanced LEED Platinum certification for both its convention center and airport.
San Francisco Airport achieved LEED Platinum certification in 2022. Moscone Center is managed by ASM Global and has long demonstrated a commitment to sustainable practices and reduction of its carbon emissions per visitor.
“We have always centered sustainability in our operations and business practices, and LEED Platinum certification is a milestone achievement that demonstrates the success of these efforts,” said Ken Bukowski, Director of Convention Facilities for the City & County of San Francisco. “Sustainability is built into the fabric of San Francisco’s infrastructure and psyche, and with this certification we’re proud to carry on this commitment as we continue to lead the way toward a greener future.”
Next Phases of Maui Re-Opening Will Take Place November 1
Oct. 27, 2023—Mayor Richard Bissen announced on Monday that the phased re-opening of West Maui following the wildfires will resume on November 1 with a combination of phases two and three. This space will extend from Kahana to Ka’anapali. The first reopening phase began on October 8, extending from The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua to Kahana Villa. This phase system of re-opening was implemented to allow Maui residents time to return to work, reestablish needed childcare, provide for a deliberate housing needs project for the thousands in temporary shelter and more.
This decision arrives following extended discussions between the mayor’s Lāhainā Advisory Team, the American Red Cross and other partners as well as feedback from the local community. The announcement signals a moment for businesses and workers to prepare for a return to business.
MC&A Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Oct. 26, 2023—MC&A is a world-renowned destination and event management company in the Hawaiian islands specializing in English-speaking MICE markets. Founded in 1983, the company celebrated its 40th anniversary this past September.
President and CEO Edward Kina says, our sense of purpose and unity grounds us, advancing together as a cohesive ‘Ohana.'”
Over the past four decades, MC&A has established a reputation as a trusted expert destination management and event planning partner for everything from intimate corporate retreats to large conventions. In 2001, they expanded operations into the cruise business and remains the only company in Hawaii with a dedicated cruise ship department providing cruise ground services to major cruise lines and their partners. After 36 years of success in solely inbound Hawaii programming, in 2019, MC&A expanded to the U.S. mainland through a merger with DMC – Kuoni Destination Management USA.
MC&A plans to recognize this special anniversary by organizing a series of special events and community outreach throughout the year.
“With more than four decades in business, we firmly believe our roots are as significant as the path forward,” says Kina. “Our continuous evolution is intrinsic to our corporate DNA, bound to our heritage as caretakers of the environment and our culture.”
Resorts World Las Vegas Is Now Powered by 100% Renewable Energy
Oct. 25, 2023—Resorts World Las Vegas, in partnership with Nevada-based NV Energy, is now powered by 100% renewable energy sources, as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts.
Resorts World Las Vegas has implemented several sustainable practices to this point that has led to its achieving the LEED Gold and GBAC certifications. The property also houses the largest amount of EV chargers on The Strip.
“We are thrilled to have reached such an incredible milestone in our sustainability efforts after only two years of operation,” said Peter LaVoie, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. “The partnership with NV Energy has been integral in our efforts thus far and we look forward to continuing our commitment to our community and environment as we work to further implement impactful changes across the resort.”
Alaska Airlines Announces New Nonstops for Summer 2024
Oct. 2023 — Alaska Airlines has made the decision to add nonstop flights weekly to San Diego and daily to New York starting in May, 2024 and June 2024 respectively. They are now available for purchase at alaskaair.com. Jillian Simpson, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, encourages New Yorkers and Southern Californians to take advantage of the incredible summer activities Alaska has to offer.
“Summer is an incredible time to visit Alaska with our warm, long days,” says Simpson. “There’s so much to do in Anchorage and in the smaller towns nearby.”
According to the news release from Alaska Airlines, by mid-June they will be serving the following cities from Anchorage: Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York JFK, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
ATL Airport District Celebrates Record-Breaking Success
Oct. 23, 2023 — The ATL Airport District is the destination marketing organization for the cities of College Park, Hapeville and Union City, Georgia. After three years, their annual meeting at the Georgia International Convention Center was one of triumph and success. The them was “Standing the Test of Time,” and celebrated the District’s milestones, especially their 10th anniversary as a functioning CVB. President of the ATL Airport District Cookie Smoak enthusiastically comments on the success and promising future.
“Through the highs, lows and unprecedented challenges brought by the pandemic, we have not only survived but have thrived, putting the ATL Airport District on the map as a prime destination for both business and leisure travelers,” says Smoak. “Our partners and stakeholders have helped us shape the past decade and will undoubtedly pave the way for an even brighter future in the years ahead!”
GES Becomes Official Partner of Event Sustainability Live
Oct. 20, 2023 — With a shared focus on green events, Global Experience Specialists (GES) and Event Sustainability Live will be teaming up to implement sustainable business practices within the infrastructure of events. GES says they are focused on collaboration with other industry leaders and are excited about the partnership to continue their work in sustainability among the meetings and events industry.
“We are excited to align ourselves with an event that meets with so many of our sustainability credentials. The shows will provide us with a unique platform to not only share best practices, but learn from other industry experts. Sustainability has become such a crucial part of what we do, we’re delighted to be able to support an event that is dedicated to making advancements and educating our industry,” said David Langrish, Vice President Marketing, GTES EMEA.
Pendry Hotels & Resorts Creates New Holiday
Oct. 19, 2023 — With locations across the country, Pendry Hotels and Resorts is showing appreciation for their culinary programs by establishing the first annual Chefsgiving. The most renowned chefs will come together from cities such as San Diego, West Hollywood, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and more to create a multi-course family style dinner. The proceeds from tickets will be donated to local charities in the true spirit of Chefsgiving.
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas Plans for Convention Center Renovation
Oct. 19, 2023 — Already one of the largest convention centers in the world, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is undergoing a $118 million renovation to continue their reputation of being one of the top venues for meetings and events in Las Vegas.
“Since inception, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas has led the landscape of meetings and conventions and remains at the forefront of this industry, so we’re thrilled to have this renovation elevate the property to yet another level to better serve our guests.” said Tony Yousfi, chief sales officer at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.
The renovation is expected to be completed by 2026 and will include a speak-easy invitation only style bar for a modern take on an old school Venetian classic aesthetic. Patrick Nichols, president and chief executive officer of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, explains the vision behind the renovation of The Venetian.
“The finishes and amenities planned were thoughtfully curated based on feedback from our customers and will usher in a new era of Venetian Meetings and maintain our position at the forefront of the industry.”
Japan Imposes Visitor Tax for Sustainable Tourism and Preservation
Oct. 18, 2023 — While Japan’s hotels have already implemented taxes in their major tourism cities like Kyoto, taxes have extended to sight-seeing destinations such as Hatsukaichi. Home to the Itsukushima Shrine, one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, tourists will now be charged a tax in an effort to support local tourism, preserve the sanctity of the shrine and protect the region from over-tourism that has exploded once Covid-restrictions became more lenient.
“We are responsible for preserving nature, history and culture and passing them on to the next generations,” said Shunji Mukai, an official of the city’s planning and coordination division for Miyajima. “Without stable financial resources, we would face difficulties in surviving as a tourist destination.”
Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Announces 2023 Give Back Holiday Program
Oct. 17, 2023—Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront has announced a give back program for the 2023 holiday season that includes donating food to those in need. The food will then be donated to the non-profit organization Clara White Mission in Jacksonville.
“As the holiday season is right around the corner, we’re thrilled to offer a specialty promotion, allowing planners to get a jumpstart on their holiday event planning while benefitting a great cause here in Jacksonville,” said Brittany Doyle, Regional Marketing Manager at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
The donations will be based on every carving station ordered for holiday events in 2023.
Virginia Beach Launches “Happiness is a Real Place” Campaign
Oct. 13, 2023—The Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau (VBCVB) has launched a new brand platform and marketing campaign, “Happiness is a Real Place.” This new campaign aims to connect travelers with their own perfect version of happiness when they visit Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach is already known for being home to the “world’s longest pleasure beach,” surf culture, natural amenities and an overall family-friendly destination. This campaign puts forward images and videos of visitors enjoying all of the destination’s top amenities, from dining out, to exploring the beach, to taking in the cities natural sites and local art.
The campaign will debut this week in print and digital advertising, social media placements and 30- and 60-second broadcast segments. It will be accompanied by a pair of themed mini-campaigns on social channels: the “ViBe series, spotlighting art and culture with a vintage feel, and the “Cheat Meals” YouTube series, showing off Virginia Beach’s local chefs, restauranteurs and culinary range.
Mesa, AZ is the First City in the World to Receive Wheel the World’s Destination Verified Seal
Oct. 12, 2023—Wheel the World, an inclusive online booking platform for travelers with disabilities, makes Mesa, Arizona the first city worldwide to receive its Destination Verified Seal. This seal affirms a destination’s accessibility through a comprehensive evaluation of all their local partners and the overall destination’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity.
Wheel the World sends trained mappers to assess destinations through data gathered via WebApp, Wheel the World’s accessibility mapping system that amasses over 200 data points of accessibility-related information. That data then supplies travel service providers recommendations to enhance their infrastructure and access Wheel the World’s e-learning platform to expand learners’ knowledge of accessibility and disabilities.
Wheel the World Co-Founder and COO Camilo Navarro says, “This milestone not only demonstrates Mesa’s unwavering commitment to inclusivity but also marks a significant step forward in our collective mission to make travel accessible to all.”
Visit Mesa is dedicated to ensuring their location remains a leading inclusive and accessible travel destination. They have now partnered with Wheel the World to provide travelers to Mesa with advanced information on accessible experiences and itineraries personalized for their needs which can be accessed on both AccessibleMesa.com and WheeltheWorld.com
“For Mesa to achieve the Destination Verified Seal shows that we are dedicated to promoting inclusive travel and showcasing practices that embrace accessibility,” says Alison Brooks, Vice President of Destination Experience and Advocacy at Visit Mesa. “Partnering with Wheel the World has provided us with education, resources and guidance that will ultimately help us with our mission towards becoming one of the most accessible destinations in the country. We look forward to adding more Mesa businesses to the Wheel the World marketplace thus providing more options to visitors of all abilities.”
Greater Palm Springs Launches New Meetings Campaign
Oct. 11, 2023—Visit Greater Palm Springs (VGPS) has announced the launch of its new meetings campaign, “The Oasis is Real,” to highlight their position as a unique, vibrant meetings destination. Ahead of IMEX America, they will deploy the new campaign across the VGPS e-newsletter, print ads, digital advertising, engaging content pieces and e-blasts.
The campaign aims to highlight the many diverse experiences available to a wide bracket of meetings and events. In Greater Palm Springs, attendees can enjoy a special blend of relaxation and productivity in a space that champions inclusion and welcoming hospitality.
“Greater Palm Springs is more than just a beautiful place to visit—it’s a world-class destination with unforgettable experiences for every type of group,” says Colleen Pace, VGPS Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “From top-tier meeting facilities, award-winning hotels and resorts and exquisite dining options to endless outdoor event spaces like break-out sessions on a beach or an evening event with Coachella vibes—Greater Palm Springs isn’t a meetings mirage…the oasis is real.”
Coastal Alabama Will Host Parrot Heads in Paradise’s 31st Annual Meeting of the Minds Convention
Oct. 11, 2023—From Oct 24-29, Jimmy Buffett music lovers and lifestyle loyalists (known as parrotheads) will flock to the Alabama Gulf Coast for Parrot Heads in Paradise‘s 31st Annual Meeting of the Minds convention. For 30 years, the convention has been hosted in Key West. Following Buffett’s passing in September 2023, the convention will take on a special tone of remembrance in Buffett’s own home region.
Along with a variety of concerts and social gatherings, the convention will offer breakout sessions, leadership growth opportunities and philanthropic efforts. The Skippin & Sippin 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk will take place at Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s on Saturday, Oct 28 to benefit show and toy drive Bras Across the Causeway. Lulu’s will also host bloodmobiles for a blood drive.
Michelle Russ, Vice President of Sales, Sports and Events for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports & Events, says, “This group knows how to throw a party with purpose, working to leave the destination better than when they arrived. Between the philanthropic events they are planning and the number of restaurants and venues they will be using, the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will feel the economic life during an otherwise slower time in the destination.”
Las Vegas Launches New Business Ad Campaign
Oct. 11, 2023—Las Vegas’s newest business ad campaign, titled, “Not Invited,” positions it as a location leading in creativity, optimism and ambition. The campaign features playful “un-invitations” to express the importance of innovation and visionary thinking in the meeting and events hub for corporate offsites and gatherings. Chief Sales Officer for the LVCVA Lisa Messina says, “This campaign captures how the unique energy of Las Vegas acts as the catalyst that drives innovation, change and engagement.”
Messina says, “We regularly hear from leaders, planners and attendees that the opportunities to connect and inspire through the shared experiences that only Vegas can provide continues to drive their business forward and ultimately affects the bottom line.”
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Announces Global Brand Evolution
Oct. 11, 2023—IHG Hotels & Resorts is the world’s largest international luxury hotel brand boasting a unique portfolio of 479 properties in over 70 countries, with 93 new hotels and resorts in the works. As part of their luxury and lifestyle portfolio, InterContinental Hotel & Resorts embarks on a global brand evolution. InterContinental maintains a brand dedicated to luxurious yet familiar stays in major destinations that expand travelers’ minds and connect cultures.
This holistic evolution includes a wealth of new offerings and experiences, a fresh brand culture, unique brand differentiators and an invigorating food and beverage and hotel design strategy. “This isn’t a rebrand or repositioning,” says Vice President of Luxury Brands at IHG Hotels and Resorts Tom Rowntree. “Rather, it’s a comprehensive transformation from start to finish of InterContinental, ensuring we stay at the forefront of crafting a luxury experience for the modern luxury traveler,” .
Scientifically-backed food and beverage programs will help guests reduce travel fatigue and will reflect guests’ changing needs throughout the day. Guests will also receive access to Timeshifter, a jet-lag app that helps familiarize them with the latest circadian science to quickly adjust to new time zones. Neuroscience-based designer Isabelle Sjövall is collaborating with their resorts to enhance physical spaces to include restorative processes to combat travel fatigue.
Their hotel lobbies will introduce Concierge Galleries which will bring interactive displays, library spaces, art installations and designer pop-ups to create natural and engaging interactions between the concierge and guests.
The Incredible Occasions program will introduce intimate bookable spaces around the hotels where guests can celebrate special moments privately, with an array of programming and packages, amenities, beautiful tablescapes and private masterclasses. It will also offer guests the opportunity to book reimagined, highly curated Celebration Suites.
Overall, this brand evolution aims to elevate InterContinental’s quality design and style with the idea of Cultivated Elegance at its center. “At its core, this brand evolution revolves around our exceptional team members globally,” says Rowntree. “Our colleague brand culture is grounded in InterContinental’s core belief that travel expands the mind. We unite in diversity and wherever you are in the world, you belong at InterContinental.”
Harrah’s Las Vegas Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Oct. 5, 2023—Harrah’s Las Vegas is celebrating its 50th year, and with this comes plenty of special prizes and offerings.
Since its creation in 1992, the Harrah’s brand now includes 18 resorts in the Caesars Entertainment portfolio. The property recently underwent renovations to its guest rooms and areas throughout its casino floor. This will be followed up by a multimillion revamp of its main entrance and porte-cochere, scheduled for completion later this year.
“For half a century, Harrah’s has provided visitors with a true Las Vegas experience featuring iconic names in entertainment and hospitality in the heart of The Strip,” said Dan Walsh, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s Las Vegas. “The 50th anniversary wouldn’t be possible without the loyalty of our guests, support from the community and dedicated service from our Team Members. We look forward to celebrating with our guests as Harrah’s continues to be a must-visit destination with renovated hotel rooms, a modernized casino floor and new food and beverage offerings such as Ramsay’s Kitchen and The Lounge.”
The anniversary specials include a social media sweepstakes, spa specials, entertainment and attractions specials, and F&B specials. Click here to for more information on these special offerings in celebration of Harrah’s 50th anniversary.
Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV, Announces $1 Billion Private Capital Investment
Oct. 2, 2023—Grand Sierra Resort, in Reno, Nevada, will receive the largest private capital investment in the city’s history at $1 billion. Over the next decade, the 14-acre property will infuse the funding into a 300,000 sq. ft. arena with a capacity of over 10,000 seats to host events from concerts to basketball games and more. The resort will also invest in contemporary amenities including suites and premium hospitality clubs, as well as a comprehensive beautification of Grand Bay, where they will create a golf facility, entertainment destination, a scenic water path and a water show. Plans are also in the works for an 800-room hotel tower and one or more parking garages to accommodate the influx of guests these changes will bring. They will also construct approximately 300 affordable riverfront residences to support the growing workforce to support these new projects.
Owner of Grand Sierra Resort Alex Merulo also announced an exploration of a partnership with University of Nevada, Reno’s president, Brian Sandoval, to potentially make the arena the university’s men’s basketball team home arena upon completion.
Reno Mayer Hillary Schieve says, “This is an incredible and historic investment by Mr. Merulo and a true game-changer for our community. It’s a massive win for our citizens, a win for the University of Nevada and a win for tourism. Thank you, Mr. Merulo, for your vision and faith in our great community.”
Tripleseat Acquires Attendease for Optimized Event Management Solutions
Oct. 2, 2023—Tripleseat, a leading innovator in cloud-based event management software for the hospitality industry, has acquired Attendease, a meeting and event software for enterprise and corporate event planners. This acquisition connects social and corporate event planners with event managers at restaurants and hotels to create a smooth planning process. The combined company will operate under the Tripleseat brand and will be managed by Tripleseat co-founder and CEO Jonathan Morse.
Event planners now have access to a one-of-a-kind integration and a seamless experience to find and book venues and plan their events.
“With this acquisition, we will expand our offerings with specialized and flexible event planning and management tools—for social and corporate event planners. Tripleseat will now be the one-stop shop for people to locate the perfect venue and manage and market their event,” says Morse.
WTTC and Saudi Arabia Sign an MoU to Extend Partnership
Sept. 28, 2023—The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend their partnership at Saudi Arabia’s World Tourism Day event in Riyadh, demonstrating Saudi Arabia‘s commitment to enhance its travel and tourism sector.
This agreement follow the success of last year’s Global Summit in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia now commits $800 billion to put forward the opportunities their country offers to travelers around the world. The MoU, uniting private and public sectors in the effort to create growth, will help to advance the key objectives of job creation, talent development and global business opportunities in the travel and tourism industry. It will community empowerment and inclusion, elevate crisis preparedness and expand innovation, investment and the transition to a more sustainable travel and tourism sector.
Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al Saud, Vice Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia said, “This collaboration highlights our commitment to fostering global business opportunities and talent development whilst underlining the vital role of public-private partnerships in shaping the future of Travel & Tourism.”
Freeman and 42Chat Collaborate to Launch AI Customer Service for Events
Sept. 28, 2023—Freeman, a global events organization, has partnered with conversational AI provider 42Chat. Together, they have introduced conversational AI chatbots that will support attendee engagement at trade shows and conferences. Freeman customers can access these chatbots online or through SMS before, during and after shows to get help in real time, for instances such as finding registration, locating an exhibit and more.
Executive Vice President of Audio Visual & Event Technology Operations at Freeman, Paul Fletcher, says, “42Chat’s AI technology is scalable, privacy compliant, accurate and easy to deploy, which makes it a perfect partnership for us and our clients.”
Meet Boston Launches Workforce Development and Supplier Diversity Initiatives
Sept. 27, 2023—Meet Boston, the CVB for the Boston area, has announced a partnership with management consulting firm Conan Harris and Associates (CHA) to launch a workforce development initiative and supplier diversity initiative. It aims to increase diversity, bolster employee retention and enhance procurement processes. The initiatives will be continually informed and guided by The Black Economic Council of MA (BECMA), Urban League, Amplify Latinx and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
The workforce development initiative will provide individuals with training opportunities to help them refine their skillsets and bridge the skills gap through local educational institutions, community organizations and industry partners. The supplier diversity initiative will expand Meet Boston’s suppliers and work to include businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and other marginalized groups. With this group of suppliers, Meet Boston aims to drive economic growth particularly in communities that have been historically underrepresented in the tourism and hospitality industries.
Executive Vice President of Meet Boston Hilina D. Ajakaiye says, “These initiatives are not just goals; they’re a commitment to enhancing Boston’s hospitality and tourism industry…[they] not only ensure exceptional experiences for visitors but also empower our diverse communities, promoting inclusivity, economic growth and a brighter future for every corner of our city.”
Salt Lake City Will Host IITA Summit 2025
Sept. 27, 2023—The International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) Board of Directors has chosen Salt Lake City out of seven bidding destinations to host its 2025 Summit, taking place February 9-12. The Summit will bring together hundreds of travel organizations to organize US itineraries and travel services for international visitors.
Visit Salt Lake President and CEO Kaitlin Eskelson says, “Visit Salt Lake is honored to host IITA in 2025 and showcase Salt Lake and Utah to tour operators specializing in international markets as well as to our industry guests.”
Hilton Salt Lake City Center submitted the winning big. Bids are evaluated based on the level of city and state support available, destination location and appeal, meeting staff and hotel rates along with numerous other variables. The Utah Office of Tourism, an active IITA member, has pledged its support.
CEO and Executive Director of IITA Lisa Simon says, “Salt Lake City is an attractive destination for international visitors, particularly outdoor enthusiasts, and Utah is one of the most beautiful places in the country with all of the national parks.
“We are thrilled to bring our group to Salt Lake in 2025 for our members—the leading U.S. inbound operators—to experience all the city and state have to offer.”
Las Vegas Hospitality Workers Vote to Authorize a Strike Against Major Strip Resorts
Sept. 27, 2023—On Tuesday, September 26, members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165, which together represent 60,000 Nevada workers and are affiliated with the union Unite Here, voted to authorize a strike against 22 casino resorts. The vote saw a 95% approval rate. This closely follows September 15, when contracts for around 40,000 Nevada hospitality workers, including housekeepers, bartenders, cooks and servers, expired after a June extension; others face continuing contracts that can be terminated at any time.
Since April, these workers have held negotiations with the resorts, demanding higher wages, more safety protections and stronger recall rates. The Nevada hospitality industry still waits to meet pre-pandemic employment and economic levels.
MGM Resorts released a statement that expressed positivity they could come to an agreement, saying, “We continue to have productive meetings with the union and believe both parties are committed to negotiating a contract that is good for everyone.” Wynn Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have not released comments.
This vote does not mean a strike will take place; first come the contract negotiations.
It arrives on the eve of major upcoming sporting events, including Formula 1 with the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November, and the Super Bowl in February. The Las Vegas hospitality industry has long anticipated these events to provide a much-needed boost in their tourism economy.
Choose Chicago, PCMA and United Airlines Announce Apprenticeship in Partnership with Tourism Diversity Matters
Sept. 26, 2023—In an effort to lower barriers to a career in the hospitality industry, Choose Chicago has collaborated with PCMA and United Airlines, in partnership with Tourism Diversity Matters, to create the first Events Track apprenticeship for the 2023-2024.
United will provide funding for the program and PCMA will provide the recipient with full-time employment in a coordinator-level position. During with apprenticeship, the selected applicant will be given an overview of Choose Chicago’s operation and the impact of tourism in its local economy, as well as career tracks focused on event planning and operations with PCMA and United.
“The future of Chicago’s tourism and hospitality industry depends on connecting promising young talent to fulfilling careers,” Choose Chicago President and CEO Lynn Osmond said. “This apprenticeship program is one of the ways that we are working to establish a pipeline of talented young people who want to work in events, hotels, restaurants or other tourism-adjacent businesses. I encourage all of our partners to invest in workforce development, and lead by example by committing resources to career exploration and internship opportunities.”
Learn more here.
GeoEx Announces Top Travel Destinations for 2024
Sept. 26, 2023—Travel company Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx) has announced their top recommendations on where to travel in 2024. This year’s focus is off-the-beaten-path treasures in countries that see less tourism than many, or little-explored regions of popular destinations. Read on for their 2024 top destinations and why:
- Visit Algeria for rich artistic traditions and an eclectic culinary landscape. Visit UNESCO-listed Roman ruins, the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean coastline.
- Visit Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom for mountain scenery, temples, festivals and a country committed to sustainable tourism development. Over 70% of the country is pristine forested landscape.
- Visit Cambodia for luxury stays in a destination brimming with rainforest and jungle landscapes and ancient ruins.
- Visit India to see the famous Himalayan landscapes, cliff-hanging monasteries and wildlife—including Bengal tigers, rhinoceros and water buffalo.
- Visit Iraq to explore the ancient ruins of Mesopotamia, the architecture of Ur, Uruk and Ctesiphon, and the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.
- Visit Japan, a major tourist destination, and explore the less-trekked areas of the Shikoku Island, cedar and pine forests, coastal beaches and crags and the isolated Iya Valley.
- Visit Saudi Arabia to see the historic Al Balad quarter of Jeddah, the ancient sandstone monuments of Hegra and UNESCO-listed palaces at At-Turaif and neolithic rock art in the cliffs near Jubbah.
- Visit Sri Lanka, now majorly recovered from a period of internal conflict, to enjoy innovative cuisine, dynamic history and incredible museums and monuments.
Black Travel Summit Launches National Black Travel Day
Sept. 25, 2023—Black Travel Summit (BTS) has introduced National Black Travel Day, a day dedicated to celebrate and honor global travel among Black travelers. The day is to be observed Nov. 11.
“Black Travel Summit was founded with the aim of elevating and strengthening the presence of the Black travel community each and every day. With National Black Travel Day, we’re thrilled about this new call-to-action to recognize the importance of the global Black diaspora and culture in travel,” said BTS Founder and CEO Anita Francois.
Francois chose Nov. 11 as the date to honor the birthdate of Jamaican American pilot Captain Barrington Irving, who, in 2007, became the first and only Black person to fly around the world on his own.
BTS’ annual conference will take place Oct. 20-22 at Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami.
Brightline Opens Between Orlando and Miami
Sept. 22, 2023—Brightline’s newest route between Miami and Orlando opened today with a grand opening at its Orlando stop that included more than 500 elected officials, business leaders and community partners across Florida.
Brightline launched in 2018 in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with its Boca Raton and Aventura stations opening last year. Between Miami and Orlando, the route will cover 235 miles over between three and 3.5 hours.
The Brightline Orlando Station, the only intercity passenger rail station of its kind in the United States, is located inside Orlando International Airport (MCO) train station next to its new Terminal C. Economy fares from Orlando to Miami will begin at $79, offering 16 round-trips daily between the Orlando and Miami with hourly departures.
Following this expansion, the company plans on taking operations to the West Coast with Brightline West, connecting travelers via high-speed fully electric trains between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The project is schedule to begin by the end of 2023.
Salamander Collection Marks Debut of Virginia Resort Rebrand
Sept. 21, 2023—Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, will now be called Salamander Middleburg under the newly rebranded Salamander Collection name. Last year, the company added another branded property in the nation’s capital: Salamander Washington DC, bringing the total number of properties in the U.S. and Caribbean to seven.
“Salamander represents much more than hotels and resorts; for the past decade, our unique culture of inclusion, kindness and warmth, has created a genuine sense of belonging, which is why Salamander Collection is an even more fitting name for our company,” said CEO Sheila Johnson, who recently released her memoir: “Walk Through Fire.”
Omni Hotels & Resorts to Build Raleigh Convention Hotel
Sept. 21, 2023—Based on a vote by the Raleigh, North Carolina City Council, the City of Raleigh staff will enter negotiations with Omni Hotels & Resorts to develop a convention hotel in downtown. The property will be built on an over one-acre lot across from the Raleigh Convention Center and Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts. With plans for 550 guest rooms and 55,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the property is expected to open in 2027. It will add to Omni’s existing portfolio of over 50 luxury hotels, the third in the state of North Carolina and the first in the state’s capital city.
Visit Salt Lake Becomes a Certified Autism Center
Sept. 20, 2023—The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) has accredited Visit Salt Lake as a Certified Autism Center (CAC). In order to earn this certification, at least 80% of an organization’s staff must undergo specialized training and certification to gain the skills and knowledge necessary for understanding and catering to autistic and sensory-sensitive visitors and their families.
For over 20 years, IBCCES had led the way in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the world. It is the only organization to offer this type of certification, grounded in evidence-based training, the perspectives of autistic individuals, onsite reviews, customized recommendations and renewal requirements. Visit AustismTravel.com for a free list of Certified Autism Centers and other resources.
This accreditation propels Visit Salt Lake’s efforts to create an inclusive community. A recent CDC report indicated that the autism diagnosis rate stands at one in 36 children, and that one in six people have a sensory need. Hospitality and entertainment options that have worked to become certified in catering to these guests are helping provide people with an incredible experience anywhere they travel.
Brightline Partners with Mears Transportation and Avis Car Rental
Sept. 20, 2023—Brightline and Mears Transportation have partnered to connect travelers between Brightline Orlando Station and destinations within the region. Mears’ transportation offering will be incorporated into Brightline’s booking service Brightline+, available on its app and website. Brightline users may also receive special rates when booking through Brightline’s new partner Avis Car Rental.
Beginning Oct. 4, guests will be able to use Brightline+ Shared Connect Shuttle, which connects Orlando International Airport (MCO) to more than 25 resorts, and Luxury Private Ride to reserve transportation to and from MCO.
“Last mile connectivity is an integral piece of the travel experience for our guests, Mears is the respected transportation leader in Central Florida and will be a valuable partner delivering our Brightline+ service in Orlando,” said Michael Lefevre, vice president of operations for Brightline. “Mears Transportation is familiar to Orlando travelers and a brand that aligns seamlessly with the level of hospitality our guests know and love.”
Bizzabo Launches Bizzabo Studios in Partnership with Smyle
Sept. 20, 2023—Bizzabo, an event software for B2B conferences, has announced that they are partnering with award-winning creative agency Smyle to launch Bizzabo Studios. The new premium service will continue Bizzabo’s work of enabling incredible events through best-in-class technology, coupled with creative and operational expertise. The two companies have already successfully executed over 250 events for clients including Amazon, Salesforce, Financial Times and Lululemon.
Modern event organizers face an uncertain economy that brings budget fluctuations and requires continuing shifts in marketing strategy. On a mission to deliver immersive experiences that put forward valuable content, facilitate relationships and meet business targets, these event organizers can access the creative and operational expertise of Bizzabo Studios and Bizzabo’s veteran team’s long track record of operating successful events around the globe.
Visit Anaheim Launches New “Here We Go” Marketing Campaign
Sept. 20, 2023—Visit Anaheim, the official destination organization for Anaheim, launches a new marketing campaign, “Here We Go,” to showcase the destination in a post-pandemic environment, welcome old and new visitors and encourage travel. The campaign is directed to people traveling for both leisure and meetings and conventions.
View the promotional video that kicked off this new campaign here.
Events Industry Council Announces Recipients of 2023 Global Awards
Sept. 20, 2023—Events Industry Council (EIC) has announced the annual Global Awards recipients for 2023. The awards recognize outstanding achievements and leadership at all levels and areas within the global business events industry.
The award celebration will take place at Bellagio Resort & Casino Las Vegas on Monday, October 16 from 5:00-8:00 pm PDT. Register here.
The 2023 Global Awards Recipients are as follows:
EIC Hall of Leaders
- Carina Bauer, CEO at Regent Exhibitions Ltd/IMEX Group
- Barbara Connell, CMP Fellow, President and CEO at Solutions by Connell, LLC
- Wanda Johnson, CAE, CEO at American Society for Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition
- Steve O’Malley, Enterprise Vice President, Maritz Global Events
- Amelia Roziman, CIS, CEO at Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak)
- Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP, Managing Director at 2Synergize, LLC
- Dr. Deborah Breiter-Terry, CEM, Retired from University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management
EIC Pacesetter Award
- Dale Hudson, CED, Event Specialist – Exhibitions & Conferences at Enhance Events
EIC Social Impact Award
- Geneviève Leclerc, Co-Founder and CEO at #Meet4Impact
- Zoe Moore, CDP, CEO at Grow with Zomo
EIC Adaption and Innovation Award
- Megan Henshall, CMP, DES, Strategic Lead of Global Events Solutions at Google
Meet Minneapolis Records Highest Weekly Demand for Hotel Rooms Since Fall 2019
Sept. 19, 2023—From Memorial Day to Labor Day 2023, Meet Minneapolis reports, Minneapolis hotel room demand rose 11% since summer 2022. From Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, over 56,000 hotel rooms were occupied, and the weekend of June 23-24 set an all-time record for occupied hotel rooms at 19,531. This resulted in an increase of over 10% from summer 2022, at $107 million.
This is due in part to large events in the city, such as the Taylor Swift concerts, Twin Cities Pride Festival and Kiwanis International Convention on the record weekend of June 23-24. Other events, such as USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships and Twins-Brewers saw a 96.3% occupancy rate on June 13. The Gay Softball World Series and Minnesota State Fair saw a 91.8% occupancy rate on Sept. 2.
Meet Minneapolis is still at work to bring business travel back to pre-pandemic levels. Today, they launched a fall leisure tourism campaign directed at communities 15 to 300 miles from the city. Earlier this year, they launched another leisure tourism campaign, See What All the Fuss Is About. In late August, over 2,500 people, including about 900 meeting and event planners, attended the major events industry convention Connect Marketplace at Minneapolis Convention Center. Meet Minneapolis anticipates increasing requests for proposals for future events that will bring positive economic impact to the city.
AHLA Expands Initiatives to Elevate Women in Hospitality with ForWard
Sept. 19, 2023—AHLA Foundation of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) announced a new initiative aimed at elevating women in hotel industry leadership and ownership. Upon a merger with Castell Project, under the name ForWard, which began as an AHLA event, the initiative forms one brand to offer resources, events, professional development opportunities and community-building forums that will help develop women leaders in the hospitality industry.
Anna Blue, president of AHLA Foundation, says, “There is tremendous opportunity for us to do more to celebrate, champion and create community for women. AHLA Foundation is uniquely positioned to collaborate across industry and invest in women who are advancing hospitality.”
The initiative will include:
- ForWard BUILD & ELEVATE: a year-long curriculum of skills-based workshops, career coaching and leadership coursework (formerly Castell BUILD & ELEVATE)
- ForWard Thinking: a speaker series for hospitality students to help them envision career opportunities (formerly Castell@College)
- The ForWard Network: a community of woman leaders that brings together ForWard Ambassadors, friends of Castell and Castell Luminaries
- The ForWard Conference: a continuation of the original AHLA Foundation event
- The Peggy Berg Castell Award: an award to celebrate woman leaders in the hotel industry, named to honor the Castell Project’s founder (formerly the Castell Award)
Register for the upcoming ForWard 2024 conference at AHLA ForWard’s site.
AHLA and HAC Partner to Expand Green Key Global Sustainability Certification Program in the US and Canada
Sept. 19, 2023—The American Hotel and Lodging Association (ALHA) and Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) today, at the Lodging Conference in Phoenix, announced that they have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture company under the name Green Key Global, which will own and operate a sustainability certification program for the U.S. and Canadian hotel and lodging industry.
The environmental certification will be based on an assessment and audit process that measures hotel performance in areas including, but not limited to, energy and water conservation, land use, hazardous and solid waste management and air quality. The certification criteria is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and aligned with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Green Key Global will begin operating in early 2024 as ALHA’s and HAC’s joint-venture company. President and CEO of HAC, Susie Grynol, says, “Through this partnership, Green Key Global will unite the hotel industry behind a North American standard of sustainable certification. Our best-in-class program will allow hotels to exceed the expectations of their eco-conscious travelers through a third-party validation of their sustainable practices.”
Walter E. Washington Convention Center Awarded LEED Gold Certification
Sept. 18, 2023—Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C., announced that it has been awarded LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance: Existing Buildings Gold Certification for its variety of sustainable practices and programs, including water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) and provides an international symbol of excellence as a building rating system in the realm of design, construction and operational practices that improve environmental and human health.
The Walter E. Washington Convention center uses low-emission glass to minimize temperature fluctuations, sensor-controlled high-efficiency lighting, bathroom fixtures that reduce the demand for water supply and waste systems and paints, adhesives and sealants with little to no volatile organic compounds. They also possess an extensive waste diversion program that emphasizes education, and recently conducted a waste audit to identify where they could further reduce waste and increase recycling and composting.
In all 50 states and more that 185 countries, over 105,000 commercial and institutional projects, comprising over 12 billion sq. ft. of construction space, currently participate in LEED.
Maritz Partners with EIC to Launch Sustainability Event Professional Certificate Course
Sept. 18, 2023—Sales and marketing services company Maritz has partnered with Events Industry Council (EIC) to launch the Sustainable Event Professional Certificate (SEPC) introductory course for 48 members of their team at their recent brand event, Activate. They brought in Chief Sustainability Officer for the EIC Center for Sustainability and Social Impact, Mariela Bazán.
EIC launched this online certificate program in 2022 to help provide standardized training for event professionals interested in creating and accelerating sustainability and social impact in their organizations and events. Participants earn 12 hours of Continuing Education credits (CEs) towards their CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) application or recertification and 12 CAE credits.
Posadas and Grupo Xtra Announces Two Resorts in Cancun
Sept. 15, 2023—In a ceremony held in Quintana Roo, Posadas subsidiary Fiesta Americana Travelty and Grupo Xtra, began the construction of two properties on the Mayan Riviera: Live Aqua Riviera Cancun and Grand Fiesta Americana Riviera Cancun All Inclusive Resort & Spa.
“At Posadas, we are deeply committed to Quintana Roo and sustainable economic growth,” said Posadas CEO Jose Carlos Azcarraga. “Our operations adhere to the most stringent sustainability standards, and we have implemented numerous environmental conservation initiatives. We will generate 2,000 new jobs in the region.”
Posadas has 13 hotels in the Quintana Roo region under several of its brands, including Live Aqua , Curamoria Collection, one and more.
The new hotels are anticipated to open between Q1 2025 and early 2026.
Tennessee’s Davidson County Generated a Record $9.97 Billion in Travel Spend in 2022
Sept. 15, 2023—Research from Tennessee’s 2022 Economic Impact of Travel revealed a visitor spend of $9.97 billion, a 35% increase from 2021.
Visitor spend in Nashville, an average of $27 million per day, makes hospitality one of the city’s largest industries. According to the report, Davidson country saw an 30% increase—47,046 jobs—in tourism-related employment compared to 2021.
“With nearly $10 billion in visitor spending last year, Nashville leads the way as the highest contributor to tourism spending across Tennessee, accounting for over one-third of visitor spending statewide and providing vital revenue to fund essential local and state government operations,” said Deana Ivey, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “Our success is built on Nashville’s authenticity, the wealth of our remarkable assets, the power of the Music City brand and being a welcoming city.”
Statewide, tourism in Tennessee generated nearly $29 billion in visitor spending and received 141 million visitors in 2022.
Association Forum Announces Annual Flagship Event Theme
Sept. 14, 2023—Chicagoland’s Association Forum has announced the theme of its annual flagship event, Holiday Showcase, marking its 35th anniversary.
This year’s theme, Incubate, is meant to represent moving forward and is an invitation to attendees to play a part in creating an environment that promotes growth in the events industry.
“Holiday Showcase has long been a pivotal event in the association community, and its 35th anniversary provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on its successes and embrace innovative changes,” says Callan Stapleton, CAE, executive vice president and president of business and education services for the Illinois Bankers Association and chair of the Holiday Showcase Program Advisory Group. “The new approach promises to revolutionize the way attendees engage with the event, as well as foster collaboration and inspire fresh thinking.”
The event begins Nov. 29 and will consist of two days of keynotes, breakout session and a reception. Registration is now open at holidayshowcase.org.
Visit Carlsbad Launches Free Transportation Service in Partnership with Circuit
Sept. 14, 2023—Visit Carlsbad, in partnership with on-demand electric car service Circuit, today announced the launch of Carlsbad Good Ride. This will be a free transportation program providing rides from lodging properties to key attractions to make travel through Carlsbad easier than ever. Visitors can book rides through the Circuit app.
The pilot program will run through September 1, 2023 through April 1, 2024, on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10:00am to 8:00pm. They plan to extend operation to every day from 10:00am to 10:00pm April 1 through August 31, 2024.
Incentive Solutions Rebrands as Extu
Sept. 13, 2023—Incentive Solutions today announced it has rebranded as Extu. The company is a provider of channel marketing and sales solutions that helps manufacturers and dealers increase sales, build customer loyalty and improve data collection. They help to provide a more complete view of the marketing channel. Extu plans to add additional product lines and services in the future.
Steve Prebble, CEO of Extu, says, “Our rebranding reflects our new shared identity and the continued evolution of our company since the combination of Incentive Solutions and OneAffiniti. We are proud to provide our clients with more comprehensive solutions that we believe will help accelerate their growth.”
NCBMP Announces 11th Annual State of Black Tourism Event
Sept. 13, 2023—The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP) announces that its 11th annual “State of Black Tourism” landmark event will take place on Thursday, September 21st, 2023, at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. The event will bring together industry professionals to participate in engaging discussion and networking centered around the topic of Black tourism. The event’s targeted learning outcomes include the impact of Black tourism on local economies, the preservation of cultural heritage and strategies to promote diversity and inclusion.
The NCBMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to training African American meeting planners. It has advocated and promoted diversity and inclusivity within the tourism and hospitality industry for the past 40 years.
NCBMP Executive Director Jason Dunn says, “We understand the power and influence of tourism to any economy, especially destinations, communities and partners that we consider friends. It is my aim to have a thoughtful conversation with President [Derrick] Johnson [President and CEO of the NAACP] and gain insight on how Black culture intersects with Black tourism.”
MMGY Acquires Lieb Management
Sept. 13, 2023—Industry Leader MMGY Global announced today that it has acquired Germany-based PR and marketing firm Lieb Management. The firm will now be known as MMGY Lieb. With MMGY Lieb’s comprehensive, customized services for marketing, sales and public and influencer relations for the tourism and MICE industries in the Germany, Austria and Switzerland markets, this acquisition poses MMGY Global to expand its international public relations practice.
MMGY Global CEO Katie Briscoe says, “MMGY Global as thrilled to partner with Lieb Management as we continue to expand our operations at a time of continued growth for both international and domestic travel activity. This is a significant move as we strengthen global services for our client portfolio, bolstering our expertise with the investment in this team of experts specializing in the Germany, Austria and Switzerland markets.”
Together, they will continue to offer innovative, data-driven strategies to empower travel and hospitality businesses in the global landscape. This is MMGY Global’s 11th acquisition.
Informa Markets Introduces Age Inclusive Accreditation
Sept. 13, 2023—As part of its DEI strategy, London-based exhibitions organizer Informa Markets has partnered with age diversity advocates 55/Redefined, has gained an age accreditation.
“In this competitive landscape, creating an inclusive environment where colleagues can thrive is essential to attract and retain top talent,” said Mike Sealy, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Informa Markets. “We recognize that one of the keys to success is harnessing the unique perspectives and experiences of colleagues from all age groups. Age diversity is not about putting up with each other’s differences, it’s about embracing them and learning from them.”
To become an age-inclusive accredited employer, the company has committed to the following:
- Ensuring recruitment practices are accessible to workers over 50
- Communicating and promoting vacancies fairly
- Reviewing HR handbooks and policies relating to retirement
- Investing in technical training and reskilling of colleagues over 50
Baha Mar Reveals Full Event Lineup for The Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival
Sept. 11, 2023—The Caribbean’s leading luxury resort, Baha Mar, in Nassau, The Bahamas, will be holding their annual The Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival on Oct. 27th-29th, 2023. This year’s programming will include interactive celebrity chef demos, master classes, live performances and a first-time art showcase FUZE—where attendees can explore Caribbean art culture through panel discussions, guided tours, live printmaking demonstrations and a film series, facilitated by The Current Gallery & Art Center at Baha Mar. This year’s event will open with a live performance by Sting at the Welcome Beach Party Powered by SLS Baha Bar, at the award-winning Baha Bay Waterpark.
Tickets are on sale at Baha Mar’s Bahamas Culinary & Arts website and are priced by experience, ranging from $35 to $1,000 per-person, per-event.
French Startup Alltheway, Powered by SITA Technology, Innovates with Doorstep Baggage Delivery Service
Sept. 11, 2023—French start-up Alltheway is a new baggage service that enables passengers traveling from Paris to check in to their flights and then have their bags picked up from their home or city center hotel, from where their luggage will be delivered directly to their destination. The company soon plans on releasing an airport carousel bag pick-up and city delivery service as well.
The company will be powered by SITA, the air transport industry’s IT provider, with their Bag Journey, technology, which integrates with an airline tracking systems to share live baggage-tracking information, so customers can keep an eye their bags in real-time from when it is picked up to when it is delivered. SITA also provides information on customer flight check-in and departure times so agents can plan strategic luggage pick-up times and ensure baggage is at the airport on time.
Anticipating a surge of visitors to Paris with the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France September 2023, and the Paris Olympics in 2024, Alltheway has partnered with AirFrance/KLM and hospitality group Accor. This is an effort towards meeting customer demands for seamless air travel and off-airport services. It will help customers avoid the stressful experience of losing their luggage in busy airports.
Of course, nobody wants to lose their luggage, and services like this will help to prevent it. This unfortunate event does still happen, though. Smart Meetings recently published an in-depth story on one of the incredible ways unclaimed baggage is being repurposed in Unclaimed Baggage Becomes Hidden Treasure.
Bill Hansen Launches Full-Service Hospitality Company Hansen Group
Sept. 11, 2023—Bill Hansen expanded his extraordinary event brand in South Florida today with the launch of Hansen Group, now a comprehensive company offering catering, venue support, concierge services and more.
Hansen Group now serves as the parent company of Bill Hansen Catering, Lovables Catering + Kitchen, Eten Catering and Alexander Event Catering to help groups choose the best catering service for their event’s needs and budget. Hansen Group also includes Bill Hansen Miami Venues, which helps event professionals find the best venue for their South Florida functions.
“We are in the business of establishing thoughtful relationships, which can only be built by extraordinary service. By visiting Hansen Group’s website, planners and clients will immediately be connected with someone who truly understands their needs, wants and vision for their event. From there, our concierge team can connect them with the right venue, caterer or vendor.”
Corsica Partners Acquires Alora Search Partners
Sept. 11, 2023—Global executive search and growth advisory firm Corsica Partners announced the acquisition of boutique talent acquisition firm Alora Search Partners. They have appointed Alora Search Partner’s founding partner Mary Langan as managing director and cybersecurity practice lead.
Dan Veitkus, CEO and managing partner of Corisca Partners says, “Alora Search Partners has developed a respected reputation serving public, VC and PE backed software, robotics and cybersecurity firms…With this acquisition, we extend our capacity to deliver exceptional C-Suite talent across every major function of the enterprise.”
Langan says, “Dan and I have been collaborating on executive talent acquisition for many years. We also share a set of core values that made the decision to join forces quite compelling. The combined resources and experience of our firms will provide our clients with greater depth and breadth of capabilities to call upon when they require trusted search partners.”
Iberostar Group Partners with Planeterra to Launch an Ambitious Community Tourism Initiative
Sept. 8, 2023—Iberostar Group, a family-owned Spanish multinational tourism company and hotel group promoting a responsible tourism business model, has partnered with Planeterra, an impact-driven non-profit using tourism to uplift local communities. Under this partnership, they are launching a program promoting community tourism initiatives in destinations where Iberostar Foundation hotels are present.
The program’s community tourism initiatives aims to protect the ecosystems and boost the social and economic development of the communities where they operate. They have set goals to provide over 95,000 travelers with community tourism experiences, involve 35 communities and implement 36 projects over the next decade, improving the lives of over 13,000 people.
The initiative has already been piloted at 18 of Iberostar’s hotels and resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Alejandro Borrás, head of the Iberostar Foundation, says, “It is essential to support and involve local communities, making them active participants and thus contribute to improving the living conditions of the people who are part of them. In this way, the alliance with Planeterra allows us to contribute to their empowerment and integrate them into the value chain of the tourism sector.”
HSMAI Launches Latin American Conference Series: HSMAI Latam
Sept. 7, 2023—The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announces a new conference series taking place in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, beginning this month. The conference series, called HSMAI Latam, will be led by a new Latin American advisory board formed in 2022, and headed by Gabriela Otto, managing director of HSMAI Brazil, which was chartered in 2014. This board is made up of a diverse group of representatives from different segments of the hotel industry in each country.
This newest conference series aims to support sales, marketing and revenue management professionals in the hospitality industry in these countries by offering strategic development opportunities and driving tourism. Otto says, “I’m proud to be spearheading the expansion of HSMAI throughout Latin America, offering immeasurable opportunities for industry growth through shared insights, conversations and best practices to increase profit.”
First Annual Power of Partnership Stewardship
Sept. 7, 2023—Tourism Cares has partnered with Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance Inc., the Travel Foundation and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Marketing Council to announce the launch of the Power of Partnership Stewardship Summit (POPS) in Richmond, VA on October 15-18, 2023. With a focus on DEI progress and inclusion from global industry professionals, the summit will be an innovative and collaborative event.
Stephanie M. Jones, founder and CEO of Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., and Blacks in Travel & Tourism emphasizes the need for change. “As travel and tourism continue to take shape post-pandemic, there’s a need to radically change how the industry manages its stewardship of destinations and better engage the residents who live there,” says Jones. “The primary goal of POPS is to generate action and partnerships, calling for industry transformation.”
Delta Airlines Completes Delta Sky Way at LAX 18 Months Ahead of Schedule
Sept. 7, 2023—Delta Airlines and Los Angeles World Airports have announced that the final phase of the $2.3 billion Delta Sky Way at LAX project is complete. Moving airside walkways now connect Delta’s Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Bussing between the terminals is no longer necessary. This renovation makes it easier than ever for travelers to move directly between the terminals.
Vice President of Global Sales Scott Santoro says, “This modern, state-of-the-art facility has been at the center of Delta’s efforts to become the premier airline of Los Angeles, and now, as we celebrate this years-long project being finished much earlier than expected, we are better equipped than ever to provide Angelenos and all of our customers traveling through LA with the truly seamless and elevated experience that they deserve.”
Just this past June, the Delta One check-in area opened to provide customers with more of this seamless experience. This includes self-service kiosks for printing boarding passes and dropping bags. Delta One customers are offered a private TSA screening lane, access to the Delta Sky Club and light food and beverages along with onsite service assistance. Delta completed renovations to Terminal 3 this past April.
W South Beach Implements Innovative 360-degree Immersive Mapping Tech
Sept. 6, 2023—W South Beach is the first hotel in North America to implement 360-degree immersive mapping technology. This is part of its ongoing $6 million meeting space renovation. In their new ballroom, they have installed a built-in projection system that can transform the 4,300 sq. ft. blank canvas into any setting desired. The only requirement is light. The projection system has pre-set color schemes and a digital library of stills and video displays. Energy-efficient customizable LED lighting is built into 12 ceiling coves and six wall arches.
Norse Atlantic Airways Debuts New Direct Flight Between LA and Paris
Sept. 6, 2023—Norse Atlantic Airways, a leader in low-cost long-haul airlines, has announced that it will now be offering a new direct route between Los Angeles and Paris, taking place six days a week. The flight will cost as low as $279 one-way and will last about 11 hours, departing from LAX at 9:10 PM PDT and arriving in CDG at 5:00 PM CEST (+1); they will depart from CDG at 4:15 PM CEST and arrive in LAX at 7:05 PM PDT (same-day). Flights are available for purchase now, and will commence on May 1st, 2024.
Norse Atlantic Airways launched in 2021 and since then has offered affordable long-haul flights mainly between the U.S. and Europe. They operate a fleet of 15 modern, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly Boing 737 Dreamliners serving destinations including but not limited to San Francisco, New York, Orlando, Oslo, London and Berlin.
IEG Chairman of the Board of Directors Passes Away
Sept. 5, 2023—Leading international trade fair company, Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A. (IEG) announced on September 5, 2023, that Mr. Lorenzo Cagnoni, Chairman of the Board of Directors with power of attorney, has passed away. At the time of his passing, he holds 13,000 shares of IEG.
The Board of Directors will integrate the board and appoint the new chairman in accordance with the Articles of Association and current law.
Smart Meetings extends their deepest condolences to Mr. Cagnoni’s family and loved ones for this immense loss.
Monterey Country CVB Rebrands as See Monterey
Aug. 31, 2023—As park of an ongoing an effort to advance an innovative, sustainable era of responsible tourism and establish Monterey County as a global destination, Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau has announced its rebranding as See Monterey. This new name not only is more streamlined and recognizable, but encourages visitors to deeply engage with exploration and diversity of experience during their stay.
Its new brand platform, “Find Your Way Here,” too, is an invitation to make an active effort to seek connection with Monterey’s incredible natural environment, where the redwoods meet the coastline, and embrace the moments in that space with the people around them and with themselves.
A new logo, color palette, redesigned advertisements and a digital footprint all accompany these changes and embody their mission.
Fox World Travel’s Scan for a Cause Initiative Benefits PACT
Aug. 31, 2023—At it’s 2023 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Dallas, Fox World Travel implemented its Scan for a Cause initiative. Under this initiative, participants could simply showed up and had their name badge scanned by a member of the Fox World Travel team, and for each scan, Fox would donate to Protect All Children from Trafficking (PACT). They raised over $5,000 to donate to the organization.
This initiative is part of Fox’s commitment to uplifting sustainable practices in the travel industry with a focus on three core priorities: People, Planet and Principles.
Improvement in US-China Travel on Horizon
Aug. 30, 2023—U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s official visit to China this week presents a sizable opportunity to restore the Chinese inbound travel market, according to a release by U.S. Travel Association. China was the third largest overseas inbound market to the U.S. (pre-pandemic) and provided $33 billion in annual travel export income for the U.S. economy—more than any other market. Two key focus areas for the government to increase travel from China are lowering visa wait time (now averaging 149 days) and increasing air service capacity. On the second point, U.S. and Chinese officials reached an agreement to increase weekly flights from the U.S. to 24 by October 29, which is still less than 10% (340 weekly flights) of pre-pandemic capacity.
On the upside, overseas travel to the U.S. experienced a boost last month, increasing from 73% recovered (compared to 2019 levels) in June to 78% in July.
New Orleans Music Industry Flourishes with the Launch of METRONOME
Aug. 30, 2023—New Orleans is known as the city that is Built to Host. Its abundant music scene continues to grow with the addition of METRONOME, a program recently launched by Greater New Orleans, Inc and New Orleans and Company in partnership with The Idea Village, Louisiana Entertainment and the City of New Orleans.
METRONOME puts forth a series of programs designed for entrepreneurs who are solving problems or building new opportunities in the music industry. The full ten-week program will pair participants with a dedicated industry mentor and provide one-on-one coaching sessions, specialized workshops and networking opportunities. This is a fantastic opportunity for planners working in the music industry or with music industry professionals who seek to grow the industry’s business aspect.
CHLAHF Awards Scholarships to 53 Students Pursuing Hospitality-related Degrees at 12 California Colleges
Aug. 28, 2023—The California Hotel & Lodging Association Hospitality Foundation (CHLAHF), in conjunction with the CHLA Education Foundation and the Hotel & Restaurant Foundation, has awarded a total of $164,000 in scholarships to 53 students pursing degrees in hospitality, tourism and culinary arts across 12 California Colleges.
These schools include San Diego State University, San Jose State, Cal Poly Pomona, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, California State University Long Beach, California State University East Bay and Sacramento State University. The scholarship intends to elevate the California Hospitality Industry by supporting education and research opportunities for industry employees and hospitality students.
Students at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) and the Sustainable Hospitality Management program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) received over $25,000 in these scholarships.
Foundation President and General Manager at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco Michael Pace says, “This year’s scholarship recipients have demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication, and we are thrilled to use these awards to cultivate the next generation of hospitality leaders, ensuring a prosperous future for the entire California hospitality industry.”
Center for Exhibition Industry Research Announces New Direction
Aug. 24, 2023—The Center for Exhibition Industry Research has announced a new look for CEIR that will focus on a renewed commitment to delivering modern innovative and exciting reports that will ultimately allow customers to be able to put on better events.
Click here to get a sneak peak of their new look.
Black Travel Summit Announces Second Annual Gathering
Aug. 24, 2023—Black Travel Summit has announced that the second annual conference of the Black travel community will take place from October 20th to 22nd at the Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami.
In partnership with the Black Travel Alliance (BTA) the three-day celebration will offer a series of speakers and partnerships dedicated to uplifting the Black travel movement.
“We’re excited about the program for our second annual summit because it illustrates the ever-growing visibility, innovation, and economic power of the Black traveler and travel professional,” said Anita Francois, the visionary founder, and CEO of Black Travel Summit. “We’re honored to elevate our movement this year and highlight the leaders of our community by joining forces with the Black Travel Alliance.”
For more information on the Black Travel Summit click here.
Newark Liberty International Airport Completes Terminal A Renovation, And Plans for More
Aug. 23, 2023—The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is leading a complete renovation of the Newark Liberty International Airport, and as of today announced the completion of the first major effort with the Terminal A renovation.
Now at 1 million sq. ft., Terminal A includes 33 gates and will be the new home terminal of Delta Air Lines. It includes a new 7,000 sq. ft. Delta passenger lounge with an acoustic sound system designed to absorb the outside sounds of the airport so guests of Delta’s Sky Club can enjoy a peaceful, quiet environment before their flight. The terminal as a whole features a light, airy design, is decorated with local art and was constructed according to LEED silver certification standards from the U.S. Green Building Council. Guests can enjoy retail, food and beverage shops local to Newark, Elizabeth and Jersey City alongside national and global brands.
The airport is now beginning efforts towards a privately financed Rent-A-Car facility that will consolidate 10 rental car operations in one location, expected to open later in 2024. They are also looking toward updating their AirTrain Newark system with a new 2.5-mile automated train system to more conviniently transfer passengers across terminals, parking lots and car rental facilities.
Gaylord Rockies Begins Phase Two of an Expansive Renovation
Aug. 22, 2023—Just five years after its grand opening, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, the largest combined resort and convention center in Colorado, has announced plans to begin phase two of a multi-year investment plan.
Phase One saw a redesign of the property’s outdoor lawn spaces and the addition of dining terraces for Old Hickory Steakhouse and Mountain Pass Sports Bar. This upcoming set of re-enhancements will include the addition of a new bar and restaurant concepts in the Grand Lodge: The Embers Lodge Bar and The Fortune Prospecter. This project has an anticipated completion date of spring 2024. They will also re-concept their two existing restaurants, Monte Jade and Vista Montagne, to Garden & Grain and Copper Table.
The property’s new event pavilion, the Mountain View Pavilion, is set to welcome guests in 2024. It encompasses 12,118 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor pre-function space, over 14,000 sq. ft. of outdoor terraces and patios, 15,000 sq. ft. of turfed lawn areas as well as interior spaces featuring floor to ceiling windows, banquet space, an indoor fireplace and unmatched views of the Rocky Mountains.
General Manager Suzy Hart says, “You rarely see this amount of growth in a resort property. We just completed a major exterior enhancement in April and now we’re ready to give guests the interior experience of their dreams.”
Fort Worth Convention Center Begins Renovation Project
Aug. 18, 2023—The Texas Forth Worth Convention Center has announced plans to begin a $95 million renovation and expansion. This August, they begin Phase 1, during which they will install new F&B facilities, an outdoor terrace, four new docks, renovated exhibit hall restrooms and a lightbox atrium entrance. They will also demolish a 1993 annex and realign Commerce Street to create a site for a new convention center hotel. These projects have an anticipated completion date of 2026, and the center will remain open and operational through construction.
New Legislation Addressing Visa Delays is a Win for the Meetings Industry
Aug. 18, 2023—The Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA) today released a statement in support of the bipartisan Visa Processing Improvement Act (Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN and Sen. Jerry Morgan, R-KS). The act intends to improve visa processing in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consumer Affairs by:
- increasing consular office flexibility and capacity,
- improving transparency and accountability,
- revising in-person interview waiver eligibility, and
- improving the service experience
In all, this will help to resolve the lengthy visitor visa appointment wait times that harm business events. Vinnie Polito, Society of Independent Show Organizers CEO and ECA co-president, says, “From setting clear goals for interview wait times to introducing new modernized processes, the Visa Processing Improvement Act would improve visa operations at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world and help our international stakeholders get back to business in the U.S.”
Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s president and CEO and chair of the ECA board of directors says, “The legislation opens the doors to welcome back numerous international exhibitors, attendees, and buyers to U.S. events, revitalizing access to essential customer bases and unlocking opportunities.”
More legislation is on the table. In both the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs legislation also addressed visa concerns. The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations recently held a subcommittee hearing that discussed the impacts of visa delays, with special attention paid to the issue’s effects on the business events sector. The ECA will continue to engage on Capitol Hill in support of the Visa Processing Improvement Act and other ongoing efforts by Congress to reduce visa delays.
Tourism Diversity Matters Awards Dinner Honors NAACP
Aug. 18, 2023—Tourism Diversity Matters, a 501(c)(6) that works to empower tourism organizations to achieve excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will host their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference: The Collective Experience. At their annual Awards Dinner, sponsored by Meet Boston, on October 23, 2023, they will recognize the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) with their prestigious award, which honors an organization with demonstrated success and commitment to DEI.
Executive Director of TDM Greg DeShields says of NAACP, “They pioneered the civil rights movement in the 20th century and continue their extraordinary work today to end race-based discrimination through 21st activism. It is an honor to recognize their achievements in DEI excellence.”
Solar Eclipse Backpacking Adventure Tour in Death Valley
Aug. 17, 2023—A rare total solar eclipse on October 14th will coincide with a 5-day backpacking tour put on by Escape Adventures. With low-light pollution and clear skies, spectators will be able to see the solar event.
Guests will see Death Valley National Park, Red Rock Canyon, Spicer Ranch Trailers, Titus Canyon, Monarch Canyon, Stovepipe Wells and Cottonwood Valley. Prices for the adventure start at $1,699 and include all internal land expenses and services.
AHLA Releases Statement on GSA FY2024 Per Diem Rates
Aug. 17, 2023—The General Services Administration (GSA) announced its Fiscal Year 2024 per diem rates, which govern reimbursement for federal employees’ lodging and meal expenses for official government travel, will be rising. The GSA calculates per diems based on the average daily rate (ADR) of lodging properties in the continental U.S. over a trailing 12-month period. The 2024 report calls for increases across non-standard areas (NSAs) as well as a $9 increase to the continental United States lodging rate. This brings the 2024 per diem rate to $166, including $107 for lodging, up from $98. Meal reimbursement remains unchanged at $59.
AHLA works with GSA in an effort to maintain a fair agreement on per diem rates for both hoteliers and the government. AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers says, “This is a positive step for many hoteliers across the country, as government travel supports billions in travel spending, and many private sector organizations also base travel reimbursement on federal per diem rates. We thank GSA for working to ensure hotels are fairly compensated for the excellent services they provide government travelers year in and year out.”
Florida sees its strongest international visitation numbers since 2019
Aug. 16, 2023—VISIT FLORIDA announces today that Q1 and Q2 of Calendar Year 2023 saw 70.8 million visitors. These numbers mark a 21.8% increase in overseas visitors and an 81.1% increase in Canadian visitors, compared to 2022. Between April and June 2023, Florida recorded a total of 33.1 million visitors. 1.9 million visited from overseas, 846,000 visited from Canada and 30.3 million visited from other states in the US. Florida’s 80% recovery rate compared to 2019 numbers leads the US in the highest post pandemic recovery rate of international travelers.
VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young says, “VISIT FLORIDA has been laser-focused on building our key international markets and ensuring the return of international visitors to Florida, and that work has paid off.”
Meet Boston Debuts New Partnership Model
Aug. 16, 2023—In a thoughtful reworking of its goal to drive tourism-related business to the Boston region, Meet Boston, formerly known as The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), announces its shift from a membership model to a partnership model, based on 6 pillars.
According to Meet Boston Executive Vice President Hilina D. Ajakaiye, the partnership model is intended to “serve as an advocate and ambassador in the travel sector, leading conversations around workforce development, diversity, equity and inclusion, accessibility and sustainability.” The partnership model will more equitably distribute how and where visitors spend money in the greater Boston area. Meet Boston President and CEO Martha J. Sheridan shares that the term “partner” more accurately applies to their value of creating a unified voice for the region.
Since the spring launch, 75 partners have joined Meet Boston. The partnerships that Meet Boston has established and will continue to establish will expand the options for meeting planners bringing their meeting to Boston in terms of dining, meeting spaces, attractions and more.
GMCVB Announces New Multi-Media Marketing Campaigns
Aug. 14, 2023—The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) announced two strategic marketing campaigns to share the vibrant experiences unique to Greater Miami with travelers and meetings planners around the world. Both campaigns will showcase innovative new marketing and advertising strategies, promoted through a blend of print ads, display banners, interactive mobile and desktop display ads, online video (OLV) ads, social media promotion, a dedicated url on MiamiandMiamiBeach.com and dedicated emails.
GMCVB tailors to audience personas and is founded on the ideas of building from their existing strength, leveraging performance and visitor momentum and leaning into five pillars central to Miami as a destination: Outdoor Oasis, Cultural Capital, Rich Heritage, Health & Wellness and Meetings & Conventions.
The Find Your Miami campaign seeks to introduce prospective visitors to all that Miami offers to travels through self-defined elements through their creative play on words: Be Artventerous, Celovebration, Deluxious, Fitnescape, Symposium and more.
The Miami Beach Find Your Wave campaign zones in on the distinctive beach life of Miami and will leverage the distinct luxury of a beach destination, while also promoting the Miami Beach Convention Center.
DFW Airport Breaks Ground on Sustainable Utility Plant
Aug. 14, 2023—Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) began the first phase of construction on its new electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP), said to provide heating and cooling to support the growth of DFW. The facility will be mostly fueled by electricity purchased by the airport that comes from 100% renewable sources.
“DFW Airport is investing in the future of sustainable aviation, and the addition of a fully electric utility plant is a major component of achieving net-zero carbon emissions from airport operations by 2030,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW. “As we prepare to build new gates and other critical infrastructure, we also will ensure that our growth is environmentally responsible and resilient.”
eCUP is scheduled to begin official construction this summer and open mid-2025.
Brightspot Incentives and Events Announces Merger with Incentive Team
Aug. 11, 2023—Brightspot Incentives and Events, in the incentives and channel programs industry, merges with Incentive Team, an incentive company specializing in the kitchen and bath industries. Effective immediately, the merger will help Brightspot expand its reach across industries, build their capabilities and build on Incentive Team’s competitive presence. Their clients can now enjoy broader offerings and an enhanced experience, and Brightspot has the opportunity to expand their relationships with leading showroom professionals.
Brightspot looks forward to talent and technical expertise Incentive Team’s employees will bring to incentive strategy, client account management and web development. Peter Goldberger, President of Incentive Team, will be take a part-time role as an Account Executive at Brightspot.
Mike May, CEO of Brightspot, says, “We are thrilled about this merger with Incentive Team as it expands our reach into new industries and reinforces our commitment to providing unparalleled incentives and channel programs to our clients. The combined expertise and experience will enable us to deliver even more comprehensive solutions that drive long-term value for our clients.”
AEO Launches #ChooseEvents Campaign
Aug. 10, 2023—The Association of Event Organizers today announced its #ChooseEvents campaign to highlight the events industry and display the enormous talent throughout by sharing inspiring member stories, videos, and ideas. It will run on AEO’s social media channels and emails. They hope to inspire a new generation of bright minds to enter the events industry with enthusiasm, recognizing the ample opportunities, career growth, diverse set of roles and genuine fun that they can have as professionals in events.
Co-founder of Expocast Mike Frost says, “Thousands of extraordinary people have stumbled into the events industry, and while we will continue to gain talent through chance, now is the moment to push this campaign out and show people the many wonderful reasons they should be choosing the sector more proactively.”
ASAE Research Foundation Announces Eight 2023 CAE Scholarship Award Recipients
Aug. 10, 2023—The ASAE Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity in support of ASAE, offers grants of $500 for select individuals to put towards application fees or exam preparation, as well as membership rates for the CAE exam registration.
The 2023 CAE Scholarship recipients are:
- Kelsey Copeland, MFA Communications and Events Director, Associated Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors of Texas
- Dr. Ashley Cross, Sr. Director of Education and Content, Association of Technology Leaders in Independent schools
- Derrick Johnson, CMP, DES, Convention and Events Director, National Medical Association
- Meda Merritt, Sr. Director of Membership & Chapter Development, American Fire Sprinkler Association
- Rebecca Morgan, MPA, AP, Executive Director, Nisha Media Leadership Solutions
- Noelle Parsons, MA, Account Manager, Strategic Association Management
- Shena Seppanen, Assistant Executive Director, Society For Biomaterials
- Patricia Woodley, M.Ed, International Membership Director, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International
Lowell Applebaum, FASAE, CAE, CPF, says “Those three letters after your name, they open the door to a world of opportunity and often are a key piece of the path to leadership in our profession.”
On behalf of Smart Meetings, congratulations to the 2023 CAE Scholarship recipients.
AHLA Foundation Announces Over 1 Million Completed Anti-Human Trafficking Trainings
Aug. 9, 2023—Trainings designed to help hotel employees recognize and report signs of possible on-property human trafficking, developed by Marriott International, distributed by PACT and funded by American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), have now been completed over one million times by hotel employees across the United States.
This is only one part of AHLA’s anti-trafficking efforts. Last month, AHLA held their 2023 No Room for Trafficking Summit, where they awarded $500,000 in grants from the No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund to four community-based organizations that serve survivors of human trafficking. Currently, the fund stands at $3.5 million. By the end of 2023, the AHLA Foundation plans to achieve $10 million in contributions.
This industry-wide initiative recognizes the unique opportunity of hospitality professionals to disrupt and prevent human trafficking, for which trainings like these are essential.
Freeman Announces Acquisition of Brand Experience Agency Sparks
Aug. 5, 2023—Freeman announced today that it has acquired Sparks, a global brand experience agency. Founded in 1919 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sparks is recognized for providing award-winning exhibit and event experiences to a diverse group of Fortune 1000 brands, including Google, Salesforce, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and T-Mobile.
Sparks will combine with Freeman’s award-winning agency business, which also caters to major corporate clients, including Amazon, Cisco, and Kohler.
This agency combination will focus on the corporate market and complements Freeman’s industry expertise and operational excellence, positioning the Company to accelerate its growth by meeting the evolving needs of corporate clients and show organizers.
“Our combination with Sparks creates a unique opportunity to accelerate Freeman’s vision to become a leader in the corporate space,” said Bob Priest-Heck, Freeman CEO. “Sparks, like Freeman, is built by great people, has a long history of success, and is one of the most respected names in the industry. We couldn’t be more excited to have Sparks’ talented team join Freeman at this exciting time for the industry.”
Discover The Palm Beaches Announces Accessible Tourism Program
Aug. 4, 2023—Official non-profit accredited tourism marketing organization for the 39 cities and towns collectively known as The Palm Beaches in Florida has earned the Certified Autism Center designation through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), Wheel the World and Travelability.
IBCCES is the only credentialing organization that provides a certification program developed through evidence-based training, the perspectives of individuals with autism, onsite reviews, customized recommendations and renewal requirements. This credential is the first step in a long-term accessibility program on the part of Discover The Palm Beaches. They aim to become a Certified Autism Destination and to partner with various area attractions, hotels and recreation areas to successfully complete autism and sensory training and certification. Through these efforts, Discover The Palm Beaches demonstrates its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for all travelers to be understood and receive proper accommodations.
California Lieutenant Governor Asks Taylor Swift to Postpone LA Concert in Solidarity with Striking Hotel Workers
Aug. 2, 2023—Thousands of Southern California hotel workers are on strike to call for higher pay to match inflation, more hires to reduce large workloads and better working conditions. The strike began on July 4th and continues today. California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and numerous California senators, assemblymembers and mayors signed a letter requesting that Taylor Swift postpone her 6 days of concerts in Los Angeles to show solidarity with the striking workers represented by Unite Here Local 11. “Your shows make our region’s hotels a lot of money. In Los Angeles, hotels are doubling and tripling what they charge because you are coming,” the letter states. The letter requests of Swift “Stand with hotel workers and postpone your concerts.” Swift so far has not released a response.
Indianapolis Breaks Ground on Convention Center Expansion
Aug. 2, 2023—Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Visit Indy President and CEO Leonard Hoops gathered with community leaders to break ground on Indiana Convention Center’s (ICC) sixth expansion.
“Over the past decades, the Indiana Convention Center has hosted some of the most iconic large events in Indiana and America, while generating billions of dollars in economic impact and supporting a hospitality and service sector with over 80,000 jobs,” said Mayor Hogsett. “This latest expansion and hotel addition will keep Indianapolis at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to the perfect host venue—and city.”
Along with the expansion, a 40-story Signia by Hilton will also be included, raising the total number of hotels rooms connected via climate-controlled skywalks to more than 5,500 in Indianapolis.
The expansion is expected to be completed by summer of 2026.
Virgin Red and Virgin Hotels’ The Know Partner Up
Aug. 1, 2023—Virgin Red and Virgin Hotels’ The Know members can now link their profiles to earn Virgin Points for their next stay.
Members of the program will now be able to earn and spend Virgin Points in a wider variety of ways, whether staying at a Virgin hotel or shopping at participating business. When staying at a Virgin property, visitors will earn five Virgin Points for every $1 spent at participating U.S.-based properties and seven Virgin Points for every £1 spent at participating U.K.-based properties.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Virgin Hotels to make it even easier for our members to earn points on their next stay,” Andrea Burchett, managing director of commercial and loyalty for Virgin Red, says. “With hotels popping up across the U.S. and U.K., we want to reward our members staying at Virgin Hotels with points to spend on everyday treats or extraordinary experiences.”
Street Love Foundation Organizes Meal Packing at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City on Aug. 2, 2023
July 31, 2023—If you find yourself in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Aug. 2, make your way to Harrah’s Resort to join Street Love Foundation partnered with Meals of Hope. There, at 9:30 a.m., you can join nearly 150 already-registered volunteers in packing 50,000 nutritious meals over the course of a few hours. These meals will be distributed to local food banks and charitable institutions such as Project HOME and AC Rescue Mission.
President and Founder of Street Love Foundation Liz Schneider began the organization with her neighbor, Vice President of Street Love Foundation Jill Plotnik, during the Covid-19 pandemic. They began by loading Liz’s car with 20 fresh meals to distribute to those in need around Atlantic City. Today, the foundation’s inspiring growth is visible through this event.
When: Aug. 2 at 9:30 a.m.
Register to volunteer at streetlovefoundation.com.
Oak View Group Partners with Tulsa Public Facilities Authority
July 28, 2023—Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) has voted unanimously to grant Oak View Group (OVG) a venue management and F&B contract for its music venue, BOK Center, and Cox Business Convention Center.
“We know the potential of the Tulsa market, and we know BOK Center and Cox Business Convention Center are centerpieces of that forward movement” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group.
“Oak View Group has a number of leaders—John [Bolton, senior vice president at OVG], Jeff [Nickler, senior vice president at OVG and general manager of Austin’s Moody Center], Casey [Sparks, vice president of OVG Austin] and Joe [Giordano, vice president of OVG’s arena, stadium and theater alliances]—who have deep roots and a profound respect for the market, coupled with long-time relationships with the city’s key stakeholders and among the community. OVG working in Tulsa will feel like coming home, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
OVG manages more than 60 convention centers across North America. In the last two years, the company has opened several arenas across the United States, including Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center; UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; Acrisure Arena in Greater Palm Springs, California; and CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, its most recent opening.
The Allegretto Vineyard Resort Proudly Announces 2023 Ayres Cares Scholarship Awardees
July 25, 2023—21 local employees and family members of The Allegretto Vineyard Resort have been awarded the 2023 Ayres Cares Scholarship Fund, out of its 57 total scholarships this year. This makes Allegretto team members 36% of the total recipients. The Allegretto management’s brand “We Care About People” rings true, with over 250 employees who have majority been there for an average of five years.
These scholarships support team members and the children or legal wards of team members who are employed by and in good standing with Ayres Hotels, Ayres Group or affiliated companies and are enrolled in college, community college, trade school or vocational training. There is no age limit to apply.
Congratulations to Omar Acevedo, Mayzee Armstrong, Christina Ayala, Michael Brown, Alexandria Coggins, Tristan Compton, Mauricio Diego, Dylan Griewank, Finley Hungerford, Samuel Juarez, Joshua Martinez, Amy Mintun, Cynthia Navarro, Ryland Patti, Stefan Pedrazza, Israel Perez Pedrazza, Macie Pinedo, Calvin Seely, Brooke Taylor, Christian Torres, and Alex Wassam at Allegretto!
UPS Dodges Strike After Reaching Tentative Deal
July 25, 2023—UPS may have dodged a massive strike involving 340,000 unionized workers after reaching a tentative deal Tuesday, potentially avoiding a work stoppage that threatened to derail logistics across the country, AP reports.
“Together we reached a win-win-win agreement on the issues that are important to Teamsters leadership, our employees and to UPS and our customers,” said Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer, in a written statement. “This agreement continues to reward UPS’s full- and part-time employees with industry-leading pay and benefits while retaining the flexibility we need to stay competitive, serve our customers and keep our business strong.”
The tentative agreement is seen as both “historic” and “lucrative” by the Teamsters and includes $2.75 more per hour in 2023, $7.50 more per hour over the length of the five-year contract, and an increased starting pay for part-time employees at $21 an hour, up from the current hourly rate of $16.20.
San Francisco Awarded More Michelin Honors
July 24, 2023—Last week’s 2023 MICHELIN Guide California awards confirmed that San Francisco remains the culinary capital of the Golden State. The City by the Bay boasts 27 Michelin-starred restaurants and the San Francisco Bay Area is now home to 50 of the 87 California restaurants awarded Michelin stars.
Two San Francisco restaurants—Aphotic, a restaurant specializing in sustainable and dry-aged seafood, and Nari, a Thai restaurant—earned their first Michelin stars, and all of the city’s previously awarded two-star and three-star restaurants retained their honors. Aphotic was also honored with a Michelin Green Star, which recognized the establishment for its commitment to sustainability. Altogether, San Francisco is home to half of the state’s three-star Michelin restaurants and five of its 12 two-star establishments, plus three of its 15 Green Star restaurants.
Michelin also recognized the city’s rising culinary talent for the second year in a row. Chef Harrison Cheney, the executive chef at Sons & Daughters, received the prestigious Michelin Young Chef Award, which was awarded to Chef David Yoshimura of San Francisco’s Nisei last year.
“For a small city only seven-by-seven square miles, San Francisco is one of the world’s great gastronomic hubs,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “We are thrilled to see the city’s incredible culinary scene recognized again by Michelin.”
U.S. Travel Association Urges Completion of FAA Reauthorization Bill
July 24, 2023—U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman issued the following statement on the urgent need for the U.S. Senate to markup its version of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill and correct years of governmental failures:
“While the Senate may be eager to fly home to start their August recess, millions of Americans have missed trips and lost time with family and friends this summer due to delays and cancellations caused by years of government inattention. The whole of the U.S. economy pays a price when a trip is delayed—or avoided entirely due to air travel hassles.
“In fact, over half of Americans say they would travel more if the experience were less of a hassle.
“The Senate must markup its FAA reauthorization bill this week. American travelers cannot wait any longer for Congress to fix the numerous, systemic issues that have plagued the U.S. air travel system and constrained economic growth.”
Boeing Announces Pilot Training Scholarships to Diversify, Expand Talent
July 24, 2023—Boeing today announced $950,000 in scholarships to fund pilot training programs with the goal of adding a diverse pool of talent amid the anticipated long-term demand for commercial airline pilots, according to a press release.
Boeing will allocate $500,000 to fund 25 scholarships within five educational programs. These organizations include Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Latino Pilots Association, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies and Women in Aviation International.
The remaining $450,000 will be provided to Fly Compton, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit geared toward introducing minority youth to careers in aerospace. The scholarship funding will increase flight training classes and related career topics for students within the Compton community in the Los Angeles area. Boeing has invested over $8.5 million to fund pilot training programs for underrepresented communities since 2019.
“The demand for qualified and diverse pilots remains high at airlines worldwide. While becoming a pilot provides a lifelong career, access to training remains a barrier to entry for many,” said Ziad Ojakli, executive vice president of Government Operations at Boeing. “These organizations are helping the next generation of pilots realize their full potential while also showing communities that are historically underrepresented in the industry that a future in aviation is possible.”
Boeing projects 602,000 new pilots will be needed to pilot and maintain commercial airlines globally over the next 20 years.
Cvent and Choice Hotels International Announce Cvent Instant Book Product
July 24, 2023—Event technology provider Cvent announced at Cvent Connect that it will be rolling out a new direct booking integration with Choice Hotels franchised properties in the third quarter of the year. Meeting planners can search, compare real-time rates and availability and book rooms online without submitting an RFP.
“We’re proud to work with Choice Hotels International to further expand our Cvent Instant Book experience,” said Jim Abramson, Cvent Vice President of Product Management. “This new functionality reflects our shared vision of making booking and managing meetings & events easier – for both planners and hoteliers alike. By embracing innovative technology like Cvent Instant Book, Choice Hotels is prioritizing the customer experience, and now, each of their property owners can easily tap into our extensive global network of 110,000 meeting and event organizers who trust Cvent to find the right venue and power their events.”
Destinations International and Destinations International Foundation Announce New Board Members
July 21, 2023—The 2023-2024 association Board of Directors for Destinations International and Destinations International Foundation Board of Trustees will be headed by President and CEO of New York City Tourism and Conventions, Fred Dixon, as Chair of Destinations International, and President and CEO of Destination Madison, Ellie Westman Chin, CDME, as Chair of Destinations International Foundation. Others include the following:
Association Board Director Slate 2023/2024:
• Beth Erickson, CDME, President & CEO, Visit Loudoun
• Bethanie DeRose, CDME, Senior Vice President, JLL
• Domenic Bravo, CDME, CEO, Visit Cheyenne
• Julie Calvert, President & CEO, Visit Cincy
• Kristin McGrath, CDME, Executive Director, Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Kyle Edmiston, CDME, President and CEO, Visit Lake Charles
• Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, CQIA, President & CEO, ASAE
• Victoria Cimino, President & CEO, Visit Williamsburg
• Yrjötapio “YT” Kivisaari, CEO, Visit Oulu
2023/2024 Slate of Officers:
• Chair: Fred Dixon, New York City Tourism + Conventions
• Chair-Elect: Scott White, Visit Greater Palm Springs
• Immediate Past-Chair: Al Hutchinson, Visit Baltimore
• Treasurer: Leslie Bruce, President and CEO, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Bureau
• Secretary: Kyle Edmiston, CDME, President and CEO, Visit Lake Charles
Foundation Board Trustee Slate 2023/2024:
• James Jackson, President & CEO, Tourism Jasper
• Jerad Bachar, CDME, President & CEO, VisitPITTSBURGH
• Jessica Ireland, Founder, Sunshine & Bourbon
• Katherine O’Donnell, CDME, Executive Vice President, Richmond Region Tourism
• Martha Sheridan, President & CEO, Meet Boston
• Todd O’Leary, CDME, CTIS, VP, Marketing & Communications, Sonoma County Tourism
• Victoria Clarke, CDME, CEO, Tourism Mississauga
2023/2024 Slate of Officers:
• Chair: Ellie Westman Chin, CDME, President & CEO, Destination Madison
• Chair-Elect: Amir Eylon, President & CEO, Longwoods International
• Immediate Past-Chair: Vail Ross, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development & Marketing, STR
• Treasurer/Secretary: Martha Sheridan, President & CEO, Meet Boston
• At Large Office: Steven Paganelli, CDME, Head of Destination Marketing, Americas, TripAdvisor
Destinations International Announces 7 New DMAP Accreditations
July 19, 2023—Destinations International today announced seven newly DMAP-accredited destinations during Destinations International’s Annual Convention in Dallas, Texas, according to a press release. The Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) recognizes a destination organization’s commitment to excellence in the meetings industry and its accountability as a destination marketing organization.
“Never before has destination organization relevance been so critical to the economy of the destinations that Destinations International members represent,” said Karen Fisher, MBA, CDME, chief financial officer of VisitPITTSBURGH and chair of the DMAP Board of Directors. “Destination organizations are the destination’s brand owners and participation in DMAP demonstrates a destination organization’s commitment to operating within a set of strict standards that sends a strong message to stakeholders that the organization entrusted with the destination brand has the infrastructure and expertise to positively impact the visitor economy for the benefit visitors and residents alike.”
The seven new destinations to receive the DMAP accreditation include Visit Fort Wayne, Experience Scottsdale, Visit Rapid City, Destin – Fort Walton Beach Florida Tourism, Visit Salt Lake, Port Aransas Tourism Bureau & Chamber of Commerce and Visit Gainesville, Alachua County.
Bartolotta Restaurants Names New Senior Director of Human Resources
July 19, 2023—Bartolotta Restaurants has announced Gabriella Bauer, PHR, SHRM-CP, as the organization’s new Senior Director of Human Resources, according to a press release. Bauer joins the restaurant and catering group based in the Greater Milwaukee region with over 20 years of experience and will drive improvements to ensure the seamless integration of HR practices that align with Bartolotta’s goals and values.
“At its core, the hospitality industry is about genuine, enduring relationships and creating lasting memories,” says The Bartolotta Restaurants Chief Executive Officer Keith Trafton. “Our team members are integral to this. Gabriella is an innovative and adaptable leader that will enable us to continue to grow and develop our talent base, while supporting our team and our culture, centered around our hospitality heart.”
Destination International Membership Surpasses 700 Across 26 Countries, Territories
July 19, 2023—Destinations International today announced the expansion of their membership to over 700 members across 26 countries and territories from around the world. The announcement was made by Destinations International President and CEO, Don Welsh during the Destinations International Annual Convention, according to a press release.
“Destinations International exists for the sole benefit of our members and everything we do is to support their efforts in their communities,” Welsh said. “We all realized both during and post pandemic, that there is much to be gained by a global membership engaging and collaborating with one another. Our organization believes in the power of travel and having a strong member community around the world allows destination leaders to engage with and learn from one another to enrich the lives of the people who live, work and travel within their destinations.”
The latest addition to Destinations International’s extensive roster of members is Saudi Arabia and is the first member from the Middle East to join.
United Expands Across the Pacific
July 18, 2023 – United Airlines has announced in a press release its prolific expansion to offer more flights across the Pacific Ocean. Destinations will include Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo. Already making history earlier this year as achieving the largest South Pacific expansion in history with its increased flights to New Zealand and Australia, United will continue on its international expansion as these new flights to the South Pacific increase their presence in the region.
“United offers more flights to more destinations across the Pacific than all other U.S. airlines combined,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of global network planning and alliances. “United is the flag carrier of the U.S. and we are excited to bring this new service to Manila while expanding access to Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo.”
The new expansion will begin in late October with flights from San Francisco to Manila, followed by flights from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Following flights will begin to fly into Tokyo, Taipei, and flights will increase to Australia and New Zealand.
Indianapolis Airport Receives $22.58 Million from FAA to Fund Sustainable Innovation
July 17, 2023—The United States’ largest allotment of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program funding will go to Indianapolis Airport Authority. This funding is part of the $92 million going into the FAA’s efforts to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of bringing airports to net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority will receive $22.58 million, which they plan to use to construct solar panels and other energy-efficient infrastructure at the Indianapolis International Airport. This is part of a larger effort on the part of the airport to complete a multi-phased program to transition the airport’s electricity consumption to fully onsite-generated renewable energy, including backup battery storage and during disruptions or outages. The FAA funding will cover the first 25% of this program.
The Indianapolis Airport already boasts one of the largest solar farms on any airport property, internationally, with 87,478 solar panels across 183 acres. IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez says, “We’re committed to environmental sustainability, minimizing the impact of airport operations on the environment, and we’re doing that by exploring continuous improvements and opportunities for innovation.”
Marriott International and MGM Resorts Join Forces
July 17, 2023—Marriott International and MGM Resorts International have just entered a long-term agreement and created “MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy,” scheduled to launch October 2023.
This partnership will include 17 MGM properties, including eight Las Vegas properties and other cities in the United States. Through this partnership, MGM Collection with Marriott Bonvoy properties will be available for booking through Marriott’s website and the Marriott Bonvoy app; they will continue to be available on MGM Resorts’ channels as well.
“This historic, long-term agreement brings together two of the most trusted and iconic brands in hospitality and entertainment,” said Bill Hornbuckle, President and Chief Executive Officer, MGM Resorts. “We’re thrilled to now scale the relationship and offer Marriott Bonvoy members greater distribution access to our award-winning resorts—as well as exclusive event and entertainment opportunities—in Las Vegas and across the U.S.”
Of the 17 resorts joining this new venture, three Las Vegas-based MGM properties will now be affiliated with Marriot collection brands: Bellagio Resort & Casino will join The Luxury Collection, Aria Resort & Casino will join Autograph Collection and Park MGM will join Tribute Portfolio. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will continue to be part of Autograph Collection. Other MGM properties in the U.S. set to join the program are Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi; MGM Grand Detroit; MGM National Harbor in Maryland; and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.
CyberDyme and Discover Puerto Rico Partner in New Virtual Reality Technology
July 14, 2023—CyberDyme and Discover Puerto Rico have partnered to put forth an innovative virtual reality technology, VRtour. With this technology, potential customers can take part in an immersive experience as presenters guide them through Puerto Rico’s state-of-the-art convention center, facilities, culinary landscape, nature and culture, all through a tablet. This will allow customers to experience the allure of the destination from the comfort of their own home.
Ed Carey, chief sales director officer at Discover Puerto Rico, says, “Through VRtour, we have the capability to offer a captivating glimpse into the distinctive allure of Puerto Rico, enabling meeting planners to establish a profound connection with the destination that surpasses conventional marketing endeavors.” Discover Puerto Rico and CyberDyme hope that, with their partnership in this product, Puerto Rico will be seen as the outstanding destination it is and that their customers will be more engaged than ever.
Biden-Harris Administration Announce $60M for Coastal Resilience, Small Businesses
July 11, 2023—The Department of Commerce along with NOAA this week announced the Ocean-based Climate Resilience Accelerators Program with plans to invest $60 million in coastal resilience and small businesses, according to a press release.
“To tackle the urgent threat that climate change poses, we need all hands on deck—that means the public and private sectors — to develop next generation technologies and innovations that will bolster climate resilience and protect our future,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are ensuring that America’s small businesses — the backbone of our economy—are part of developing climate solutions that make our communities healthier and local economies stronger.”
The program is funded through the Inflation Reduction Act and involves public and private partnerships to support small businesses that are working to create sustainable technologies and scale their business models for climate impact. Accelerators consist of private entities that offer a wide array of logistical and training support for small businesses with resources, mentorship and seed funding with the goal of bringing products to market.
Toronto is a Trailblazer in Esport Hospitality
July 10, 2023—The fourth largest gaming market in North America, Toronto is a gaming-industry leader for their championing of DEI. The Esports Travel Summit will see participants such Femme Gaming, Toronto’s Initiative for Diversity and Excellence and the nonprofit group Esport Canada, which prioritizes increasing diversity and representation within the Canadian gaming industry.
The Esports Travel Summit focuses not only on gaming, but also on tourism. Their mission with this summit is to provide continual education of stakeholders in both industries, and their intersection. The city is planning to add an esports-specific venue to its booming hospitality sector.
Joyn Acquires Airnex, Creating The Airnex Group
July 6, 2023—The leading event technology platform Joyn announced today that it has acquired Airnex, Australian-owned business event management company, to form The Airnex Group. Over its 50-year history, Airnex has led the industry in special events, incentives, and international conferences, and together with Joyn, The Airnex Group will use their combined expertise to create innovative technology-led events around the world.
Nicole Walker, Airnex CEO, will serve as the CEO and Group Board Member of The Airnex Group, joined by Jordan Walsh, Co-Founder and CEO of Joyn, as Group Executive Chairman. Tony Ward, former Senior Executive of Xero, Microsoft and LinkedIn, will serve as Director.
Joyn will rebrand as Airnex Live to integrate their technological prowess with the Airnex brand and will relaunch their flagship event technology product as Airnex One. The Airnex Group plans to expand into machine learning and artificial intelligence later this year with a focus on increasing attendee engagement.
Canada Launches New Federal Tourism Growth Strategy
July 5, 2023—Today Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance in Canada Randy Boissonnault launched a new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. President and CEO of Destination Canada Marsha Walden joined tourism stakeholders in Niagara Falls for the announcement of the strategy, after Destination Canada’s meticulous work with stakeholders and the Canadian government to encourage growth in Canada’s tourism economy.
This strategy targets the parts of the tourism sector with the highest growth potential, prioritizing investment in tourism assets, embracing outdoor recreation, partnering to grow Indigenous tourism, attracting international events, and improving federal coordination.
First SoCal Hotel Reaches Deal as Workers Prepare to Strike at Dozens More
July 3, 2023—As thousands of hotel workers at dozens of properties in Southern California prepared to strike over the busy holiday weekend to emphasize their demands for better pay and benefits, The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles reached an agreement for its 15,000 hotel workers according to a press release from Unite Here! Local 11.
Caesar’s Entertainment Announces Plans for Versailles Hotel Tower in Paris Las Vegas
June 29, 2023—Caesar’s Entertainment today announced plans to embark on an over $100 million renovation to create Versailles Tower, which will integrate Horseshoe’s Jubilee Tower into Paris Las Vegas. The 756 renovated guest rooms will be some of the largest on the Strip starting at 436 square feet, and some will feature a 55 square foot balcony with views of the Strip.
The renovation is expected to conclude in late 2023, with a pedestrian bridge in early 2024.
ASAE Announces New Graduating Class of CAE Credentials
June 29, 2023—97 association executives have graduated from the CAE Commission of ASAE with their Certified Association Executive (CAE) credentials this spring of 2023 after successfully completing the internationally administered CAE examination in early May. They join the ranks of over 4,500 industry leaders around the world. They will be honored for their accomplishment at the 2023 ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, alongside the Winter 2022 graduates, on August 5-8. See the list of graduates here.
Diana M.L. Tucker, CAE, Chair of the CAE Commission and Vice President of Membership and Chapter Relations at NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, says, “This achievement reflects not only significant experience and study, but also a return on investment in their pursuit of ongoing learning and career development. We welcome you into a growing community of fellow thought leaders and expert practitioners who are advancing the field of association management.”
Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank Announce Second Year of Small Businesses for Community Partnership Program
June 27, 2023—Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank have announced the lineup of 16 BIPOC-owned businesses in and around Seattle’s Capitol Hill and First Hill Neighborhoods for the second year of their Community Partnership Program. The goal of the program is to increase tourism and economic activity in Seattle and to provide support to local BIPOC-owned businesses. They saw increased visits and sales to the businesses included in last year’s group.
The selected businesses join Visit Seattle’s Partnership base with waived membership dues, receive complimentary financial consulting services, and receive Visit Seattle’s promotional support. Mary Grace Roske, senior vice president of marketing and communications and community relations for Seattle Bank, says “We know the difference it makes when people are intentional about where they shop and look forward to encouraging both locals and visitors to explore the diverse cultural fabric of our neighborhoods.”
To select this year’s businesses, they partnered with Intentionalist, which produces an online guide on intentional spending. The newly opened Convention Center Summit building is expected to attract increased meeting and event attendees to Seattle this year, and they hope to see an influx of visitors to these outstanding businesses.
O’Melveny & Myers Ask For $139M in Legal Fees after $1 Win in American Airlines Nominal Damages Case
June 27, 2023—American Airlines attorneys O’Melveny & Myers have asked a judge to award them over $139 million in legal fees following a $1 trial win over Sabre, the United States’ largest flight search and booking company. Prior to a merger with American Airlines, US Airways had sued Sabre for over $1 billion, accusing them of charging excessive fees and harming their competition in the booking market. The legal fees are intended to cover the decade-long case. Sabre earlier this month lost its bid to block O’Melveny from seeking legal fees, but argued that they should not owe American Airlines millions in fees after their $1 win.
Internet For All: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Allocation of $42.45B High-Speed Internet Grant Program Funds
June 27, 2023—The Biden-Harris administration announced the allocation of $42.45 billion in funding to all 50 U.S. states and territories by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), with funding provided by the president’s “Internet for All” initiative, according to a press release.
“What this announcement means for people across the country is that if you don’t have access to quality, affordable high-speed Internet service now – you will, thanks to President Biden and his commitment to investing in America,” said Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo. “Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good-paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come.”
The initiative is a key component of President Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda with the goal of deploying affordable, high-speed internet service to everyone in the U.S. known as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
LaGuardia Airport Workers Strike in Response to Unfair Labor Practices
June 22, 2023—LaGuardia Airport cabin cleaners and ramp workers are on strike today to protest unfair labor practices, according to a press release from Service Employees International Union. The statement says that their employer, Swissport USA, has responded to collective action with retaliation and interrogation, and that they lack fair wages and affordable healthcare. Their workforce is burdened with staffing shortages and high turnover.
Striking workers planned to come to a 24-hour full work stoppage today, beginning with a rally at 1:00 p.m. EDT. State senators Jessica Ramos, Kristen Gonzalez, John Liu, City Council Member Francisco Moya, and Queen Borough President Donovan Richards, all joined the rally in solidarity.
The union urged Congress to support the fair wages and benefit standards covered by Airport Workers United’s Good Jobs for Good Airports Act in the coming FAA Reauthorization.
At this time, it is unclear if this work stoppage has affected flights.
Denver Welcomes Record-High Numbers of Visitors in 2022
June 22, 2023—In 2022, visitors flocked to Denver in record-high numbers. Up 15% over 2021, 36.3 million visitors surpassed pre-pandemic levels and generated $9.4 billion in revenue. This data was put forth by the 2022 Longwoods International annual visitor profile study. Longwoods International’s research also showed the VISIT DENVER’S impressive ROI for their 2022 summer advertising campaign, resulting in $167 in visitor spending and $19 in taxes for every $1 in advertising investment.
Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER says, “Tourism continues to be a key economic driver for our city, and we are pleased to see travel demand return in such a big way.”
Global DMC Partners Recognizes Top Destination Management Companies
June 21, 2023—Global DMC Partners recognized five Destination Management Companies (DMCs) for leadership and innovation in a special ceremony at their ninth annual Connection event in Dubai. Global DMC Partners President and CEO Catherine Chaulet says, “it is important to us to be able to recognize [our members’] outstanding efforts and achievements, particularly this past year as we saw our industry rebound and grow like never before.”
The winners in each category are:
U.S. DMC Partner of the Year
International DMC Partner of the Year
DMC Achievement Award
U.S. DMC Stellar Performer
Kara Adams, INNOVATX Events
International DMC Stellar Performer
Andrea Wild, The DMC SA
DoJ Announces New National Security Cyber Section in Response to Cyber Threats
June 20, 2023—The U.S. Department of Justice today announced the formation of the new National Security Cyber Section, also known as “NatSec Cyber” for short. The new section is part of the National Security Division and was created in response to the 2022 Comprehensive Cyber Review outlining the challenges of escalating cyber threats, according to a press release.
“NatSec Cyber will give us the horsepower and organizational structure we need to carry out key roles of the Department in this arena,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “This new section will allow NSD to increase the scale and speed of disruption campaigns and prosecutions of nation-state threat actors, state-sponsored cybercriminals, associated money launderers, and other cyber-enabled threats to national security.”
The National Security Cyber Section will broaden the Justice Department’s ability to better respond to cyber threats while facilitating and promoting department-wide and intragovernmental partnerships to combat malicious cyber activity.
Norse Atlantic Inaugural Service, JFK to Rome
June 20, 2023 — Norse Atlantic Airways has announced the first of its now daily flights between New York’s JFK airport and Rome Fiumicino Airport which departed the major airport today. The flights between the two internationally famous destinations will depart from JFK daily at 12:30 p.m. EDT daily and land in Rome at 3:15 p.m. local time. As travelers return back to America, they will receive a similar standardized daily routine — flights will depart Rome at 6:55 p.m. local time daily and passengers can expect to arrive at JFK at 10:30 p.m. EDT that same day.
This will be the fifth European gateway from JFK for Norse Atlantic Airways, after Oslo, London, Paris and Berlin. According to the press release, flights from JFK to Rome will be starting at $259 for a one-way ticket including taxes and fees.
MMGY Global Announces Acquisition of TCI Research
June 20, 2023—Leading travel and hospitality firm MMGY Global today announced its acquisition of TCI Research, a European travel, tourism and hospitality data intelligence organization, to create MMGY TCI Research. This acquisition brings MMGY to over 550 employees and 12 offices around the globe, expanding its European presence and its travel intelligence operations.
Founder of TCI Research Oliver Henry-Biabaud says, “Through the MMGY Global investment in TCI Research, we bring our clients unrivaled research solutions that can connect the dots for their data-driven decision-making.” Henry-Biabaud will serve as Partner and Managing Director of MMGY TCI Research, and partner Emmanuel Meniuer will serve as Senior Vice President, Europe. Executive Vice President of MMGY Travel Intelligence, Chris Davidson says, “By partnering with TCI Research, we’re aligning with a leading brand that is synonymous with data integrity while also expanding MMGY Global’s presence and capabilities throughout Europe.”
MPI WEC 2023 in Mexican Caribbean Prioritized Learning and Connections for 1,500 Meeting Professionals
June 16, 2023—Meeting Professionals International (MPI) World Education Congress (WEC) 2023 at the all-inclusive Barcelo resorts in the Mexican Caribbean this week drew 1,4000 attendees live with another 150 attending virtually. Of the in-person attendees, more than 600 were event planners and the Latin American community represented over 100 in total.
The association’s membership is almost 12,000 members, a surge in new supplier numbers in the past 18 months after a drastic decline during the pandemic. There are nearly 6,000 planner members, composed of corporate, ISBO (independent and small business owners) and associations.
Incoming board members were announced. 2023 MPI International Board of Directors (IBOD) Chair will be Michelle Allgauer, senior vice president of education and engagement at Financial Services Institute (FSI). Susie Townsend, chief destination experience officer for Visit Indy will be the MPI Foundation Global Board of Trustees (GBOT) Chair-Elect.
Future WEC locations were recently announced, including:
• 2024: WEC Louisville, May 21-23
• 2025: WEC St. Louis, June 17-19
• 2026: WEC San Antonio, June 2-4
Destinations International Announces Award Recipients to be Honored at 2023 Convention in Dallas
June 16, 2023—Destinations International, the world’s largest collaborative community of destination organizations, convention and visitors’ bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards, this morning announced the honorees of their 2023 awards. These award recipients will be recognized at Destination International’s Annual Convention, this year in Dallas, to acknowledge their outstanding positive impacts on the industry. President and CEO of Destinations International Don Welsh says of this year’s recipients, “These visionaries have been responsible for the evolution of our industry and have had a profound impact on its healthy future.”
The 2023 Awardees are:
Too Fly Foundation
Less than $1M: Melyssa Reeves, CDME, president and CEO, Visit Vacaville
$1-3M: Alana Cooper, president and CEO, Discover Monroe-West Monroe
$3-10M: Kyle Edmiston, CDME, president and CEO, Visit Lake Charles
$10M and Above: Jorge Pesquera, CDME, president and CEO, Discover the Palm Beaches
Destination Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Hall of Fame Inductees
Victor Hugo Green and Alma Green, creators and editors of The Green Book
Dan Mobley, former president and CEO, Louisiana Travel Promotion Association
Joseph McGrath, CDME, former president and CEO, Visit Pittsburgh
Steve Moore, former president and CEO, Visit Phoenix
William “Bill” Hanbury, former president and CEO, Bermuda Tourism Authority
Read More: 2022 Hall of Fame Inductees
Cvent Announces Acquisition by Blackstone
June 15, 2023—Industry leader Cvent Holding Corp. (Cvent) this morning announced that it has been acquired by Blackstone, a leading asset manager, for a total enterprise value of about $4.6 million, at $8.50 per share in cash. The transaction sees also an investment from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and participation from current Cvent stockholder Vista Equity Partners (Vista). Cvent will be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market and has discontinued trading common stock.
Founder and CEO of Cvent Reggie Aggarwal says, “We believe this partnership with Blackstone positions Cvent to continue leading the market for best-in-class technology to maximize event ROI and impact.” David Schwartz, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, says that they are “thrilled to support [Cvent’s] continued growth and product advancements, bringing Blackstone’s global resources to bear and leveraging the firm’s deep expertise and thematic focus on hospitality, events and real estate.”
Destinations International and ADMEI Create Education Partnership
June 14, 2023—Destinations International has partnered with DMC associations organization ADMEI. The partnership will focus on creating content pieces and education on the role of destination organizations and destination management companies (DMCs). The partnership will work to:
- Collaborate on event cancelation insurance
- Educate on the differences between destination organizations and DMCs
- Educate on how destination organizations and DMCs can work together, and discuss how the planner, destination organization and DMC all benefit
- Develop webinars for each other’s member groups
“Collaboration is key in today’s environment,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “Aligning with ADMEI and providing our members with educational programs and collaboration opportunities provides our members with powerful resources and tools that will equip them for the future.”
MPI Announces 2023 RISE Award Winners
June 13, 2023—Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has announced the outstanding recipients of its Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence (RISE) Awards to be celebrated at the 2023 World Education Congress (WEC23), hosted this year in the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI, says of this year’s award winners, “Their achievements serve as an example of what can be accomplished with dedication and a love for the industry. Let us celebrate their accomplishments and be inspired to pursue our own passions with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment.”
Recipients are identified as MPI members who have gone above and beyond in “celebrating the spirit of leadership, impact, and innovation.” They are selected by the RISE Awards Judging Panel, made up of an international community of MPI volunteers. Seven total awards are given between two categories of individual achievement and community achievement.
The 2023 MPI RISE Award Winners are:
RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership
RISE Award for Member of the Year
RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement
RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence
New York Chapter
RISE Award for Educational Programming
New Jersey Chapter
RISE Award for Industry Advocate
Caribe Mexicano Chapter
RISE Award for Membership Achievement
Kansas City Chapter
Fontainebleau Las Vegas Announces Resort President and Executive Leaders
June 12, 2023—The eagerly awaited luxury resort Fontainebleau Las Vegas, scheduled to open in December 2023, has announced a stunning team of executive leadership, headed first by Mark Tricano as president of the resort. Mr. Tricano holds over 20 years of experience working in leading companies in the hospitality, finance and gaming industries. Michelle Reda will fill the role of Chief Casino Marketing Officer and brings with her 25 years of experience in the Las Vegas luxury hospitality and gaming industries. Kimberly Virtuoso will serve as Senior Vice President of People to lead the resort in its human resources department and build the staff that will make Fontainebleau Las Vegas a premier destination.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a joint development between Koch Real Estate Investments of Koch Industries and Fontainebleau Development, a leader in the real estate development and hospitality industries.
President of Fontainebleau Development, Brett Mufson, says of these executives, “their passion, appreciation for excellence, and entrepreneurial spirit make each one of them a natural fit to complement the leadership team we have built to date. As stewards of our brand, its culture and heritage, we are thrilled to welcome them to Fontainebleau, as we look to establish ourselves as the pinnacle of luxury hospitality to a new generation of guests.”
MPI WEC23 Offers Digital Option
June 12, 2023—Can’t make it to the Mexican Caribbean June 13-15? Meeting Professionals International is offering World Education Congress 23 (WEC23) live streaming access to all five main stage sessions and seven concurrent sessions with on-demand access to captured sessions following the event—a total of 90 clock hours—for $99. Amani Roberts (DJ AmRo) will act as WEC23 Digital Experience host.
Global Business Travel Association Announces Education Sessions
June 9, 2023—Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) this week announced the education lineup for the upcoming GBTA Convention 2023. The convention, slated to take place August 13-15 in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, will feature 12 education tracks and three professional development levels across over 90 educational sessions.
The 12 education tracks will cover topics including accommodations, payment solutions, technology and innovation, sustainability and others.
Southern California Hotel Workers Vote to Authorize Strike
June 9, 2023—Southern California’s largest hospitality union, UNITE HERE Local 11, which represents more than 32,000 room attendants, cooks, dishwashers, front desk agents, servers and food service workers, have voted to authorize a strike. UNITE HERE Local 11 said in a release that it could call for a strike at dozens of hotels with more than 15,000 workers as early as July 4th weekend. At the top on the list of concerns for hotel workers is the rising cost of housing. The groups says that the strike authorization vote comes after more than a month of failed negotiations with hotel employers–including Hyatt, Hilton, Highgate, Accor, IHG, and Marriott. The union’s key demands are an immediate $5 an hour wage increase to keep pace with the cost of housing; affordable family healthcare; a pension that will enable workers to retire with security, and a “safe and humane” workload.
NYC Air Quality Remains Hazardous: Mayor Halts Outdoor Activity
June 8, 2023—NYC Mayor Eric Adams has called a halt to all official NYC outdoor activities and has asked private groups to curtail outdoor events as well as the toxic haze coming from Canadian wildfires continues to bedevil a city that was girt in an orange haze most of Wednesday. Some flights into LaGuardia and Newark were delayed up to 90 minutes earlier in the day and if the haze descends again, the delays may worsen. People are being told to stay indoors and if they do venture out to wear NK95 masks, being handed out today at subway stations around the city.
NYC Issues Air Quality Health Advisory After Canadian Fire Cloud Descends
June 7, 2023—NYC has issued an air quality health advisory after fires in Quebec, Canada created a smoke and haze event that cancelled all outdoor events and sent city dwellers inside or reaching for NK95 masks once again. The massive forest fires in Canada created a cloud of smoke that covered the Eastern Seaboard but was notably dangerous to health in NYC where pollution and ozone issues have exacerbated the haze.
As of 2:44 PM on Wednesday, July 7, news outlets were warning that if visibility got lower, flights would potentially be postponed or canceled. The smoke event is predicted to last until this weekend with warnings that forest fire season in Eastern Canada typically worsens in July.
Benchmark Study Reveals American and Canadian Stance on Tourism Industry
June 7, 2023—A report examining the attitudes of Americans and Canadians toward the tourism industry was released today by Destinations International and Longwoods International with data compiled in the benchmark study, “2022 National Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism,” according to a press release.
The survey involved participation from 5,000 adults in the U.S. and Canada and measured feedback on a regional and generational level to provide results and insights for the tourism industry. The national benchmark evaluation is the first of its kind in a post-Covid-19 world and reflects the attitudes of American and Canadian citizens as travel and tourism quickly rebound.
“We are pleased to continue to track the trends and insights into how United States and Canada residents view the travel and tourism industry with our partnership in research with Longwoods International,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “The study demonstrates the continued need across both borders to continue to educate and inform our residents as to why our industry matters, so they may feel connected and supportive of our work versus being against it.”
“As we have continued year over year with this research study, it’s clear that it is important that destination organizations not simply demonstrate their work to local residents, but actively keep them engaged and educated on all of your initiatives,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “The research shows us that a well-informed community is a supportive community of tourism.”
Tango Gains ISO 27001 Certification for Information Security Excellence
June 6, 2023—Tango, a rewards and payments company, has been certified according to the ISO 27001:2013 standard, deeming it a trusted partner for security, privacy in digital rewards incentives and payouts.
“We’re proud to have met and exceeded the rigorous standards set forth by ISO 27001:2013. Many view teams like security, compliance, regulatory, and legal as cost centers or back-office functions. From day one, we have viewed these as core to the products and services we deliver and this is critical for our customers,” said David Leeds, CEO and founder of Tango.
Tango currently operates in more than 80 countries and is a leader in the rewards and payments industry.
Caesars Entertainment Announced as One of 50 Most Community-Minded Companies in the U.S. for 9th Year
June 5, 2023—Today Points of Light, the world’s largest nonprofit that is determined to support people-powered change, announced that Caesars Entertainment is one of 50 most community-minded companies in the United States. This will be the 9th consecutive year Caesars Entertainment has been included among The Civic 50.
“At Caesars, we take our CSR initiatives very seriously; it drives how we do business and we strive to continue to improve on our goals year-over-year. To receive this recognition proves that we’re doing just that and we can’t wait to continue making progress,” said Heather Rapp, SVP of Corporate Responsibility.
The report on the honorees included key trends, benchmarking data and insights from the honorees themselves.
Caesars formed the PEOPLE PLANET PLAY to provide framework for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives for the community and the environment
Events Management Firm PRA Acquires Weil & Associates
June 5, 2023—Business events management company, PRA, announced the acquisition of Weil & Associates—a leader in the destination management sector in the Hawaii market—expanding PRA’s reach in the incentive market, according to a press release.
Weil & Associates was founded in 2002 and specializes in event design, incentive programs, transportation solutions, excursions, as well as a wide variety of custom and unique experiences. Under the acquisition, Weil & Associates will be rebranded as PRA Hawaii under the direction of Weil & Associates founder, Debbie Weil-Manuma.
“We welcome Debbie and her incredible team to the PRA family in anticipation of our next exciting chapter ahead. This expansion of our PRA Hawaii team will serve our valued clients well in this key destination,” said PRA CEO Mike Fiber.
“Hawaii is a highly competitive market and Weil & Associates has always been among the very best in our sector. Now working in conjunction with PRA’s industry-leading creative, production, and global sales team, the team will be able to deliver even stronger solutions in this important market and beyond,” he added.
ASAE Announces 2023 Gold Circle Award Winners
June 1, 2023—ASAE today announced the winners of the 2023 Gold Circle Awards following 170 submissions across 16 categories that were evaluated by 200 judges for creativity, execution and success of outstanding marketing, membership and communications campaigns in the association community, according to a press release. ASAE develops and deploys business solutions to businesses within the association community.
“I am thrilled to extend my congratulations to the winners of the 2023 ASAE Gold Circle Awards,” said Diana Dabdub, CAE, director of admissions & recruitment affairs at the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and Chair of the ASAE Gold Circle Awards Committee. “The Gold Circle Awards recognize and highlight the significant role that marketing, membership and communications association professionals play in promoting and supporting the growth of associations and their members. This year, the Gold Circle Awards categories have been updated to encourage and promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in campaign development. The winning campaigns showcase innovation, collaboration, creativity and thoughtful incorporation of the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility perspective in their design and implementation.”
Winners of the 2023 Gold Circle Awards will be recognized during ASAE’s 2023 Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC) as well as the winner of the Overall Excellence Award. The MMCC is slated for June 21-22.
The 2023 Gold Circle Award winners are:
Overall Excellence Award Winner
To Be Announced June 22 at MMCC
The Oklahoma State Medical Association
Oklahoma State Medical Association’s Pro-Science Campaign
Convention/Meetings Marketing Campaign
The American Institute of Architects
Women’s Leadership Summit
American Osteopathic Association
Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits + Arizona Grantmakers Forum
IDEA(s) in Motion Newsletter
Media/Public Relations Campaign
The American Association of Immunologists
AAI National Immunization Awareness Month Campaign
Member Retention Campaign
American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology
Power in Membership
Membership Recruitment Campaign
The American Institute of Architects
Architects Designing a Better World Campaign
Member/Volunteer Engagement Campaign
American Staffing Association
ASA Women in Leadership Initiative
New Product/Service Launch
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
AAOS IDEA Grant Program
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
ASHP Official Podcast
Florida Realtor®, The Business Magazine of Florida Real Estate
Water Professionals International
Our Successful Rebrand to Water Professionals International
Society of Women Engineers
WE22 Conference Prospectus and Partnership Guide: A Better Opportunity for Results
School Nutrition Association
Bring More to the Table
School Nutrition Association
School Nutrition Association Website Redesign
San Francisco Launches Multi-Million Global Marketing Campaign
May 30-2023– The San Francisco Travel Association has launched a new, multi-million-dollar global marketing campaign, “Aways San Francisco,” targeting leisure travelers and meeting planners in major domestic markets and key international markets. The destination campaign is targeting the meetings trade, as conventions and meetings are a significant component of San Francisco’s tourism industry.
The over $6 million campaign features SF Travel’s first TV ad spot, celebrates San Francisco’s “bold inviting, and playful ethos,” and features iconic SF locations and local San Franciscans:
- It includes cameos by locals, such as Lady Camden (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”), artist Sirron Norris, dancers from the AXIS Dance Company, musicians Mae Powell and Michael O’Konis, Chinatown lion dancers, and chefs from Michelin-starred Angler.
- SF Travel has collaborated with local and San Francisco-connected musicians to reimagine Judy Garland’s beloved rendition of the classic “San Francisco” song for its campaign video – and recorded at Hyde Street Studios, which has produced recordings for rock icons such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana.
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Hosts Dell Technologies World
May 26, 2023– Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino welcomed attendees and exhibitors to Dell Technologies World this week as the resort marks the completion of its North Convention Center. The Mandalay Bay Convention Center remodel includes technology upgrades, digital signage and new design.
“This remodel exemplifies our commitment to evolve alongside the meetings industry by enhancing the experience from start to finish,” said Ernest Stovall, VP of Hotel Sales for Mandalay Bay. “When attendees walk away, we hope they’re already looking forward to returning next year for a memorable and productive session.”
The debut of the North Convention Center marks the completion of Phase One in the $100M remodel of the 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center which is expected to be fully complete by mid-2024. The Convention Center remodel is part of a new enhancements and experiences coming to Mandalay Bay including the redesign of Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas’ 424 rooms and suites; the recent addition of Retro by Voltaggio; the debut of Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar in June; and the fall opening of the immersive Play Playground at Luxor.
Cvent Announces New AI Writing Tool
May 24, 2023 -Cvent has announced the launch of its AI Writing Assistant. The tool, incorporated directly within the Cvent platform, allows generative AI to streamline the content creation process, helping event professionals and marketers produce event content, quickly. Cvent said in a release that the system can be used for event emails, event websites, session descriptions, request for proposal (RFP) responses for sourcing venues, and more.
The AI Writing Assistant’s intelligent algorithm adapts to user guidelines (which include formal, enthusiastic, or playful, and concise or verbose, among others) to generate content that aligns with their brand tone and voice. The new innovation will be available to all Cvent users for free within its event marketing & management platform including in solutions such as Attendee Hub, Registration, and Cvent Supplier Network, among others. The AI Writing Assistant is available now.
Destinations International Advances European Pathfinders Challenge
May 24, 2023—Destinations International (DI) today announced the launch of the European Pathfinders Journey Global Challenges Call for Global Collaboration industry brief. The brief was launched during IMEX Frankfurt.
The DI Pathfinders are a forward-thinking group of European destination professionals committed to tackling key issues facing destination organizations today. Since the program’s launch at IMEX Frankfurt 2022, the European Pathfinders have been working with partners and the DI team to bring key trends in European destinations to light and understand how leaders in the industry are stepping up to address these challenges and opportunities.
Key areas include:
- Development of best practices​.
- Support the evolution of digital platforms​.
- Amplify the need for all sustainable development choices​.
- Create tools to measure social and environmental impact​.
- Industry research for data-based, strategic decision making​.
PCMA Launches Project Spark to Uncover Practical Applications of Generative AI
May 24, 2023—PCMA and CEMA President and CEO, Sherrif Karamat, CAE and Gevme CEO, Veemal Gungadin today announced Project Spark, a complimentary research and educational initiative to uncover the impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI) on the business events industry. Under this initiative, the AI model will be tested for various practical applications within the scope of business events to understand its impact on workforce productivity.
New Orleans Sustainability Lead Recognized
May 24, 2023—New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Linda Baynham was recently recognized as one of five local Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) Champions by New Orleans and Company, the city’s destination marketing organization. Honored during the weeklong celebration, NTTW champions are individuals in the industry who are passionate about their chosen field and create positive impacts in the community. Each of the five champions represents a different sector of the hospitality and tourism industry.
As Director of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Baynham establishes company-wide sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals for the Convention Center. She reaches these goals through the Center’s recycling programs and its energy and water reduction initiatives, and she works closely with internal and external partners to implement sustainability programs.
World of Hyatt Celebrates Launch of Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres
May 24, 2023—World of Hyatt on Wednesday announced the launch of the hospitality company’s newest brand, Impression by Secrets, with the opening of Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres, according to a press release.
The new all-inclusive, adults-only resort is located on the island of Isla Mujeres northeast of Cancun. The latest addition to World of Hyatt’s portfolio expands the brand’s overall presence to 120 resorts globally. The new brand is anticipated to set the benchmark for personalized service through the “Endless Privileges” concept, which allows guests to personalize the resort’s luxury amenities to create a distinct experience.
The unique destination also has its sights set on preserving the natural splendor of the island implementing sustainable practices. “The resort already holds an environmental certification from Preserve by Nature, and is part of the Saving our Sharks Foundation, which is headquartered on property and dedicated to protecting the sea life of Isla Mujeres,” the press release read.
Hilton Announces Project H3
May 23, 2023 — Hilton announced today in a press release that it will be launching an extended-stay brand for the workforce travel market. These apartment-style units are meant for guests who are staying 20 nights or longer while still benefiting from Hilton’s hospitality.
Project H3 is the working title for the project, the brand is currently unnamed. According to the press release, Project H3 “delivers an exciting investment option for developers looking to diversify their portfolio under the Hilton name.”
ExCeL Become First UK Venue to Open Checkout-Free Store
May 22, 2023—The London event venue ExCeL opened ‘Market Express’ today, the first frictionless, checkout-free store within an events space in the UK.
Powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out AI technology in partnership with Levy UK + Ireland, the store will further enhance the visitor food and beverage experience. Visitors to ExCeL’s Market Express simply tap their payment card or mobile wallet upon entry and then the Amazon Just Walk Out technology detects what is picked up from or returned to its shelves, creating a virtual shopping session.
Visit Oakland announced 21% Increase in Visitor Volumes
May 18, 2023—Visit Oakland hosted IMPACT 510: The Town Tourism Day at Blok 15 near Jack London Square to announce that 2022 visitors spend $590 million last year on lodging (33%), food and beverage, transportation, retail and recreation.
“We have so much to be proud of in Oakland” said Visit Oakland President and CEO Peter Gamez. “Our visitor volumes increased 21% in 2022. This is so powerful for The Town because travel confidence has continued to build and bolster the recovery in Oakland. It was particularly important to us that IMPACT 510 The Town Tourism Day was both informative and inspiring. It was a day shared with all who live, work and visit Oakland.”
“Oakland’s travel and hospitality industry has a lot to celebrate as it makes tremendous strides on the road to recovery, and provides incredible value for the community in many ways,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing organization. “As the Town once again welcomes visitors from around the world, hospitality businesses are supporting thousands of jobs and solidifying Oakland as a world-class destination.”
Washington, DC, Welcomed 20.7 Million Visitors in 2022; Generates Record Number of Jobs
May 18, 2023—Destination DC announced that domestic visitation in 2022 rebounded to 91% of pre-pandemic levels. Visitors spent $8.1 billion and supported a record 84,111 jobs in 2022. Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, led a rally for hundreds of hospitality industry professionals to celebrate the importance of tourism to the local economy.
“As an economic development organization, we are optimistic about the increase in domestic visitation, near pre-pandemic levels of visitor spending and record jobs and tax revenue for Washington, DC last year,” said Ferguson. “But it’s important to be aggressive to grow domestic market share and impact international and business travel. Additional funding through Tourism Recovery District legislation allows us to compete with other top-tier destinations with larger budgets.”
Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Details about New Area of Park
May 18, 2023—Universal Orlando Resort shared details about ways attendees can eat, laugh and make mischief with the Minions in the highly anticipated Minion Land on Illumination Ave., an immersive new area created in partnership between Universal’s award-winning creative team and the acclaimed filmmakers from Illumination. Opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida, the new land expands upon the wildly popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction and will debut a new collection of experiences inspired by the beloved Minions franchise for attendees to enjoy during their next in-park event.
As soon as attendees enter the land, they’ll be greeted by a fun, photo-worthy “Minion Land” marquee featuring 22 Minions before embarking on the mischief that awaits along Illumination Ave. Features include blasting their way to supervillain stardom in Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast to savoring tasty dishes at the Minion Cafe to snacking on banana-flavored popcorn at Pop-a-Nana and meeting fan-favorite characters along the way.
This follows exciting news earlier in the year where the company announced plans to build a one-of-kind, original theme park for families with young children in Frisco, Texas.
Universal Orlando offers completely customizable meeting space and a variety of unique outdoor event venues to accommodate groups both large and small.
United Airlines Pilots Picketing, Flights Not Affected as of 5/12
May 12, 2023—United Airlines pilots are picketing at the United Flight Training Center in Denver, along with nine other cities. United has struggled, along with other major airlines, with pilot re-hiring, canceled flights, and out-of-date software systems.
As of Friday, May 12, at 3:00 p.m. EST, there were no flight cancellations due to the picketing. United said on Thursday evening that, “All United flights will operate as planned while our pilots exercise their right to distribute information and picket while off-duty.” Check here for updates.
CWT Partners with Booking.com for Business
May 11, 2023—Global business travel and meetings specialist CWT has announced a new partnership with Booking.com for Business, designed to support small business customers. According to a press release, this partnership will includes discounted travel rates, access to membership rewards from third-party loyalty programs, as well as 24/7 travel agent support, to be provided by CWT.
“We understand everyone has different travel preferences,” said Joshua Wood, director of Booking.com for Business. “For some it’s important to maximize status and loyalty points when they travel, while others are more focused on finding the best deal for their trips. And when disruption happens, everybody values the ability to contact an agent any time of day or night to get support. With this partnership, Booking.com for Business customers will have all of this in one place, along with the tools to manage cost and duty of care with travel expert support wherever they are in the world 24/7.”
Powered by travel technology company Serko, the Booking.com for Business platform will combine Booking.com room options with CWT’s hotel, flight and car rental content.
This partnership is expected to go live in Q2 2023.
Dusit Hotels and Resorts Opens New Hotels in Thailand, Japan
May 11, 2023—The rapidly expanding Dusit International and its Dusit Hotels and Resorts brand is opening two new hotels in Bangkok, Thailand, including its first dusitD2, and opening its first hotel in Japan. Following the soft opening of dusitD2 on May 12th, Dusit will continue its expansion of its lifestyle brand ASAI Hotels by opening ASAI Bangkok Sathorn in the city’s business district on May 15th. For the third stage of the expansion, ASAI Kyoto Shijo will be opening in June, 2023 as the brand’s first hotel in Japan.
In a press release from Dusit International, Chief Operating Officer Gilles Cretallaz promoted the hotels and lifestyle brand.
“As we continue to execute our plan for domestic and global expansion, we are delighted to welcome three new hotels to our portfolio, including our first dusitD2 branded hotel in Bangkok, our second ASAI hotel in Bangkok, and our first hotel in Japan,” said Cretallaz. “These openings represent significant milestones for our company, and we are confident that their unique positioning and distinctive lifestyle and food and beverage experiences will resonate with travellers from around the world. As we gear up for these launches, we are excited about the future and look forward to making our mark in more key international markets.”
Read More: Luxury, Culture and White Lotus in Thailand
Jamaica Wins Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Award for Resilience
May 10, 2023—Jamaica has been awarded the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA’s) Destination Resilience Award for its recovery efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic and tourism resilience-building initiatives.
The Caribbean Destination Resilience Award recognizes destinations with a deliberate focus on resilience as indicated by their commitments to address some or all of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO’s) 17 sustainable development goals. Special emphasis is placed on highlighting destinations that subscribe to a collaborative and partnership-focused approach, engaging public and private sector stakeholders in innovative, needs-driven strategies.
The island, under the stewardship of the Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, created a Covid-19 Recovery Taskforce with public and private sector stakeholders. Based on the innovative initiatives from this Taskforce, Jamaica reopened its borders in June 2020 and never closed since.
In accepting the award, Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett said, “This award is for my entire tourism team and all our private and public sector partners who immediately saw the need to keep the lifeblood of the country open. From the minds and hard work of the team, Jamaica was first out of the blocks on the road to recovery.”
Michelin Launches First Philadelphia Guide
May 10, 2023—This spring, Michelin published its very first Philadelphia destination guide, highlighting the city’s top leisure travel experiences and calling it the “Frenchest American city.” The guide described The City of Brotherly Love as a place that “offers the perfect compromise between American excess and European spirit, not to mention all the appeal of a city packed with art, history, and a cultural effervescence few people expect.”
The guide editors also list their “top picks” for dining, including classic cheesesteak spots like Campo’s and Ishkabibble’s and new favorites like South Philly Barbacoa and Her Place. Of Philadelphia’s food scene, the guide says, “the city offers many mouthwatering reasons for foodies to make a beeline for Philly.”
The guide will be available in both French and English language editions.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Begins $600 Million Convention Center Renovation
May 9, 2023—Tourism and business leaders joined today at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) to kick off a $600 million renovation of the facility’s legacy campus. The renovation extends the contemporary design, architecture, and customer experience of the 1.4 million square foot West Hall, which debuted in 2021. Work will continue through 2025, with construction designed to accommodate and minimize disruption to scheduled tradeshows.
“We have been the number one tradeshow destination for nearly three decades, and we are committed to being the number one tradeshow destination for another three decades,” said Steve Hill president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “This renovation will provide our customers with an experience that will make them want to come back year after year.”
Some key highlights of the renovation include:
- The continuation of the signature West Hall exterior ribbon roof will create architectural cohesion across the entire campus.
- An outdoor plaza and indoor lobby at the South Hall will create a sense of arrival and provide direct access to new pre-function space and a second-floor boardroom.
- A climate-controlled interior concourse between the North Hall and the South Hall will provide interior access across the entire campus.
- An expansive Grand Lobby between the North and Central halls will offer ample natural light and views of both halls.
- A newly designed parking lot outside of Central Hall (Silver Lot) will feature a Vegas Loop station to transport guests to/from Wynn and Encore (expected to debut in Spring 2024).
- Innovative technology, including sleek, digital displays, digital pylon signs, wayfinding, and interactive information kiosks throughout the facility.
- Technology upgrades will result in upgraded electrical access for tradeshow organizers and exhibitors and increased connectivity for guests.
Health Care Center Opens in Orange County Convention Center
May 9, 2023—Orlando Health, a non-profit healthcare organization serving southeastern United States, and Visit Orlando, the Official Tourism Association for Orlando, have partnered to launch the Orlando Health Virtual Care Center inside the Orange County Convention Center. At the Virtual Care Center, located in the West Building, near the Visit Orlando Welcome Center in the central lobby, medical providers will be able to evaluate medical conditions for attendees during large conventions.
“High-quality healthcare is conveniently accessible for conference attendees through the Orlando Health Virtual Care Center,” said Thibaut van Marcke, senior vice president of Orlando Health’s southeast region and president of Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. “A board-certified physician will assess patients with minor conditions so they can resume their activities at the convention center and enjoy the rest of their visit in Orlando.”
LVE Named Nevada Family-owned Small Business of the Year
May 9, 2023—The Nevada Small Business Administration presented trade show management company LVE with the 2023 Nevada Family-Owned Small Business of the Year award at their annual luncheon at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas this week.
Nicholas Cordaro, president of LVE, accepted the award on behalf of his sister, Jennifer, and their father Robert. Together, they lead an exposition company with 96 full-time employees and 145,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in Las Vegas. In addition to the company’s Las Vegas headquarters, LVE has offices in Nashville, New Jersey, and Orlando.
San Luis Obispo Tourism Industry Hits Record Travel Revenue
May 8, 2023—The Destination Marketing and Management Organization for San Luis Obispo County announced Monday that the total revenue for 2022 reached $2.15 billion in direct travel spending, surpassing the previous record of $2.02 billion set in 2019, according to a press release.
“We are ecstatic to share the news of our record-breaking year for tourism,” said Chuck Davison, President and CEO of Visit SLO CAL. “Tourism is the number two economic driver in the region, second only to agriculture. Travel impacts every sector of business and supports local economies across the globe, including right here in SLO CAL. Visitors support numerous sectors across SLO CAL including accommodations, transportation, food and beverage, attractions, retail and more. Between the taxes tourism generates and the local businesses it supports, tourism plays an important role in positively contributing to the quality of life for our residents.”
In addition, the total number of visitors to the county in 2022 were just shy of those in 2019, indicating that the travelers spent more in 2022 while generating $116 million in local tax revenue.
ASAE announces Shape Your Purpose Theme for Atlanta Annual
May 5, 2023—The theme of ASAE’s 2023 Annual Meeting & Exposition Aug. 5-8 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta will be “Shape Your Purpose,” which recognizes the unique approach that associations take when defining their personal and organizational purpose. Over three days, the ASAE Annual Meeting will provide a unique opportunity to partake in authentic, engaging, thought-provoking, and positive experiences for attendees that support the power of the association community to shape a better future for the industries they serve and for the world we share.
“As we prepare to welcome the association community to Atlanta this summer, ASAE is focused on creating a transformational experience for our attendees,” said ASAE President and CEO Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE. “When we look at the changing world in which we operate, associations should be at the forefront of innovation, workforce development, culture-building and influence. The ASAE Annual Meeting is going to deliver an inclusive, immersive environment for association professionals to learn, grow and shape their purpose.”
Fontainebleau Las Vegas Announces December 2023 Opening
May 5, 2023 —Fontainebleau Development announced in a recruitment press release that it would be opening the 67-story, integrated luxury resort and casino Fontainebleau Las Vegas in December. Development Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Soffer called the expansion the closing of the circle for the company’s longtime vision of hosting its brand on the Las Vegas Strip. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to finish what we started and finally introduce the iconic Fontainebleau brand into one of the world’s largest hospitality destinations,” he said in an earlier release.
International Travel Requirements for COVID-19 End May 11th
May 3, 2023 — The White House announced in a brief this week that COVID-19 related travel bans such as vaccination requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors and international travelers will be ending on May 11th. Citing statistics reflecting COVID-19 related death rates decreased by 95% and hospitalizations decreased by 21%, The White House released a brief announcing the success of the previous health protocols that have been taken and the confidence in lifting the regulations and restrictions for international travelers.
Today, we are announcing that the Administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
Caesars Entertainment Announces Plans to Renovate Tower at Paris Las Vegas
May 2, 2023—Caesars Entertainment on Tuesday announced plans to renovate the Jubilee Tower at Horseshoe Las Vegas, which will include a new interior and exterior, according to a press release.
The Jubilee Tower will be replaced by the new Versailles Tower, introducing 756 redesigned luxury guestrooms and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Versailles Tower to the existing Paris resort. The renovations will exceed $100 million and will integrate the new tower into Paris Las Vegas, according to a press release.
“We know our guests, especially our Caesars Rewards members, love Paris Las Vegas. Over the past year we’ve made significant enhancements to elevate the destination, bringing new concepts like Vanderpump à Paris, Nobu, The Bedford by Martha Stewart and most recently, a completely renovated sportsbook,” said Regional President of Caesars Entertainment, Sean McBurney. “The addition of the Versailles Tower makes Paris one of the largest resorts in the heart of The Strip. The interior and exterior will be completely reimagined and transformed into some of the best rooms in Las Vegas. When it opens this fall, our guests will have easy access to the incredible restaurants and gaming options they have grown to love at Paris Las Vegas.”
The tower renovations are slated for completion in late 2023 with the expected completion of the pedestrian bridge to follow in early 2024.
MGM Resorts Launches Touring Candlelight Concert Series
May 1, 2023—MGM Resorts International is launching a Candlelight Concert Series and philanthropic effort to celebrate its meetings and conventions clients throughout the United States. Benefitting Save The Music Foundation, the invite-only events provide clients a one-of-a-kind experience demonstrating MGM Resorts’ position as a leader in live entertainment and its commitment to serving and uplifting communities. The series kicked off at the Wimbish House in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Candlelight Concert Series will travel to additional markets across the country through July, entertaining MGM Resorts’ clients in, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. Guests can expect an unforgettable night of contemporary music performed by a string quartet, with each concert focusing on the musical portfolio of Beyonce, Coldplay or “From Bach to Beatles.” Presented by leading live-entertainment discovery platform Fever, performances are hosted in intimate, awe-inspiring venues completely illuminated by candlelight.
“The Candlelight Concert Series reflects MGM Resorts’ dedication to our customers and their communities by creating unparalleled entertainment experiences not just in Las Vegas, but around the country,” said Stephanie Glanzer, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts.
At the conclusion of the series, a donation will be made on behalf of attendees to Save The Music Foundation, a nonprofit committed to helping students, schools and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music. For 25 years, Save The Music has invested in public schools across the nation to ensure communities receive equitable access to music education resources. MGM Resorts’ donation will be presented during the Candlelight concert in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 22, with proceeds directly supporting an under-resourced music program for a Mississippi-based middle school.
Kimpton Pittman Hotel Dallas Announces New Director of Sales and Marketing
May 1, 2023—The Kimpton Pittman Hotel Dallas on Monday announced Bill Jordan, an award-winning sales executive and veteran of the hospitality industry, will take the reins as the new director of sales and marketing for the boutique-brand hotel, according to a press release.
“Bill is a highly accomplished professional and a true asset to our team, his expertise in sales and marketing, combined with his years of hotel experience will be an invaluable resource to The Kimpton Pittman Hotel Dallas,” said General Manager Rajeev Gopalakrishnan. “We are looking forward to working together and elevating the presence of both the hotel and our acclaimed restaurant, Elm & Good.”
Jordan formerly served as director of operations, complex director of sales and marketing, and director of sales and marketing at Omni Houston Hotel at Westside. “I am deeply honored to be part of such an iconic and innovative brand at The historic Kimpton Pittman Hotel Dallas,” Jordan said. “Together with our talented team, I look forward to showcasing the unique offerings of our property and creating incredible memories for our guests.
FAA Activates New Routes Along East Coast
May 1, 2023—The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday announced 169 new and direct routes along the East Coast ahead of the busy summer travel season with the goal of saving travelers time and money while improving fuel efficiency and safety, according to a press release.
“These significant improvements to our national airspace system are just in time for summer and will help travelers get to their destinations more efficiently,” according to Tim Arel, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. “The new routes will reduce complexity and redistribute volume across all available airspace. I’m proud of the FAA and industry’s strong collaboration on this project to get it done.”
The new routes are expected to reduce annual travel time and distance by 6,000 minutes and 40,000 miles while also providing controllers with more flexibility during instances of extreme weather.
Windham Mountain Announces Upgrades to Historic Catskill Resort
April 27, 2023—Windham Mountain announced Thursday that the 60-year-old resort will invest in further improvements to enhance the guest experience through the implementation of a multi-year plan, according to a press release.
The goal of the plan is to provide access to skiing with minimal lift lines, improve the current food and beverage offerings with the redevelopment of all concessions along with the addition of a mid-mountain, Italian Alps-style concept expected by fall 2023. The plan also calls for the creation of additional townhomes and lots for land development and enhanced membership offerings for the existing Members Club while expanding the existing Golf Course as well as other resort amenities and activities.
“Windham Mountain has remained an independent, multi-generational destination for over six decades and the natural beauty of the town of Windham and surrounding mountains provides a fitting platform to offer great hospitality and memorable experiences, which is our passion,” Sandy Beall, Founder, Beall Investment Partners said. “We are grateful to help support Windham Mountain’s evolution and the integral role it plays in the town and broader Catskills community.”
Marriott Announces First 19 Projects Under Bridging the Gap Program
April 26, 2023—Marriott International has announced its first 19 projects that will receive financial support through its Bridging the Gap program.
The program, which will include Marriott’s Aloft Hotels, Autograph Collection, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, TownePlace Suite and Tribute Portfolio brands, was announced in 2022 and aims to build a more diverse Marriott ownership and franchisee community among Black, Native American and women owners, according to a press release.
“We see hotel ownership as a powerful economic generator—creating good jobs and revenue in the community and an on-ramp to prosperity and intergenerational wealth for hotel owners,” said Anthony Capuano, president and CEO of Marriott International. “Today’s announcement is all about creating opportunity – and as the name of this program suggests—bridging the gap to hotel ownership that too often exists for underrepresented groups. “I want to congratulate all of these future hotel owners and thank them for working with us to realize their dreams and ours.”
This initial investment from Marriott is $50 million. In total, the company is expected to reach $1 billion in development projects under the program within three years. To qualify, projects may be new, relicenses or conversion projects in the United States or Canada under any of Marriott’s 30 brands.
ASAE Research Foundation Announces John H. Graham Fund Scholarships for ReadyMe Program
April 26, 2023—The ASAE Research Foundation has announced it will utilize the John H. Graham Fund to award 20 scholarships to deserving applicants pursuing professional and personal development through ASAE’s ReadyMe Program. The scholarship application portal is now open through May 21, 2023. Applicants are required to respond to five written DEI topic prompts. Once the application process is closed, a steering and selection committee will select the 20 recipients. All applicants will be informed of selection no later than June 2, 2023.
FAA Announces Independent Safety Review Board
April 26, 2023—The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday announced an independent safety review team that will be responsible for the review and reliability of the United State’s air traffic system, according to a press release. The group has been tasked with performing an extensive assessment in order to present concrete recommendations on how the FAA can enhance air traffic safety.
“We are committed to maintaining the safest period in U.S. aviation history,” said Acting Administrator Billy Nolen. “This team will strengthen our ongoing safety efforts and identify specific investments we can make to bolster the National Airspace System.”
The group will begin its assessment in May and is expected to complete its work by October 2023.
ASAE Names 2023 Class of Fellows
April 25, 2023—ASAE today announced five association leaders to the 2023 class of Fellows program. The annual program confers honorary recognition upon association leaders who have made significant contributions to their organizations and association communities, according to a press release.
“Congratulations to the 2023 class of Fellows. The Fellows program is among ASAE’s highest honors, recognizing individuals who have made a significant impact on the association community through outstanding volunteer service and inspiring leadership,” said Janice Lachance, FASAE, executive vice president for strategic leadership and global outreach at the American Geophysical Union and chair of the ASAE Fellows. “These five professionals join a cadre of leaders who have made extraordinary contributions to ASAE and are thought leaders for the entire association community.” The 2023 Fellows will be inducted during the annual ASAE Fellows Retreat in June in Vancouver.
Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Industry Relations
School Nutrition Association
President and CEO
Associated Luxury Hotels International
Association for Intelligent Information Management
International Association of Assessing Officers
American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
Leading SaaS Company Integrates with Cvent
April 21, 2023—Bizly, an enterprise technology platform focused on small, simple, self-service meetings and events today announced its integration with Cvent, as well as its listing on the Cvent App Marketplace, according to a press release.
“In today’s hybrid workforce, small meetings are more important than ever and joining our Bizly solutions together with Cvent through this integration is a natural next step in our evolution as we look to best support our mutual customers,” CEO of Bizly Ron Shah said. “The integration allows any Cvent customer to embed Bizly into their meeting request form process and consolidate data in a powerful way.”
Cvent users can access Bizly from the meeting request form (MRF), import contacts, and consolidate and match Bizly data into their preferred tool. Bizly customers will initially be able to link data from a Cvent instance directly into the small meetings platform through various APIs.
Experience Kissimmee Announces Sustainability Initiatives
April 19, 2023—Experience Kissimmee, the official tourism authority for Osceola County, FL, introduced a new sustainability program with Trees4Travel, an initiative to plant trees to help with creating future forests, restoring eco-systems, and supporting biodiversity and local communities. Plus, an investment is made into a United Nations renewable energy carbon credit, which will help reduce a portion of the meeting organizations’ CO2 emissions. For instance, if a meeting organization actualizes 1,500 paid room nights in Kissimmee, Experience Kissimmee will plant 1,500 trees through the Trees4Travel hybrid program. The meeting organization will receive a certificate of Planet & People Positive Action, which includes a UN CER certificate, post-meeting.
“We are proud to be amongst the first DMOs in the nation to offer a carbon reduction program for meetings and conventions,” said Michelle Moore, senior director of meetings sales and services at Experience Kissimmee.
KSL Resorts Unveils New Sustainability Program
April 19, 2023—KSL Resorts announced today it has launched a new sustainability program called “On Purpose” to be rolled out amongst its portfolio of 11 destination hotels and resorts, including Camelback Resort (Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania); Vespera Resort on Pismo Beach, California; Fairmont Grand Del Mar (San Diego, California); Silverado Resort and Spa (Napa, California); and Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.
While the name and framework are new, the program reinforces existing companywide sustainability initiatives. “All of our properties have increasingly adapted green practices in recent years—making dramatic improvements—but we are thrilled to make it official by introducing this forward-thinking new platform,” said Ian Pullan, executive vice president of asset management west, who is leading the charge. “Focused on reducing KSL Resorts’ overall carbon footprint, On Purpose was carefully designed to drive positive change and reduce carbon emissions—by both guests and staff—via four core initiatives.”
Measurable initiatives include:
- Carbon Offsetting—the goal is to reduce energy consumption by 10% in 2023 over the previous year.
- Single Use Materials—the goal is to eliminate all single use materials at participating resorts by the end of 2023.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—the goal is 20% waste diversion for each participating property.
- Water Usage—the goal is 5% reduction in water usage by each participating property, with water consumption audits to be conducted companywide.
Explore Seattle Southside Introduces New Logo, Campaign
April 17, 2023—Explore Seattle Southside (Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority) announced a fresh brand update and cheeky new advertising campaign today.
Seattle Southside, the region made up of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines, has given itself a fresh look with a brand update that offers a refreshed perspective on the destination as the travel industry opens back up post-pandemic. Its new look and personality encourage travelers to get off the beaten path and discover some of Washington State’s quirkier hidden gems.
“Coming out of the pandemic, research has shown people are more interested in exciting quick hits of adventures, as opposed to just booking big trips, so the entire body of work leans into the idea of curiously wonderful microadventures” says Explore Seattle Southside CEO Mark Everton.
In addition to the new brand identity, a series of videos is accompanying the new look. Leaning into the idea of “microadventures,” each video is micro in its own way. One content series gives viewers a cheeky guide to microadventures in Seattle Southside in a few microseconds. Another whimsical animated spot shows one microadventure leading to another, while a final video shows a micro-travel toiletry travel kit to help travelers discover all the many microadventures.
Visit Greater Palm Springs Introduces New Certified Autism Centers
April 12, 2023—Visit Greater Palm Springs (VGPS) on Wednesday announced new additions to the destination’s growing list of tourism, recreational and hospitality organizations that have earned the designation of becoming a Certified Autism Center (CAC), with the goal of ensuring that inclusive options are available to guests visiting the region in an effort to recognize Autism Awareness Month, according to a press release.
“Visit Greater Palm Springs’ recognition as a Certified Autism Center in 2022 was an important first step in preparing our tourism and community partners to provide the best possible experience for our autistic travelers and their families,” said Scott White, president and CEO of Visit Greater Palm Springs. “As we recognize Autism Awareness Month, we are honored to add to the ever-growing list of Certified Autism Centers and encourage our partners in the local tourism community to join us in serving this very important group of travelers.”
The CAC designation is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to organizations that have completed autism training with the purpose of helping organizations better understand and welcome autistic travelers and their companions.
The new organizations to achieve the CAC designations include the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens and the Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory. “The Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory wants all patrons, residents, and visitors to feel welcomed. Our staff is appreciative to become an Autism Certified location, whether to pick up a book, attend a program or gaze at the stars at our Observatory, we look forward to serving you,” said Aaron Espinoza, director of the library and observatory.
Atlanta Market Expands Gifting
April 12, 2023—The largest in-person gift marketplace in the country will expand its collection of more than 700 gift and lifestyle permanent showrooms this summer with 16 updates at AmericasMart Atlanta. Gift resources as diverse as gourmet, housewares, tabletop and outdoor living are featured on 19 floors of space spread out over three buildings. TRVL Design travel bags are new this year along with expanded areas for Tremont Floral supplies and The Light Garden.
As part of Atlanta Next, the lobby and arrival experience are being updated along with improvements spread out over the 7.2 million-square-foot campus.
LVCVA Honors Outstanding Hospitality Worker, Announces Record Visitor Spending
April 11, 2023—At its April Board of Directors meeting today, LVCVA named Abriana Buffolino, special events and filming supervisor at Fremont Street Experience, the first Hospitality Hero of 2023. Buffolino was nominated for her commitment to ensuring the iconic attraction shines onscreen and during its many live concerts and events. In her seven years with Fremont Street Experience, she has overseen more than 100 filmings and special events. The Hospitality Heroes recognition program continues to celebrate the outstanding hospitality workers who are the backbone of the tourism industry and nominations represent all facets of the Las Vegas experience.
At the same meeting, Applied Analysis Principal Brian Gordon shared that the total economic output related to visitor spending reached a record $79.3 billion in 2022, a 24.7% increase from the previous record set in 2019. Southern Nevada’s tourism industry remained the largest regional employer in 2022, directly employing an estimated 229,440 workers. Convention visitor spending directly supported an estimated 38,120 jobs, $2.1 billion in wages and $7.5 billion in economic impact.
Gordon attributed Las Vegas’ unprecedented growth and strong rebound following the pandemic was driven by pent-up travel demand and the addition of new resorts, professional sporting events and venues such as Allegiant Stadium.
Drury Hotels Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary
April 11, 2023—Drury Hotels Company, a family-owned company based in St. Louis, Missouri, is celebrating 50 years of business this month. The company now operates 150 hotels in 26 states under the brands Drury Inn & Suites, Drury Inns, Drury Plaza Hotels and Pear Tree Inns. Last December, Drury Hotels opened the 604-room Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando in the Disney Springs Area of Florida as an official Walt Disney World Hotel. In the past five years, Drury Hotels has opened 16 new properties, including locations in downtown Nashville, Tennessee; Milwaukee; Richmond, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Dallas. Three new hotels are currently under construction in Tallahassee, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Arlington, Texas.
Leader in Upcycling Seaweed Lands $5M in Series A Funding
April 7, 2023—Carbonwave, the leading organization in upcycling the troublesome seaweed known as Sargassum, which grows in a region spanning the Atlantic, has secured $5 million in Series A funding led by Mirova, according to a press release.
Carbonwave is leading the effort in utilizing Sargassum for an array of products including fertilizer, textiles, cosmetics and bioplastics among others.
“In three short years, we’ve become the first company to build a scalable cascading biorefinery to create a commercially sustainable operation harnessing Sargassum into high-value products,” said Geoff Chapin, co-founder and CEO of Carbonwave. “Support from our investors and partners has allowed us to catalyze our proprietary technology and manufacturing process to turn the Caribbean’s seaweed crisis into an economic opportunity and a climate solution. We are producing viable alternatives that redirect demand from fossil fuel-based products by cost-effectively developing a wide range of regenerative, low-carbon, and plant-based alternatives that global industries are seeking to advance their sustainability and decarbonization initiatives, while contributing to the bio-circular economy.”
Mirova is an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, which is dedicated to sustainable investment, with additional participation from Viridios Capital, Popular Impact Fund and Katapult Ocean. The latest round of funding brings the total investment in Carbonwave to $12 million to date and will be used to construct a large-scale cosmetics emulsifier production facility in Puerto Rico in response to the growing consumer demand for biomaterials.
ConferenceDirect Celebrates 25 Years with Brand Refresh, Leadership Change
April 6, 2023—At their Annual Partner Meeting at The Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky, ConferenceDirect announced their brand refresh in honor of their 25th anniversary and a change in leadership. The full-service global meetings solution company’s new tag line is “Your Global Partner for Meetings & Events” and the mission statement is “ConferenceDirect partners with organizations to help them achieve their goals and create memorable experiences for their attendees. With proven global experience, professionalism, and innovative meetings solutions our team is committed to your success.”
At the event, ConferenceDirect founder and CCEO Brian Stevens announced he will now serve as executive chairman. Jerry Horan, current President and Chief Operating Officer, will now serve as President and Chief Executive Officer.
ConferenceDirect’s more than 450 associates manage over 13,000 meetings, conferences and events for more than 4,400 customers.
Fairmont San Francisco and Accor’s All Heartist Fund Announce Partnership with La Casa de las Madres
April 6, 2023—Fairmont San Francisco and parent company Accor provided a $15,000 grant to San Francisco’s La Casa de las Madres. Accor’s ALL Heartist Fund, which in addition to supporting employees affected by the pandemic, has enabled the organization to support non-profit organizations focused on supporting and protecting communities most vulnerable populations that were further impacted by Covid-19. La Casa de las Madres is a Bay Area leader in the fight to end violence against women and children. Uninterrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, La Casa is San Francisco’s most comprehensive source of safety, support and resources to break the cycle of violence. The group provides over half the city’s emergency domestic violence beds; and they are the only organization enabling access to safety 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and run an active Drop In Center with wide-ranging outreach initiatives empowering 26,000 community members over the past two years. La Casa’s mission is to respond to calls for help from domestic violence victims, of all ages, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They provide survivors the tools to transform their lives and seek to prevent future violence by educating the community and by redefining public perceptions about domestic violence. Every day, they are building bridges to safe, healthy, thriving lives for women, teens, and children.
Grant funds will support the direct costs of delivering emergency shelter-based domestic violence family, women, and children’s services. The $15,000 grant will fund the equivalent of 165 days and nights of refuge and safety—an average 3-week stay for four (4) moms and their children who are escaping imminent danger, healing from the trauma of abuse, and preparing for their next steps into supported, violence-free lives. This includes 24-hour support, comprehensive case management, and therapeutic interventions.
Hyatt Launches Planner-centric Event Experience Guides
April 5, 2023—Hyatt Hotels Corporation has launched the Event Experience Guides by Together by Hyatt. This has been designed to be an interactive online platform for meeting professionals, where they will have access to menus, sustainability practices, well-being experiences, event space, guest room details and more at select Hyatt properties.
According to a press release, the Event Experience Guides will offer the following:
- Real-time information available 24/7, streamlining the communication between property teams and meeting planners by ensuring all resources can be found in one place
- A dynamic and easy-to-navigate user interface that showcases all information a planner could possibly need to execute a successful meeting and event such as venue photography, capacity charts, detailed floor plans of event spaces and exclusive preferred vendor options
- Curated food and beverage menus unique to each location, with Hyatt’s “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” philosophy incorporated, including local and responsible sourcing, plant-forward choices, seasonal flavors and balanced portions
- Carefully assembled “Sustainability Fact Sheets” customized by hotel, highlighting how they are addressing climate change and water conservation, waste and circularity as well as responsible sourcing
- Access to renowned wellbeing specialists through videos available for meetings and events, offering an opportunity for attendees to prioritize their wellbeing as part of their event experience
- Time-saving Event Success Guidelines and technology resources which include the Hotel Resource Guide, providing answers to planner’s most frequently asked questions
“We aspire to be the hospitality brand of creativity, flexibility and care, and our Event Experience Guides are created with the intention of simplifying event planning and execution by making information accessible in one convenient location, ensuring our meeting planners and attendees feel that they are at the center and in booking with us, their event will exceed expectations,” said Steve Enselein, senior vice president of events at Hyatt.
As of March 31, 2023, Event Experience Guides are available at Hyatt properties Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Andaz, Park Hyatt, Thompson Hotels and Hyatt Centric. For access to Hyatt’s Event Experience Guides, planners must reach out to the respective property’s event team.
Destinations International Foundation Announces 2023 30 Under 30
April 4, 2023—Destinations International Foundation and Destinations International (DI) announced the 13th annual 2023 30 Under 30 class, a group of young professionals in the destination marketing organization industry.
“The 30 Under 30 program remains critical to our organization’s vision and mission,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “These talented individuals represent DI’s global footprint, with representation from Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the United States. We can’t wait to recognize and celebrate them this summer at our annual convention in July.”
The 2023 30 Under 30 Class includes:
- Joey Bell, public relations and social media manager, Visit Tampa Bay
- Elizabeth Boylan, sales manager, New York City Tourism + Conventions
- Tom Carton, strategy and operations, Hello Burlington
- Demi Cimiaskaite, senior marketing manager, Visit Eau Claire
- Tim Crouson, CRM administrator, Destination Ann Arbor
- Kathryn Shea Duncan, director of social media, Visit Lake Charles
- Karly Dwenger, senior marketing manager, Travel Butler County, Ohio
- Molly Evans, senior manager, business events, VisitPITTSBURGH
- Ari Hamilton-Gery, corporate communications manager, Visit Baltimore
- Joy IM, assistant manager, Goyang Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Jerry Joseph, convention services manager, Destination DC
- Patti Krausert, director of research and data strategy, Tulsa Regional Tourism
- Catherine McCooey, marketing manager, Tourism Burnaby
- Katie Rhoads, marketing manager, Visit Loudoun
- Enya Rice, assistant marketing manager, VisitScotland
- Coralis Rivera, manager, integrated marketing and social media, Brand USA
- Yuliana Ruiz Velasquez, meetings industry executive, Greater Medellin Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Lauren Saizan, editorial and online content manager, New Orleans & Company
- Becca Schmiegel, marketing manager, Visit Indy
- Zoey Shircel, associate manager, media relations, Visit Mesa
- Megan Temple, senior director of partner and community engagement, Travel Lane County
- Julia Thomson, specialist, destination development, Ottawa Tourism
- Anjelica Uthe, executive director, Visit Watertown (Watertown, SD CVB)
- Mai Der Vang, human resources Specialist, VISIT Milwaukee
- Andrew Vela, project specialist, Visit Dallas
- Lydia Wilder, director of operations and service, Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Austin Wingle, graphic design manager, Visit Tri-Cities
- Cody Wiseman, creative marketing manager, Visit Rapid City
- Glorianna Yamin, marketing director, Discover Puerto Rico
- Madison Yohn, Content Coordinator, Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
Radisson Blu Mall of America Pioneers Carbon Capture Technology
March 28, 2023—CenterPoint Energy and Radisson Blu Mall of America, part of Choice Hotels International Inc., announced the groundbreaking installation of a carbon-capture technology unit, CarbinX™, developed by CleanO2. This marks the first hotel in the world to use this innovative system that captures greenhouse gas emissions from heating equipment. The installation is part of a program by CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota’s largest natural gas utility, to explore the potential of new, cleaner energy technologies.
The size of about two home refrigerators, the CarbinX device is connected directly to the flue of the hotel’s natural gas water heating equipment, where it captures carbon dioxide (CO2) and converts it to a nontoxic carbonate powder known as pearl ash. CleanO2, the manufacturer of CarbinX, collects the pearl ash and recycles it as a key ingredient in commercial products such as soaps and detergents. The products are sold online at CleanO2.ca to customers in the U.S. and Canada. They are also sold through several retail chains and boutiques in Canada. Radisson Blu MOA also expects to reduce its energy bill because the CarbinX unit recycles heat, increasing efficiency in the water heating system to achieve both energy and cost savings.
New York City Tourism + Conventions Launched as New Name for NYC DMO
March 28, 2023—At its annual meeting today, President and CEO Fred Dixon debuted the name New York City Tourism + Conventions as the brand identity for the City’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs.
The debut of the new brand was launched in conjunction with a social campaign, #WHATSGOODNYC, harnessing the “opinion power” of the City’s 8.5 million New Yorkers, offering them a chance to share their points of view on “what’s good” and what to experience. Tapping into travelers’ desire for authentic experiences, the foundation and strength of the new branding comes from its genuine, enthusiastic perspectives shared by a diverse mix of locals, highlighting New York City Tourism + Conventions’ role in amplifying these opinions to help travelers have a richer experience in NYC. The campaign offers insights, tips, recommended activities and excursions through various channels to engage and encourage visitors and locals to explore all New York City has to offer.
“With over 56 million visitors to the five boroughs last year, fueling tens of billions of dollars in spending for our local economy, New York City is not coming back, it is back,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Kempinski Hotels Appoints New VP of Food and Beverage
March 27, 2023—International luxury hotel group, Kempinski Hotels, on Monday announced Jean-Marc Dizerens has been appointed as the brand’s new vice president of food and beverage. With over 25 years of experience as a hotelier, Dizerens was formerly vice president of hospitality, food and beverage of SJM Resorts in Macau where he played a pivotal role in the launch of the Grand Lisboa Palace that includes two fashion luxury-branded hotels, The Karl Lagerfeld and The Palazzo Versace, according to a press release.
Hawaiian Airlines Enters into Sustainable Aviation Fuel Agreement
March 24, 2023—Hawaiian Airlines reached an agreement with biofuel company Gevo Inc., purchasing 50 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over five years. Gevo expects to begin delivering the fuel to Hawaiian starting in 2029, from a facility in the United States’ Midwest region.
Gevo will produce SAF with residual starch made from inedible field corn. “This offtake agreement gets us one step closer to achieving our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian’s president and CEO. “We intend to continue to invest in SAF, which will be pivotal in reducing our impact on the environment.”
Viceroy Partners with Out & Equal
March 23, 2023—Viceroy Hotels & Resorts announced its official partnership with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates (O&E), a nonprofit organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equality. O&E will provide Viceroy with LGBTQ+ executive leadership development, comprehensive Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training and consultation, and opportunities for professional networking that create and sustain inclusive and welcoming work environments. This partnership builds upon Viceroy for Everyone which is Viceroy’s ongoing pledge of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for its colleagues and guests, and cements their long-term commitment to meaningful workplace equality.
360 Destination Group Expands Into Nashville Market
March 23, 2023—360 Destination Group (360DG) announced today that it is expanding into Music City with the launch of their local Nashville office to cater to corporate groups in Tennessee. All of 360DG 18 locations are operated by local destination experts well-versed in the city’s venues, vendors, and experiences. Opening an office in Nashville included hiring and onboarding a local DMC team of knowledgeable and experienced event professionals.
Ashley Dye, account executive for 360DG’s Nashville office, said, “Nashville’s energy is absolutely incredible, and sharing it with corporate groups is the best part of my job! When clients come here, I make sure they get the true Nashville experience; that means showing off not just Broadway, but also all of the other hidden gems around town.”
FAA Addresses Safety Concerns
March 22, 2023—Following several recent incidents risking flight safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) held a Safety Summit last week. A safety alert for operators has been issued today with detailed requirements for airlines, pilots and all others in the industry to follow. Issues such as runway collision risk, landing safety and air traffic control issues were addressed in the press release.
Visit Ventura Donates Surfboards After Smart Meetings Experience
March 20, 2023—During a Smart Meetings National 3-Day Extraordinary Experience held at Mandalay Beach Zachari Dunes, destination representatives and meeting planners gathered for a Surfboard Team Building Experience sponsored by Visit Ventura and Walden Surfboards. Participants decorated the surfboards with visuals and messages inspired to inspire. Recipients of the surfboards were encouraged to make use of their surfboards however it would fit their needs. The 10 organizations that received a donated surfboard include Westside Community Development Corporation (WCDC), STEMbassadors, the Ventura YMCA, Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institution (CIMWI), Surfrider Foundation, FoodShare, A Walk on Water, Ventura Land Trust, Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.), and DATA Middle School’s Makerspace Program in partnership with Merito Foundation.
“We [are] planning on raffling off our surfboard, and using the funds to support our newest Westside Mural,” said Kendra Gonzalez, WCDC Executive Director. “Our funding is currently super limited, and we plan on using the money to help disenfranchised teens develop our future mural. The proposed site is Doc’s Market, and the process can be quite expensive. With your help, we will be able to make this dream come true.”
Like WCDC, many of the recipients plan to put their donated surfboard up as a raffle item during a fundraising event. Ventura YMCA, Ventura Land Trust, C.A.R.L., Surfrider Foundation, and FoodShare will use their donated surfboards for their fundraising efforts. Other organizations will put their surfboard to use in the water. Students from DATA Middle School will use the surfboard during their surfing lessons made possible from the Merito Foundation partnership. A Walk on Water will also use the surfboard during their Ventura surf therapy event for children with special needs this May. A recap of the event can be seen here.
Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City Donates $100,000 to Hope Exists Foundation
March 20, 2023—Leadership from Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City resorts, including Caesars, Tropicana, and Harrah’s Resort, presented the Hope Exists Foundation with a $100,000 donation on behalf of the Caesars Foundation to support crisis treatment and services.
“We are humbled to have the opportunity to support the Hope Exists Foundation and its goal to help those suffering from substance use disorders and mental health,” said John Koster, eastern regional president of Caesars Entertainment. The donation will help fund the organization’s Hope Exists mobile response that will be dedicated to meeting individuals where they are and connecting them to critical support and treatment in Atlantic City.
Atlas Air Worldwide Acquired by Investor Group
March 20, 2023—Atlas Air Worldwide, a leading global provider of outsourced aircraft and aviation operating services, announced an investor group including Apollo, along with affiliates of J.F. Lehman & Company and Hill City Capital, has finalized its acquisition of the company previously announced in August, according to a press release.
“Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Atlas, and we are eager to begin our partnership with Apollo, J.F. Lehman and Hill City,” Atlas Air Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer John Dietrich said. “With the support and resources of our investor partners, we are well-positioned to achieve our growth objectives while continuing to serve the increasingly complex global supply chain. I want to thank the entire Atlas team, whose customer focus and dedication made this milestone possible. I look forward to the opportunities this next phase provides for our Company and our employees.”
Atlas Air Worldwide will continue to maintain its global presence and operate under the same name under Dietrich’s direction.
The Hutton Group Announces New Vice President of Sales and Marketing
March 16, 2023—Pittsburgh-based The Hutton Group—Inspired Meetings and Events, announced Andrea Milrad Heilweil as the company’s new vice president of sales and marketing. Milrad Heilweil will manage and organize the site selection process and hotel contracting needs of the woman-owned and operated boutique company’s clients, according to a press release.
“I am thrilled with Andrea’s addition to The Hutton Group as she brings a myriad of hospitality and business experience,” said President/Owner and Chief Inspiration Officer Jill Garcia. “Her vast knowledge and understanding of diverse global clients in the association, corporate and nonprofit spaces fits perfectly into our wheelhouse.”
Milrad Heilweil previously worked as senior director of global accounts at HelmsBricoe over the last 20 years and was a consistent recipient of the President’s Club sales award. Garcia and Milrad Heilweil also formally worked together for 14 years. “I am excited to collaborate again with Jill to assist clients with important meetings and conventions,” said Milrad Heilweil. “We have a special rapport that brings an unmatched level of service, value and benefits to all our clients, large or small.”
Sensei Announces Dr. Vishal Patel and Alexandra Waterspiel as Co-Presidents
March 14, 2023—The luxury wellbeing brand Sensei announced the promotion of Alexandra Walterspiel and Dr. Vishal Patel as co-presidents of the rapidly growing company, according to a press release.
Walterspiel, who also serves as the chief operating officer, will focus on the operations, human resources, accounting and business development. Patel, who is also chief medical officer, will focus on wellness and technology. In their joint efforts, they will focus on Sensei’s goal of helping people live healthier lives.
“Alex and Vishal have both been critical in Sensei’s success and growth to date. The company not only deftly navigated the challenges of the pandemic, but also thrived, as evidenced by the fact that a second, and fully managed, retreat—Sensei Porcupine Creek—opened just three years after Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort,” according to Sensei co-founder and world-renowned physician, Dr. David Agus. “Their unique backgrounds and extensive experience give Sensei a leadership perspective that we believe will offer a unique strategic direction and will serve the company’s ambitious growth goals.”
Prior to joining Sensei, Walterspiel owned and operated IMPRINT Hospitality and Patel worked with various healthcare systems such as Geisinger and Parkland Hospital.
Culinary and Bartenders Unions Land New Contract, Avoid Strike at Las Vegas Convention Center
March 14, 2023—Culinary and Bartenders Unions announced a new four-year tentative contract with Sodexo LIVE! and Centerplate at the Las Vegas Convention Center, providing a historic wage increase for the 400 workers covered by the new agreement, providing temporary workers with union wages and benefits, technology language that protects workers and their jobs and proving workers with union health care and pensions. according to a press release.
“The Culinary Union has fought hard to protect workers over the last 88 years and we are proud that this new agreement is the best contract with the highest wage increases that Sodexo LIVE!/Centerplate workers have ever had while continuing to protect health care and pension benefits for 400 hospitality workers who work so hard every day to keep the Las Vegas Convention Center running,” according to Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union. “This new contract mirrors the Culinary Union technology standard language in contracts on the Strip and Downtown by setting clear goals regarding worker retention, job training, advance notice of technology implementation, automation and a severance package.”
The previous contract with The Sodexo LIVE!/Centerplate expired on Sept. 1, 2022, with banquet servers, bartenders, concession cashiers, cooks, dishwashers, and other Sodexo LIVE!/Centerplate workers agreeing unanimously in December to authorize a strike. The latest agreement was reached before reaching the strike deadline slated for March.
Director of ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Arrives at Oscars in Suit from Unclaimed Luggage
March 13, 2023—Director of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Daniel Scheinert, arrived on the champagne-colored carpet of the 2023 Oscars sporting a tuxedo from Scottsboro, Alabama-based Unclaimed Luggage—the only retailer of unclaimed luggage in the U.S., according to a press release.
“We were thrilled to see one of our very own items on the Oscar stage,” said Vice President of Retail and Company Culture for Unclaimed Luggage, Jennifer Kritner. “Each item we find and sell at Unclaimed Baggage has a unique story and leaves the store with a bright new future. Who knew this item would find its way to the one of biggest nights in entertainment.”
The Oscar-winning director and Alabama native’s film, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” won seven Oscars Sunday evening including the Oscar for best picture, best actor, best actress, best director, among others.
Everline Resort & Spa Announced as Culturally Sensitive Name for Olympic Valley, California Property
March 10, 2023—Resort at Squaw Creek, in Olympic Valley, California, announced yesterday its new name and logo would be Everline Resort & Spa.
“Our resort is dedicated to fostering spaces where everyone feels welcome. This name change was a top priority for the resort and community and a decision that has been made in collaboration with the Washoe Tribe, who have lived in this area for thousands of years,” said Manfred Steuerwald, general manager of Everline Resort & Spa.
The name Everline encompasses the resort’s evergreen mountain escape that guests can visit year-round. The name further reflects the resort’s on-site experience that caters to every Lake Tahoe state of mind, through experiences that inspire adventure, exploration and togetherness.
The new name also focuses on connection–to nature, to self, and to exhilarating shared experiences that help to forge bonds between family, friends, colleagues and other travelers.
The design of the logo and artwork evokes the resort as a Gateway to Natural Wonder and celebrates the natural surroundings through a bold durable mark, nature-inspired colors, and texture-forward touch points, making Everline an extension of the environmental experience that stands out by blending in to its natural surroundings.
Several D.C. Restaurants Added to 2023 Michelin Guide
March 9, 2023—Eight DC-based restaurants will be added 2023 Michelin Guide Washington, DC.
The newly starred restaurants include:
- Bar Spero in Capital Crossing
- Opal in Chevy Chase
- Causa in Blagden Alley
- Mandu I Mount Vernon Square
- New Heights in Woodley Park
- James on 14th Street
- Tigerella in Foggy Bottom
- Le Tejana in Mount Pleasant
“Adding eight more of Washington, DC’s impressive restaurants to the 2023 Michelin Guide highlights the city’s innovative and diverse dining scene,” says Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital.
The current Greater Washington Michelin guide contains 129 restaurants, including 24 Michelin star rated restaurants.
Destinations International Forms Strategic Partnership with Groups360
March 8, 2023—Destinations International and Groups360 today announced a strategic partnership aimed at providing a more efficient group process by using best-in-class booking technology, powered by transparent data insights, to align destinations with their planner customers and meeting attendees, according to a press release.
“Streamlined solutions for destination organizations are here to stay,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “This new partnership provides our destination organization members with unparalleled, streamlined solutions to meet the evolving needs of their stakeholders. We are excited to offer our members access to the GroupSync™ platform with advanced data insights and technology.”
Destinations International will bring its 650 member organizations spanning 23 countries to the partnership to research, develop and deploy technology to create a more efficient process for bringing groups to destinations while improving the distribution of hotel room blocks and meeting spaces to better fulfill the needs of event attendees.
JetBlue’s Proposed Acquisition of Spirit Airlines Blocked by Justice Dept.
March 7, 2023—The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a civil lawsuit to block JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines. The complaint alleges that the acquisition of JetBlue’s fiercest, low-cost rival, which provides hundreds of routes and serves millions of travelers, would reduce the options available within the U.S. and would ultimately lead to higher fares and fewer seats, according to a press release.
“As our complaint alleges, the merger of JetBlue and Spirit would result in higher fares and fewer choices for tens of millions of travelers, with the greatest impact felt by those who rely on what are known as ultra-low-cost carriers in order to fly,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Companies in every industry should understand by now that this Justice Department will not hesitate to enforce our antitrust laws and protect American consumers.”
Additional details of the complaint include the extensive expansion of Spirit’s network, doubling in size over the last 10 years, with the merger expected to curb this continued growth and future competition before it starts.
PRA Acquired by EagleTree Capital
March 7, 2023—EagleTree acquired PRA through CI Capital Partners that had invested in PRA in 2017. PRA announced today that while their management team will continue to lead the company, the business events and programs company will be enhanced by the EagleTree acquisition.
“Since its founding over 40 years ago, PRA has become a leading business event management firm in the United States,” said Mike Fiber, CEO of PRA. “We are excited to build this momentum and thrilled to have the support and partnership of EagleTree Capital.”
FAA Calls Emergency Meeting for Passenger Safety
March 7, 2023—According to MSNBC News, the FAA is calling an emergency meeting to address several incidents that are endangering the lives of passengers. Between engine fires, airplanes colliding with birds and increased degrees of turbulence, FAA chief Billy Nolen enacted a nationwide safety summit schedule for next week.
“I want to hear from the participants what they are seeing in their own operations,” says Nolen. “And more important, I want specific ideas on how to enhance our already robust safety net with concrete actions.”
USDOT Delivers Blow to Airline Family Seating Junk Fees
March 6, 2023—The U.S. Dept. of Transportation on Monday unveiled a new family seating dashboard that highlights airlines that guarantee fee-free family seating, along with those that don’t, helping travelers avoid paying junk fees as the Biden Administration continues to press airlines to improve customer service, according to a press release.
“Parents traveling with young kids should be able to sit together without an airline forcing them to pay junk fees,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We have been pressing airlines to guarantee family seating without tacking on extra charges, and now we’re seeing some airlines start to make this common-sense change. All airlines should do this promptly, even as we move forward to develop a rule establishing this as a requirement across the board.”
Secretary Buttigieg last summer pushed for U.S. airlines to do better for travelers who face canceled or delayed flights due to the carrier. Now, all 10 of the largest U.S. airlines guarantee meals and rebooking, and nine of those now guarantee hotels when an airline issue results in a cancellation or delay.
ACVB Executive Vice President Set to Retire End of Year
March 2, 2023—Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) has announced Executive Vice President and chief sales officer Mark Vaughan will be retiring at the end of this year. The announcement was made during the ACVB’s board of directors meeting.
“Much of Atlanta’s growth and success as a destination has occurred under Mark’s leadership,” said William Pate, president, and CEO, ACVB. “His efforts during the last two decades have generated tremendous economic impact and job growth for our industry and our city.”
During his time with ACVB, Vaughan oversaw trade show and in-house sales, convention services and international sales. ACVB saw a spike in both convention bookings and visitation during the pandemic under his leadership.
ExCel London Partners with Isla to offer Trace Carbon Measurement
March 2, 2023—Carbon neutral event venue ExCeL London has announced a new collaboration with sustainability consultants isla to offer the TRACE platform to event organizers, the first UK venue to do so. TRACE was designed to help reduce and report the environmental impact of an event’s life cycle–from the early planning stages to the moment an exhibitor heads for home. The platform will now be an additional service available to any event hosted at ExCeL, with the venue also holding its own license to aid data capture and measurement as part of its wider roadmap to becoming Net Zero.
Concord Hospitality Announces Record Growth for 2022
March 1, 2023—Concord Hospitality on Wednesday reported record growth for 2022 with hotel and development revenue topping $1.6 billion. Concord also announced the highest food and beverage revenue in the company’s history, increasing by 40% over 2021 with Concord’s overall portfolio surpassing its 2022 budget by 8.1%, according to a press release.
“Our performance in 2022 was outstanding, delivering record-breaking growth and a full recovery from the biggest economic downturn to ever impact the hospitality industry. We provided excellent topline and bottom-line performance and did it through excellence in service execution. We owe much of this success to the relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence by our talented teams making strides in technology, food & beverage, operations and revenue management/digital marketing to keep Concord a best-in-class operator. Our trajectory for 2023 shows a healthy pipeline of development and new business as Concord Hospitality continues to be a preferred developer and operator amongst the leading hotel ownership groups in North America,” said Mark Laport, CEO and president, Concord Hospitality.
Marine Highway Program to Provide Millions for Maritime Improvements
March 1, 2023—The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration today announced that $12, 423,000 will be made available throughout the 2023 fiscal year. The funds are provided by the United States Marine Highway Program (USMHP), which seeks to improve the efficiency and sustainability of water-based transport, create additional maritime jobs and strengthen the nation’s supply chains, according to a press release.
“America’s waterways serve as critical links in our nation’s supply chains,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These investments in our marine highways will help to strengthen our supply chains, reduce emissions, and create jobs across the country.”
Recipients of the grant money will first be evaluated by the department with criteria including any impact on the shipment of goods, the consideration of equity, environmental justice, use of domestic preference, level of non-federal funding investment as well as considering geographic diversity.
Sensei Porcupine Creek Announces Exclusive Tennis Program Featuring Former Tennis Pro
Feb. 28, 2023—Sensei Porcupine Creek on Tuesday announced a special, one-time-only exclusive tennis program featuring former tennis pro Tommy Haas. The event is slated to take place April 25-28 and is in partnership with Indian Wells Tennis Garden, home to the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, according to a press release.
“For the first time ever, Sensei Porcupine Creek’s formerly private professional-grade tennis facilities are now open to guests, offering unique tennis experiences for all levels of play,” said Julie Oliff, general manager at Sensei Porcupine Creek. “We’re thrilled to offer this once-in-a-lifetime program that goes far beyond a typical tennis clinic, to help guests refine their skills through the help of best-in-class professionals, such as Tommy Haas and our own, Caroline Vis.”
The Tommy Haas Tennis Program includes the following experiences:
- Luxury accommodations for three nights
- Welcome reception with Tommy Haas and group orientation session that focuses on goals and intentions
- Behind-the-scenes experience and tour at Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Stadium 1 play time
- Guided warm-up with Tommy Haas and Team
- 5 hours of drill practices and rotating doubles matches with Tommy Haas and team
- Personalized wellness consultations with a Sensei Guide, focused on fitness, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or nutrition
- Group classes including open sky meditation and wall yoga
- Select dining experiences including daily breakfast, welcome reception, farewell Omakase-style dinner, and lunch at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden
MeetingPulse Launches Platform Templates
Feb. 27, 2023—San Francisco-based event solutions company MeetingPulse launched a line of interactive employee engagement and audience response tools called Platform Templates. Browser-based modules are designed to improve engagement in live Q&A, polling, surveys and quizzes for in-person, virtual and hybrid events.
Platform Templates are have been designed by experts to equip sales and executive teams, event professionals, administrators, recruiters, marketers and human resource departments with tools to promote interaction between leaders and their team, according to the press release. Template features include: pre-event surveys, lead-generation marketing, speaker evaluations, all-hands meetings, sales kickoffs and voting.
Nearly $1B Awarded to U.S. Airports to Meet Surging Demand
Feb. 27, 2023—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Monday announced that nearly $1 billion in funds will be awarded to 99 airports across the U.S. to meet surging air travel demand by investing in improvements including new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation, among others, according to a press release.
“Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience couldn’t come at a more urgent time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These grants will make it faster and easier to check your bags, get through security and find your gate, all while creating jobs and supporting local economies.”
The funds will be allocated to 47 states and two territories and will also include improvements to aging air traffic control towers.
Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show Takes Spot as Largest West Coast Consumer Show
Feb. 24, 2023—The Travel & Adventure Show series hosted its fifth show at Los Angeles Convention Center Feb. 18th and 19th. The show welcomed more than 17,000 travel enthusiasts, a 50% increase compared to 2022. It also included more than 250 exhibitors, 591 travel advisors and 2,300 travel media members.
Keynote speakers included the likes of Rick Steves, host of “Rick Steves’ Europe and Travel with Rick Steves”; Pauline Frommer, editorial director of the Frommer’s Guides and publisher of frommers.com; and Peter Greenberg, Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and CBS News travel editor.
“The 2023 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show marked our 18th year in the City of Angels and it’s no secret that this one was the most important. We are excited to see its revival back to a pre-pandemic audience, both from an attendance perspective and number of exhibitors and what they bring to the show floor,” said John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm LLC, producer of Travel & Adventure Shows.
Hospitality Agencies Adopt School District, Donate Goods and Services
Feb. 23, 2023—Local business are participating in an adopt-a-school program and are donating a variety of supplies and services to the Volusia County School District, Dayton Beach News-Journal reports. The program aims to support schools mainly in West Volusia area.
“(It’s important) from elementary, and especially elementary and middle school, that we show the kids that we care, that the business community is aware and that we can guide them,” said Bob Davis, president of the Lodging & Hospitality Association of Volusia County, during an interview.
The program includes 250 members, 100 hotels and 150 hospitality allies. Hotels, such as The Hampton Inn & Suites in Deland have partnered with various area schools including Edith I. Starke Elementary, providing upgrades to campuses such as new carpets, landscaping and newly painted parking lot lines.
Other donations include laptops and miniature jet engines. Agencies involved in this program helping to boost the learning experience of students while also opening the door of curiosity of the next generation of hospitality leaders.
Hubilo Acquires fielddrive in Latest Event Tech Merger
Feb. 23, 2023—Hubilo Technologies acquired fielddrive BVBA after raising $150 million in venture capital funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Akeon Capital and Balderton Capital.
“The two companies combined really pools our products, expertise, and talent, ensuring that we can cover digital, hybrid, and in-person anywhere in the world. This acquisition cements Hubilo as the leading event tech player,” stated Vaibhav Jain, founder and CEO of Hubilo. Jain added, “fielddrive will run as an independent entity and will continue to be platform agnostic. fielddrive’s dedication to customers aligns with our customer-first approach, and our aim is to continue to meet and exceed our customers’ needs by providing technology that enables exceptional event experiences regardless of location, budget or format.”
As Hubilo looks to grow further within the in-person space, Sophie Ahmed becomes the GM of Hubilo Onsite, leading fielddrive, which includes features to manage visitor queues, facial recognition for onsite check-in, sustainable badging, lead retrieval and analytics, new monetization opportunities and an expert customer experience team.
New Plans for Raleigh Convention Center Expansion Would Double Capacity
Feb. 22, 2023—Expansion plans for a $425-million Raleigh Convention and Performing Arts Complex (RCC) revealed for the first time at Wake County Board of Commissioners this week sketched out a design that would add 500,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 30 additional breakout rooms and an additional capacity for 20,000 people, doubling the current RCC capacity.
Kerry Painter, general manager and director of RCC pointed out that the convention center is the force behind the most hotel room nights booked in the county. “Last year, we set an all-time record for the number of hotel room nights booked in downtown Raleigh thanks to a packed schedule of conventions, shows and other events. This is a marker of success but also an indication that we can do even more. The truth is, we turned away business because we simply didn’t have room, not to mention the potential clients who weren’t even able to consider us due to our limited capacity,” she said.
The next step for the planned two-square-block destination for meetings, events and entertainment is a funding vote at The Board of Commissioners and the Raleigh City Council on June 20.
Wizz Air Strikes Deal for Supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Feb. 22, 2023—Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing sustainable airline, according to the Centre for Aviation Awards for Excellence 2022 (CAPA), on Wednesday announced a deal with Neste for the purchase of 36,000 tons of sustainable aviation fuel starting in 2025, according to a press release.
The deal, based on a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), will allow Wizz Air to supply the airline’s route network across Europe and the UK with the goal of reducing the airlines CO2 emissions by 2030 by 25%. The plan is focused on reducing CO2 intensity per passenger kilometer and reach net-zero by 2050. Wizz Air in 2022 reached its lowest ever carbon intensity, which amounted to 55.2 grams per passenger/kilometer.
“Wizz Air continues to invest in innovative technology and believes that SAF is a key part of the solution for the decarbonisation of the aviation industry. This partnership with Neste, the world’s leading producer of SAF, reaffirms our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions intensity, which is already one of the lowest among airlines in the world. Working together with Neste, we will drive the adoption of SAF throughout our network, paving the way to a more sustainable future for aviation,” said Ian Malin, Executive Vice President and Group Chief Financial Officer at Wizz Air.
United Announces Plans for More Family Friendly Skies
Feb. 21, 2023 — United is launching a new utility on its seat map feature that allows for children under the age of 12 to be seated in an adjacent seat to the adults in their party for free. In a press release yesterday, Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United, explained why this update to family travel is so important.
“In an era where more families are working in a hybrid environment, they’re traveling more often – and they’re flying United,” said Jojo. “We’re focused on delivering a great experience for our younger passengers and their parents and know it often starts with the right seat. We look forward to rolling out more family-friendly features this year.”
SITE Celebrates Crystal Awards Winners
Feb. 20, 2023–Eight SITE Crystal Award recipients were celebrated on the final night of the largest-ever SITE Global Conference in New York City. “This year’s winners strongly reflected an ability to deliver the many impacts and benefits of incentive travel, while also leading the way in embracing new and emerging trends,” read the press release, which highlighted the range of destinations and companies represented and the growth of incentive travel as a key reward and motivational strategy for top firms looking to retain and attract talent.
Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group, which sponsored this year’s awards praised the international reach of the programs honored. “The Crystal Awards bring our community together and spotlight the innovation and excellence powering these teams and their standout incentive programs,” she said in a press release.
This year’s complete list of Crystal Award recipients includes:
Access Holidays & Events, for Excellence in Incentive Travel: Africa and the Middle East
Amstar DMC (Costa Rica), for Best Destination-Based Experiential Incentive Travel Program
Amstar DMC (Mexico), for Best Destination-Based Experiential Incentive Travel Program
Arabian Adventures Meetings, Incentives & Events, for Excellence in Incentive Travel: Africa and the Middle East
Augeo, for Best Virtual Motivational Experience
AV Business & Communication, for Excellence in Incentive Travel: Latin America & Caribbean
Creative Travel India & FMC Solutions South Africa, for Excellence in Incentive Travel: Asia Pacific
Motivation Excellence, for Excellence in Incentive Travel: Europe
Two Airlines Team Up to Provide Supplies to Earthquake Victims in Syria and Turkey
Feb. 17, 2023–Atlas Air Inc. and Turkish Airlines announced an Atlas Air 747-8F departed Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), carrying relief supplies for the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey.
The two companies are working with the Turkish Embassy to support the thousands impacted, with Atlas Air providing the crew and aircraft, and Turkish Airlines providing clothing, medical supplies and other essential items.
“Through our partnership with Turkish Airlines, we are honored to contribute air freight capacity to deliver critical supplies to this region where they are needed the most,” said John Dietrich, president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide. “We are moved by the heroic work of first responders and humanitarian organizations to provide relief to the communities impacted by this natural disaster.”
Cape Cod Hotels and Restaurant Win Forbes Five Star Hospitality Award
Feb. 16, 2023—Two hotels and a restaurant based in Cape Cod have been honored with Forbes Five Star hospitality awards. The award-winning hotels and restaurant include Twenty-Eight Atlantic, the signature dining room at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Harwich, Chatham Bars Inn, and Chatham Inn in Chatham.
This marks the second year for Twenty-Eight Atlantic to win the award and the second year for Chatham Inn.
The winners of the 65th annual Star Awards were selected following anonymous visits to hotels, cruise ships, spas and restaurants by Forbes Travel Guide’s incognito inspectors. The criteria consist of 900 rigorous standards, measuring every element from modern-day luxury to more traditional standards of hospitality.
Biden-Harris Administration Announce Next Steps to Deliver Electric Vehicle Chargers Nationwide
Feb. 15, 2023—The Biden-Harris administration today announced its latest action for delivering on the President’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, consisting of reliable and Made-in-America electric vehicle (EV) chargers, according to a press release.
The latest steps include the publication of minimum standards for federally funded EV infrastructure, finalizing the Build America, Buy America implementation plan for EV charging equipment, and announcing that states, cities, towns and Tribes can soon apply for the first round of $2.5 billion in competitive grants to build EV charging stations in locations across the U.S.
“This is a major step toward a world where every EV user will be able to find safe, reliable charging stations anywhere in the country,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “We’re establishing common, universal standards for EV charging stations just like the ones for gas stations, so that recharging an EV away from home will be as predictable and accessible as filling up a gas tank.”
DI and Tourism Cares Partner for Social Good
Feb. 15, 2023—Destinations International, the association for destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), announced a partnership with Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to the long-term survival of the travel and tourism industry that inspires travel leaders to make travel a force for good.
The partnership will establish cross-promoted special programs benefitting destination organizations globally including: The collaboration of inclusions to the Meaningful Travel Map to drive awareness of and highlight social and environmental impact experiences and opportunities and a jointly produced volunteerism project in conjunction with a Destinations International event in 2023–2024. Additionally, the two organizations will development a disaster relief program focusing on long-term recovery, supported by Destinations International and destination organization stakeholders.
SEARCH Foundation Exceeds $1 Million Giving Milestone
Feb. 15, 2023 —SEARCH (Special Event Assistance Relief & Crisis Help) Foundation chairwoman Kate Patay announced that the philanthropic organization for the meetings and hospitality industry has exceeded the $1,000,000 mark in funds distributed to industry individuals in crisis in its 25 years of supporting the industry. “We’re pleased to report that since inception, 100% of qualified cases have been funded, and industry professionals in crisis were profundly affected by the efforts of the board, committees and supporters,” she said.
The SEARCH Foundation Annual Signature Event is scheduled for March 29 at Canvas Event Venue in Orlando, Florida.
Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City Resorts Add AI Concierge
Feb. 15, 2023 —Caesars Entertainment properties in Atlantic City are using technology to enhance the guest experience with Ivy, a 24-hour virtual concierge service. Created by Go Moment and powered by IBM Watson, the automated guest engagement platform for hotels will launch at Caesars Atlantic City followed by Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana, respectively. Ivy allows guests to request the services they need to enhance their stay from their devices. Ivy can book dining, entertainment and spa experiences and facilitate housekeeping and maintenance requests. Ivy also surveys guests during their stay, which allows for quick recovery of unhappy guests in real time. Users may opt out of receiving messages from Ivy at any time.
Ivy initially launched at the boutique Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace and The Cromwell in December 2016. Caesars Entertainment rolled out to its remaining Las Vegas resorts in 2018, becoming the first major gaming company in the market to offer a widespread guest text messaging program with built-in artificial intelligence. The platform is now used at other Caesars-owned properties across the country to enhance the customer service experience.
American Airlines Awarded for Sustainability Efforts
Feb. 14, 2023 — American Airlines is named 2023 Eco-Airline of the year by Air Transport World (ATW)! In a press release from ATW, the organization attributes the recognition to the continual effort to the sustainability and fuel-efficiency efforts from American Airlines. Robert Isom, CEO of American Airlines, acknowledges the award and promises to continue these eco-conscious efforts.
“American is actively incorporating sustainability at every level of our business, from the fuel we buy to the food we serve our customers,” says Isom. “And our all-the-above approach is just getting started. As Eco-Airline of the Year, we will continue to lead the industry as an innovator in this space and affirm our unyielding commitment to build an American Airlines that will thrive forever.”
Little Rock CVB Launches Video Series Celebrating Black History Month
Feb. 13, 2023—The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) on Monday announced the “Experience Little Rock in Color” interactive video series featuring local Black community influencers discussing the Black experience in Arkansas’s capital city, according to a press release.
The series premiered before an audience of business and community leaders, as well as tourism industry partners, on February 7 at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Black History Month with the launch of our new video series,” said President and CEO of the LRCVB, Gina Gemberling. “Little Rock is a dynamic and diverse community that pairs different cultures with world-class attractions, restaurants and experiences. We are proud to spotlight our city’s rich Black history and culture and look forward to expanding our video series to connect with more diverse communities that make our city a unique, must-see destination for visitors and locals alike.”
The video is narrated by local radio personality Mia Banks and includes more than 30 Black business leaders, community influencers and residents as they discuss various area restaurants, attractions, and experiences.
Fort Worth Eateries Named as James Beard Award Semifinalists
Feb. 13, 2023—Two restaurants in Fort Worth, Texas, have been recognized as James Beard Award semifinalists, highlighting the city’s vibrant culinary scene, according to a press release.
Don Artemio, a traditional Mexican restaurant and Goldee’s BBQ, will be considered for the prestigious award that will be presented during a ceremony in Chicago slated for June 3-5. Led by Chef Juan Ramon Decardenas, Don Artemio serves traditional Mexican dishes with a commitment to use only the freshest ingredients and opened its Fort Worth location in March 2022. The restaurant originated in Saltillo, Mexico, over a decade ago. Don Artemio is up for Best New Restaurant.
Started by five friends, who all happened to be pitmasters, Goldee’s BBQ is known for being ranked the number one BBQ pick in Texas Monthly and was named after an old golden Ford F250 that was once used to haul a smoker. Three of Goldee’s chefs, Lane Milne, Jalen Heard, and Jonny White are up for Best Chef.
ALHI and Hosts Global Partner to Offer Global Experiences
Feb. 13, 2023—Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and Hosts Global announced a strategic partnership to offer tailored event experiences at ALHI’s 250 luxury properties, resorts, and cruise lines across the globe.
“There was just such a natural symmetry within our two organizations in approach, culture and focus on the client journey,” Michael Dominguez, president and CEO of ALHI said. “We are excited to leverage the reach and strength of Hosts Global with current and new ALHI clients.”
“We believe in the power of face-to-face events,” said Kurt Paben, CEO of Hosts Global. The strategic partnership will provide an integrated expertise merging best-in-class locations with boots-on-the-ground comprehensive DMC services.
Adelaide Named Host of Australia’s Dreamtime 2023
Feb. 12, 2023—Business Events Australia has announced Adelaide will be the host city for Dreamtime 2023, its signature incentive showcase designed to increase awareness of and interest in Australia as an outstanding business events destination. The Showcase will be the first Dreamtime held since 2019 due to the global Covid pandemic. The event will welcome and business events planners and media from Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom.
“Even with the disruption of the global Covid pandemic, Dreamtime 2019 delivered solid results for Australia, generating 36 business leads in three months, worth $97 million,” reported Tourism Australia’s Executive General Manager of Commercial & Business Events Australia, Robin Mack in a written statement. Prior to the pandemic, the business events sector was a key contributor to the visitor economy, attracting 1.04 million arrivals, spending A$4.5 billion for the year ending 31 December 2019. In terms of relative size, this makes the international business events visitor the second largest yielding market for Australia, after China.
DI’s Event Impact Calculator Launched in Mexico
Feb. 10, 2023—Destinations International announced that its Event Impact Calculator developed in partnership with Tourism Economics has launched in Mexico, marking more than 300 destinations with the tool in place in 12 countries. For meeting professionals working with destination partners, this tool is an easy way to quantify the impact of an event for reporting purposes.
“In 2022, more than 137,000 events were analyzed, with 80% business events and the remaining encompassing sports, festivals, and consumer shows,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “Hotel room nights are just one piece of the pie and the EIC tool allows our destination members around the world to convey the total value of an event to community stakeholders in a very understandable way.”
Reno Tahoe Reported Highest Tax Collections Ever
Feb. 9, 2023—Reno Tahoe released transient lodging and room tax statistics showing 2022’s total of $467,849,408 as the most taxable room revenue ever recorded for a calendar year. Four of the top five all-time revenue-producing months came in 2022, when nine additional records were set for monthly room tax collections. In 2022, Taxable Room Revenue in Washoe County was up 11.2%, from $420,530,005 to $467,849,408, compared to 2021, which previously held the record for room tax revenue in a calendar year. Cash Occupied Rooms were up 3.2%, from 3,092,164 to 3,189,970, over that same time period, and Average Daily Rates (ADR) increased 7.8%, from $136.00 to $146.66, breaking 2021’s record for highest ADR in a calendar year.
“Reno Tahoe lodging revenue continues to show some of the strongest gains anywhere in the U.S.,” said Reno Tahoe President and CEO Charles Harris. “The outdoor, gaming and special event offerings of Northern Nevada coincide with the diverse experiences travelers are seeking, and we are thrilled to be able to deliver on that promise of excitement, relaxation and adventure.”
MPI and NCBMP Expand Partnership
Feb. 9, 2023—Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced a formal three-year extension and expanded community offerings with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP). In October 2020, the partnership was focused primarily on a joint membership offering that has resulted in 53 members across both organizations having taken advantage. The updated partnership will extend through 2026 with ongoing renewals available for the two organizations to continue their collaboration. The two associations will seek to collaborate on industry education efforts through shared virtual learning and in-person sessions at each of their annual signature events, including MPI’s World Education Congress, Global Meetings Industry Day and NCBMP’s Annual Conference.
Visit Anaheim Booked $1.4 Billion Worth of Events for 2023
Feb. 9, 2023—Visit Anaheim announced it has confirmed 150 conventions, meetings, and events for 2023, which are projected to bring more than $1.4 billion in economic impact to the local community. Combined, these 43 conventions at the Anaheim Convention Center, 89 meetings and 18 events will generate an estimated $793 million in tourism occupancy tax (TOT) revenue for the city, exceeding 2022 tourism occupancy tax revenue numbers. These meetings, conventions and events will bring 800,263 attendees and 584,970 room nights to local hotels in comparison to the 618,118 attendees and 447,355 room nights booked in 2022. As a result, 2023 will garner an additional $285 million in economic impact compared to 2022, demonstrating a strong recovery to the community because of attendees dining, shopping and entertaining while in town, according to a press release.
Frontier Airlines Releases Fourth Quarter Revenue Report
Feb. 8, 2023—Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc. on Wednesday released its fourth-quarter report for 2022 showing strong revenue performance, including a record ancillary revenue per passenger. The parent company of Frontier Airlines reported that operating revenue for the fourth quarter totaled $906 million—a 38% increase when compared to 2019, according to a press release.
“Fourth quarter results were strong, underpinned by record ancillary revenue and meaningful improvements in CASM and utilization,” said President and CEO Barry Biffle. “Moving into 2023, we intend to bolster our competitive edge by driving further improvement in ancillary revenue per passenger and unit costs. Today, our total cost advantage over the industry average is wider than it was in 2019, and I expect it will widen further this year. With these contributing factors, I’m confident we’re on track to return the airline to the pre-pandemic profit levels per plane on a run-rate basis in the second half of 2023.”
In addition, total operating revenue per passenger was $133, a 24% increase over the quarter in 2019, and ancillary revenue per passenger hit a record $82, 41% higher than the 2019 quarter.
United Nations Approves Global Tourism Resilience Day
Feb. 7, 2023—With the support of more than 90 countries, Jamaica has been successful in spearheading the declaration of Feb. 17 as Global Tourism Resilience Day.
“This announcement will in fact signal to the world to put aside one day, February 17, every year to not just observe but to create a greater level of consciousness around resilience, says Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism the Hon. Edmund Bartlett. “The pandemic has shown us that global disruptions will continue, so there will be more epidemics, pandemics and earthquakes like the one in Turkey. The importance of this day is therefore to encourage capacity building for the world to be better able to respond to these global disruptions and recover quickly.”
The Global Tourism Resilience Conference will be held at the University of the West Indies’ Regional Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica Feb. 15-17.
ExCeL London & Levy UK+1 Partner for Sustainability
Feb. 7, 2023—Carbon neutral event venue ExCeL London and sport and entertainment caterer Levy UK + Ireland, announced a new long-term partnership with an emphasis on sustainability, technology and innovation as part of the pair’s roadmap to net zero, with Levy UK+I targeting an early adoption of 2027.
Future initiatives will see the introduction of consumer-facing carbon labelling, a minimum of 50% of menus to be plant-based, sourcing of 100% recyclable or reusable packing, to get food waste under 25% by 2024, and a new technological advanced store designed to improve the visitor experience and speed up service times, according to a press release.
Boeing Announces Plans to Cut 2,000 Finance, HR Positions in 2023
Feb. 7, 2023—Boeing on Monday announced staffing cuts to the company’s human resources and finance departments throughout 2023, with a total staffing reduction of roughly 2,000 jobs, AP reports.
“We expect about 2,000 reductions primarily in Finance and HR through a combination of attrition and layoffs,” Boeing said in a statement. “While no one has been notified of job loss, we will continue to share information transparently to allow people to plan.” Boeing’s overall workforce included 156,000 employees as of Dec. 31, 2022.
However, Boeing also said the company has plans to “significantly grow” its overall staffing levels over the course of the year. “We grew Boeing’s workforce by 15,000 last year and plan to hire another 10,000 employees this year with a focus on engineering and manufacturing,” the statement read. Boeing recently relocated its headquarters from Seattle, Washington to Arlington, Virginia.
IATA Claims Continued Air Travel Recovery
Feb. 7, 2023—The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that the recovery in air travel continued in December 2022 and for the full year.
The agency reported that total traffic in 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 64.4% compared to 2021. Globally, full-year 2022 traffic was at 68.5% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels. December 2022 total traffic rose 39.7% compared to December 2021 and reached 76.9% of the December 2019 level.
International traffic in 2022 climbed 152.7% versus 2021 and reached 62.2% of 2019 levels. December 2022 international traffic climbed 80.2% over December 2021, reaching 75.1% of the level in December 2019.
Domestic traffic for 2022 rose 10.9% compared to the prior year. 2022 domestic traffic was at 79.6% of the full-year 2019 level. December 2022 domestic traffic was up 2.6% over the year earlier period and was at 79.9% of December 2019 traffic.
“The industry left 2022 in far stronger shape than it entered, as most governments lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions during the year and people took advantage of the restoration of their freedom to travel. This momentum is expected to continue in the New Year, despite some governments’ over-reactions to China’s re-opening,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Visit Greater Palm Springs Announced Partnership to Support Local Entrepreneurs
Feb. 6, 2023—Visit Greater Palm Springs (VGPS) today announced it has partnered with Caravanserai Project to support a group of up to 30 Coachella Valley small business entrepreneurs with micro-grants up to $7,500 as well as business readiness training.
This micro-grant and training opportunity is available to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with businesses that are a part of the hospitality and tourism ecosystem in the Coachella Valley. These businesses can include restaurants, retail, housecleaning, daycare, transportation and more.
“As part of our commitment to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion, Visit Greater Palm Springs is thrilled to partner with Caravanserai Project to support our Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs in the Coachella Valley,” said Scott White, president & CEO of Visit Greater Palm Springs. “Our commitment widens the circle of opportunity to the community while providing skills, knowledge and an investment in small businesses so they can take part and grow in the hospitality and tourism industry.”
The next business-readiness training program begins on March 13. Caravanserai Project will be hosting a virtual information session on Feb. 8, 9-10:30 a.m. Entrepreneurs interested in learning more can register for this session at caravanseraiproject.org/seed-2.
Uncertainty Authors Announced as Keynotes for PCMA European Conference
Feb. 6, 2023—PCMA opened registration today for Convening EMEA conference for global business event professionals taking place in Copenhagen Sept. 20-22. The omnichannel event will feature opening keynote speakers Nathan Furr and Susannah Harmon Furr, authors of “The Upside of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown.”
In-person registration will include an all-access pass to the educational conference at Bella Center Copenhagen and exploration tours.
Israel Railways Purchases A.I.-Based Obstacle Detection Technology Systems for $1.4 Million
Feb. 6, 2023—Israel Railways Ltd., Israel’s state-owned principal railway company, has signed an agreement to purchase 10 obstacle detection systems and related services from Rail Vision Ltd. The Main Line System is a cutting-edge, artificial intelligence-based, technology for the detection and identification of objects and obstacles in the proximity of, or on the railway, according to a press release.
“After more than a year of evaluating a variety of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), Israel Railways chose Rail Vision’s Main Line System as the solution for its fleet, marking the first major commercial deployment of AI-based vision technology for main line rail industry operations,” said Rail Vision CEO Shahar Hania. “Our Main Line System outperformed in all aspects of testing during the proof-of-concept with Israel Railways. We believe this is a strong validation of our solution and bodes extremely well for other pilot programs underway, such as our long-term pilot in Australia with Rio Tinto, a leading global mining group, as well as other opportunities around the globe.”
Roughly 700 trains operate within Israel Railway’s lines of service across 1,138 kilometers (over 707 miles) of track daily, connecting major cities, towns and rural areas throughout the country.
“Using advanced, long-range A.I. detection systems, our game-changing technology provides unparalleled obstacle identification on and near tracks, making it an ideal solution for major rail operators like Israel Railways, and a key driver behind strategic partnerships, such as our relationship with Knorr-Bremse, the global leader in braking systems for the rail industry that has invested $24 million into Rail Vision since our inception,” Hania added.
City of Paris Wins 2023 Sustainable Transport Award
Feb. 6, 2023—Paris, France has been named the recipient of the 2023 Sustainable Transport Award (STA) by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Sustainable Transport Committee in recognition of the city’s recent progress in improving its public transport and urban spaces with policies that promote sustainability, accessibility, and inclusion, according to a press release.
“The work that the 2023 STA Nominees have put into building more resilient and accessible cities is outstanding, especially as the pandemic challenged our urban systems,” said ITDP CEO Heather Thompson. “It is an honor to have a historic city like Paris as the winner this year—their efforts to promote sustainability, care, and active mobility were some of the boldest seen during the pandemic.”
Paris had targeted improved efforts toward more sustainable forms of public transportation and accessible public spaces for all types of communities to improve the quality of life of Parisians. The city tested several policies during the pandemic to lower emissions and noise pollution and improve public health. STA’s honorable mentions in 2023 include Jalisco, Mexico and Bhubaneswar, India.
“We are living in a historical inflection point. Paris, like most major cities, is shifting towards becoming a more walkable and cyclable city, and we want to accelerate this revolution,” said Paris Deputy Mayor David Belliard. “It is a public health issue and a response to climate change. This paradigm shift concerns all of us: whether you are a driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian, or a public transport user.”
New Jobs Report Showed 128,000 New Hospitality Employees
Feb. 3, 2023—The new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics January Employment Report showed that out of 517,000 jobs added last month overall, the leisure and hospitality sector added 128,000 of those jobs, 35% of the growth and more than any other single sector. U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman said the report “is further evidence that travel is essential to the U.S. economy. Travel’s success is the nation’s success and robust travel demand is supercharging our nation’s economic recovery and job growth.”
He pointed out that the industry still has nearly 2 million open jobs despite returning to pre-pandemic employment levels and urged action to bring more temporary workers to the United States.
In addition to enacting other priorities to spur travel demand and growth, (streamlining temporary worker programs) should be a top priority for the federal government,” Freeman said.
Small Luxury Hotels of the World Announce New Partnerships
Feb. 2, 2023—Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) announced in December 2022 a new addition to their international MICE partnerships with Reilly Resort Representatives (RRR) Avenue Sales & Marketing (Avenue) and Heavens Portfolio.
Reilly Resort Representatives is a female-owned and operated marketing representation firm based in North America that works to connect hotels to qualified group leads. Avenue Sales & Marketing, based in the UK, specializes in the luxury hospitality industry. Lastly, Asian-based Heavens Portfolio offers a curated collection of the luxurious travel brands.
“We are thrilled to enhance the value of the average meeting, conference or event with the individual character and special charm that each of our SLH hotels provide. Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection of boutique hotels in more than 90 countries enables our partners, Avenue, RRR and Heavens Portfolio to provide their clients with some of the most distinctive, individually spirited hotels around the world,” says SLH’s Managing Director Richard Hyde.
Convene Acquired etc.venues
Feb. 1, 2023—The meeting and event space provider Convene announced today that it had acquired etc.venues, an urban day conferencing company with venues in the United Kingdom in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, and in the United States in New York City, making the combined company the largest single provider of dedicated premium meeting and event venues in the U.S. and UK.
In a joint statement, the Convene CEO Ryan Simonetti and etc.venues managing director Nick Hoare, said, “We believe that the workplace of the future is a meeting space. While individual work can be done anywhere, there is nothing-not even with all the advances in technology-that can replace the magic that happens when you bring people together.”
Federal Transit Administration Announces $1.7 Billion in Funding to Modernize Transit Fleets
Jan. 31, 2023—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $1.7 billion in funding to modernize fleets of transportation across the U.S. with low- and no-emission busses, upgrade facilities and provide additional driver and operator training. The funding is provided through the Biden-Harris administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will support transit upgrades on a local and state level, according to a press release.
“The historic funding opportunity we are announcing today is helping communities across the country purchase new buses, which will cut harmful pollution, and train workers for good-paying jobs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With these new, cleaner buses, Americans will have better options to get where they need to go and people everywhere will benefit from cleaner air.”
The programs are part of the president’s plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. “Buying new buses, including many vehicles that use new technology to fight climate change, will promote cleaner, faster, and safer rides as we move toward a better future,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Thanks to the strong commitment of this Administration to not leave anyone behind, we will be able to connect more people in their communities and improve the reliability of transit service.”
FAA Creates Optimized Fuel-Saving Arrival Routes
Jan. 31, 2023—The FAA this week announced new fuel-saving arrival routes for 11 airports, expected to save millions of gallons of fuel. The new optimized descents include flights headed to Kansas City, Omaha, Orlando, and six airports located in South Florida, according to a press release.
“We are investing across the entire system to provide passengers with the best travel experience. The era of choppy descents is coming to an end, providing a smoother landing and saving fuel in the process,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.
The fuel-saving method known as Optimized Profile Descents (OPDs) eliminates the need for descending planes to use the stair-step procedure, which required planes to incrementally drop altitude and level off followed by an increase in engine power. OPDs allow planes to descend in one continuous path from a cruising altitude to the runway.
Over 1,000 Flights Canceled Due to Winter Weather
Jan. 31, 2023—The website FlightAware marked over 1,000 flights canceled yesterday due to an icy blast of winter weather that hovered over the middle of the country. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told lawmakers in Washington, D.C. that it made a series of changes to its NOTAM system to prevent a repeat of a computer system outage that disrupted more than 11,000 U.S. flights in January.
Destinations International Foundation Announces Deadline for 2023 30 Under 30 Program
Jan. 30, 2023—The Destinations International Foundation has announced the deadline for applications to its 30 Under 30 Program set for February 28, 2023, at 5 PM ET. The program aims to provide guidance and professional development to individuals under the age of 30 by offering valuable industry experience and networking opportunities, according to a press release.
“The future of destination organizations worldwide remains dependent on today’s young professionals,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “The Destinations International Foundation continually invests in the leaders of tomorrow through professional development opportunities. We look forward to connecting with and celebrating the 30 future leaders throughout 2023 and their careers.”
The 30 Under 30 Program is currently in its 13th year offering additional perks including a mentorship program, complimentary registration to the 2023 Annual Convention, access to networking with the 30 Under 30 community and year-round educational programming.
Alaska Airlines Becomes First Airline to Eliminate Plastic Cups
Jan. 27, 2023—Alaska Airlines has eliminated its annual use of 55 million plastic cups, the first major carrier to do so. This move will eliminate 2.2 million pounds of plastic from its operation.
As a replacement, the airline will use recycled paper cups for most of its passengers, in combination with its policy of offering Boxed Water, which comes in recyclable paper containers, first implemented in 2021. First-class passengers will use glasses for cocktails and soft drinks.
The airline began its journey of plastic removal in 2018, when it removed plastic straws and stir sticks from its service, also a first. According to a press release by Alaska, the company hopes to achieve the goal of replacing the top five waste-producing products from its inflight services by 2025. Alaska has also pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, partly by reducing emissions by using biofuel made from plants.
IHG Hotels & Resorts Donates $500,000 to AHLA Foundation Human Trafficking Survivor Fund
Jan. 27, 2023—No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund now totals more than $2 million in donations after IHG Hotels & Resorts announced in a press release that it had donated $500,000 this week to fund the group’s work to end human trafficking and support the economic stability of survivors.
“Recognizing that our industry has a unique opportunity to fight human trafficking collectively, we proudly join our peers and AHLA Foundation in continuing to make impactful change,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts, in a statement.
Other contributors include: Extended Stay America, G6 Hospitality, Hilton Global Foundation, Hyatt Hotels Foundation and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
Destination DC Welcomes 36 New Members to DEI Business Fellowship Program
Jan. 26, 2023—Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, this week welcomed 36 new members to its diversity, equity and inclusion business fellowship program as part of DDC’s continued commitment to support small local businesses owned by people of color, LGBTQ+, women and disabled persons, according to a press release.
“As a member-based organization focused on economic development through tourism, it’s important for us to interface with the local community and rebuild the tourism and hospitality industry in Washington, DC equitably and inclusively,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “Supporting local businesses through our marketing channels and exposure to customers provides greater awareness to visitors of the services and small businesses that are in our own backyard.”
Those joining the fellowship program will receive free membership for one year, which includes access to marketing support and networking opportunities. Applications for the DEI Fellowship 2024 cohort will be available in the fall.
Freeman and ELX Announce Event Leader Community Network Partnership
Jan. 25, 2023—Event Leaders Exchange (ELX) and the live event producer Freeman announced a partnership that will give ELX members direct access to Freeman data, strategists and innovations. The invitation-only community of global event leaders from companies such as Allianz, Cisco and Google, will hold its first Annual Congress Feb. 1-3 at Hyatt Regency Chicago where Freeman will host a discussion group on “Aligning Business Events with Your Company’s Sustainability Goals.”
“Sustainability is a critical topic as the events industry looks to the future,” said Adam Charles, head of Freeman’s Agency group.
Accor Live Limitless, ITA Airways Launch Loyalty Rewards Partnership
Jan. 25, 2023 —ITA Airways and Accor Live limitless (ALL) on Monday announced the launch of a new reciprocal reward partnership that includes a two-way conversion offer, giving members of their rewards programs the opportunity to convert reward points starting Jan. 26, according to a press release.
Incentive Research Foundation Releases Signature Study
Jan 25, 2023–The Incentive Research Foundation has announced the release of its signature study, The IRF 2023 Trends Report.
“As we enter 2023, incentive, recognition, and reward programs will be expected to have broader reach and deeper impact,” said IRF President Stephanie Harris. “Program owners are charged with motivating a changing workforce while dealing with major disruptions, including inflation, uncertainty, ongoing supply chain issues, and limited inventory.”
The top trends for incentive, reward, and recognition programs in 2023 include:
Expanded Role of Incentives Professionals: The new decentralized workforce comes with new expectations and considerations for the structure and delivery of engagement programs to inspire employee performance and loyalty.
Incentive Travel Is Scaling Back… The demand for incentive travel is strong for 2023, but economic and staffing issues are often forcing incentive program owners to scale back.
…And Ramping Up: In order to meet the needs of the changing workforce, incentive travel needs to be more exciting, more exclusive, more experiential, more authentic, and more memorable than ever.
Patience Has Run Out: Suppliers have noted that incentive clients now expect services to be delivered at pre-COVID levels, particularly where costs are higher than pre-pandemic.
Downtime Is the Hot Activity: Attendees want more choices in their schedules, time between programs, and blocks of time to recharge or catch up with work.
Kirby Corporation Names Susan W. Dio to Company Board
JAN. 23, 2023— Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX) announced the appointment of Susan W. Dio to the Company’s Board as of January 24, 2023.
Previously, Dio served as Chairman and President of BP America, as well as BP’s Head of Audit and Refining and Marketing while focusing on integrating safety and operational risk.
“Susan’s appointment reflects our commitment to ongoing Board refreshment and focus on adding diverse perspectives and experiences. We look forward to benefiting from her insights as we continue to provide high quality service and products in a safe, environmentally responsible manner all while delivering significant value to our customers,” said Joseph H. Pyne, chairman of Kirby Board of Directors.
“I am honored to serve on the Board as Kirby continues to evolve its strategic priorities, build on its momentum in its Marine Transportation business and progress its electrification strategy in Distribution and Services. I look forward to working with my fellow directors and the management team to continue driving shareholder value,” Dio said.
Kirby Corporation, from Houston, Texas is the largest domestic thank barge operator in the nation, focusing on transporting petrochemicals, black oil and refined petroleum products via tank barge.
Destinations International Announces CEO Summit
Jan. 24, 2023—Destinations International, the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), today announced that registration is open for the 2023 CEO Summit. The event will take place in Greater Victoria, BC, Canada April 3-5, 2023 and is open to CEOs, C-suite and executive-level staff in the travel and tourism industry.
This year’s CEO Summit is themed “Navigating the Complexity,” and exclusively available to Destinations International members and event partners around the world. The focus will be around continuing the journey to navigate and overcome the complexities of the past three years. Attendees will hear from thought leaders in the areas of sustainability, health and wellness, and the future of work.
Southwest Terminates Training Candidates for Appearance
Jan. 24, 2023 —Southwest Airlines Inflight Candidates Twitter group announced the termination of any training candidates who possess any tattoos in visible places such as the fingers, hands, face and neck, even if they are potentially able to be covered with makeup or otherwise concealed.
Although this matter could have been addressed in the onboarding interview into the training program, several training candidates were abruptly released today for violating what Southwest Airlines calls “Appearance Standards.”
Accor Live Limitless, ITA Airways Launch Loyalty Rewards Partnership
Jan. 23, 2023 —ITA Airways and Accor Live limitless (ALL) on Monday announced the launch of a new reciprocal reward partnership that includes a two-way conversion offer, giving members of their rewards programs the opportunity to convert reward points starting Jan. 26, according to a press release.
Accor’s ALL loyalty points and ITA Airway’s VOLARE points can be transferred at a rate of 4,000 VOLARE points to 1,000 ALL points. Redeemed points can be used for hotel stays around the globe, room upgrades or can be applied to reduce an overall bill. The transferred points can also be applied to booking suites at major sporting events, culinary classes, concerts and other events. ALL points can also be transferred to VOLARE points with every 4,000 ALL points being the equivalent to 5,000 VOLARE points.
“We are proud to partner with ITA Airways, the leading airline company in Italy. Italy is among the most beloved and visited countries on the planet; it is thus one of our priority markets for experience, partnership, and hotel development. This partnership with VOLARE, ITA Airways’ loyalty program illustrates the importance this country holds for Accor and its members. The introduction of this dual reward scheme will enable both ALL – Accor Live Limitless members and VOLARE members to benefit from a richer value proposition coupled with unrivalled services. Partnership with ALL will also give access to VOLARE members to an eco-system with lots of point accumulation and redemption opportunities. Our ambition is to offer a wide variety of rewards, services, and experiences,” according to Ian Di Tullio, chief commercial officer Accor Europe.
Bruce White, Founder of White Lodging, Dies at 70
Jan. 20, 2023—Bruce White, founder and chairman of White Lodging, has died at the age of 70. He had been battling cancer for nearly one year.
“Bruce was a visionary, a leader, and a hospitality icon like no other,” said White Lodging CEO Jean-Luc Barone. “I have learned more from Bruce about hard work, leadership, and family, than any other person in my life. And while he maintained a low public profile and was humble in his impact on the industry, there’s no question that Bruce White helped transform the modern hospitality industry by having a long-term vision, challenging existing norms, and executing at the highest levels—all from a smalltown in Northwest Indiana.”
White founded White Lodging in 1985, and today, his company includes 60 hotels, more than 50 restaurants, 10 rooftop bars and luxury ranches. White Lodging remains family-owned and headquartered in Northwest Indiana.
White made many great achievements during his nearly 40 years in hospitality. After graduating from Purdue University, he later became a member of the inaugural class of the Purdue University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Hall of Fame; he was also appointed to Purdue University’s board of trustees, where he served from 2011 through early 2015, and is also a member of the university’s Business Hall of Fame.
His accolades include the IHLA Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hunter Hotel Developer Award for Excellence & Inspiration and the Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award. He had also served on the boards of University of Chicago Hospitals, the Indiana Economic Corporation, the Chicago Economic Club, Big Shoulders Fund, the Terlato Wine Group and Young President’s Organization.
White is survived by his wife, Beth, three adult children and newly born grandchild.
Visit Greater Palm Spring Names Todd Burke Vice President of Communications
Jan. 19, 2023—Visit Greater Palms Springs (VGPS) announced Todd Burke as the new vice president of communications, according to a press release.
In this first-ever role, Burke will support public relations and will lead corporate initiatives that include workforce development, education, sustainability and DEI.
“It’s an honor to have Todd as a part of the team, embarking on an entirely new position for Visit Greater Palm Springs,” said Scott White, president and CEO of VGPS. “With the implementation of this new position, we look forward to utilizing Todd’s experience in aviation and healthcare to elevate our presence within the local community, sharing our organizational priorities, marketing, and PR efforts on topics that impact residents as well as travelers.”
Before moving to Coachella Valley, Burke resided in Washington, D.C., where he served as Senior Vice President for Airlines for America, the trade association representing passenger and cargo airlines in the United States.
Landstar Plans to Announce Fourth Quarter Results Next Month
Jan. 19, 2023—Landstar System, Inc this week announced plans to release their fourth-quarter results, according to a press release.
The asset-light provider of integrated transportation management, with focus on transportation services will publicly announce their 2022 fourth quarter results at the close of the market on February 1, 2023.
The company will hold a quarterly conference call for analysts and investors on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, to discuss the results and future outlooks. The webcast can be found here.
New Parent Brand, Virgin Hotels Collection, Launches
Jan. 19, 2023—Virgin Hotels and Virgin Limited Edition will come together under the new umbrella Virgin Hotels Collection. Until this point, Virgin Hotels has operated as the “luxury lifestyle hospitality” brand of Virgin Group, and Virgin Limited Edition as a collection of retreats, hotels and exclusive islands owned by Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. Virgin Residences will also join the two under the new brand.
James Bermingham, CEO of Virgin Hotels, will become CEO of the new collection on April 1, and Jon Brown, CEO of Virgin Limited Edition, will step down at the end of March.
Following this new development, the company has several property opening in the United States and abroad in the pipeline.
“As if launching Virgin Hotels Collection wasn’t enough, we have an unbelievably exciting year ahead for the new collection,” Bermingham said in a press release, “with the opening of Virgin Hotels in New York, followed by Glasgow and then the widely anticipated launch of Virgin Limited Edition’s beautiful Son Bunyola Hotel in Mallorca’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thereafter, the launch of Virgin Residences Miami, as well as Virgin Hotels Denver, both in 2025. And we certainly won’t be stopping there.”
Marriott International Announces Instant Booking Solution for Meetings
Jan. 18, 2023—Marriott International and Groups360 today announced the launch of Instant Booking for guest rooms and meeting space at scale for Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada. The GroupSync Marketplace streamlines the booking process with access to real-time best available group rates and inventory at over 1,500 Marriott properties, with additional growth expected throughout 2023.
While this is expected to benefit planners of small meetings immediately, they can also view inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events at all Marriott hotels globally. The press release about the new feature describes the combination of these new capabilities as an advance that turns the “sourcing” process into the “shopping” or “buying” process, simplifying the way planners book meetings.
“This offers our group customers what they have told us they are looking for, which is a much more seamless and efficient booking experience,” said Drew Pinto, global officer for Marriott International. He also predicted that Marriott team members will be able to receive and respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently through a two-way response process. He described it as “a win-win for both planners and hotels.”
Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360, called Marriott’s involvement a testament to the commitment to reduce friction in group travel planning. With the addition of Marriott International, he anticipates that over 20,000 leading hotel properties will be equipped to offer online group booking in the months ahead.
Boeing, NASA Partnership Aims to Reduce Fuel Use, Carbon Emissions
Jan. 18, 2023—NASA on Wednesday announced the selection of Boeing and its industry team to lead the testing and development of a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator airplane and will be tested as part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) program, according to a press release.
The purpose of the new partnership is to inform future designs with the goal of reaching a breakthrough in aerodynamics and enhanced fuel efficiency. Ultimately, the new partnership is expected to aid in achieving net zero carbon emissions within the civil aviation industry by 2050 with advancements in propulsion systems, materials and systems architecture.
“The SFD program has the potential to make a major contribution toward a sustainable future,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and executive vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology. “It represents an opportunity to design, build and fly a full-scale experimental plane, while solving novel technical problems.”
Wynn Las Vegas Launches New Health and Wellness Program
Jan. 18, 2023—Wynn Las Vegas this week announced the new Wynn Living Well program focused on curating health and wellness experiences designed to provide guests with a sense of elevated well-being with every visit, according to a press release.
“Being away from home does not mean you have to compromise on your desire to stay fit, eat right, or enjoy healthy activity—our program was created to provide our guests everything they need to live well, no matter how they choose to define it,” said Brian Gullbrants, Chief Operating Officer North America, Wynn Resorts. “Through the Wynn Living Well program, we’re able to offer our guests world-class instructors, five-star treatments, exclusive fitness programs and health-conscious fine dining at a caliber that only Wynn can deliver.”
The new wellness program is focused on three pillars of health that include renewal, replenish and re-energize. The Wynn Living Well Program features a wide range of activities such as Tom Brady’s TB12 method to bespoke in-room workout videos from Amanda Kloots. Individual and group sessions are available and are offered to both guests and visitors at the resort.
Fontainebleau Miami Unveils Newly Renovated Tresor Tower
Jan. 17, 2023—Fontainebleau Miami on Monday revealed its newly renovated 37-story, all suite Tresor Tower. The renovated tower marks the first full endeavor undertaken by Fontainebleau Development’s in-house design team building off the legacy of the property’s original architect, Morris Lapidus, according to a press release.
“Fontainebleau Miami is known to this day for birthing a golden age in hospitality defined by luxury, style and service and this renovation reflects the past while bringing us into the future,” said Brett Mufson, President of Fontainebleau Development. “As Fontainebleau Development prepares for the highly anticipated opening of Fontainebleau Las Vegas in Q4 2023, we embarked on the renovation to the Tresor Tower to continue to evolve our iconic Miami property and provide guests with a consistent luxury experience across the brand.”
Monterey Peninsula at Risk of Being Cut Off due to California FloodsJan. 12, 2023—Heavy rains have delt a major blow to the day-to-day lives of many living in the Bay Area with the rash of recent storms. On Thursday, KTVU News reported that the rising level of the Salinas River could potentially flood and cut off the Monterey Peninsula from the mainland, turning the area into an island. The surrounding communities and popular meetings destinations including Carmel and Monterey that are impacted by the flooding have been ordered to evacuate. On January 9, President Joe Biden ordered Department of Homeland Security and Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster efforts. At least 18 deaths have resulted from the flooding throughout the state.
Finavia Airport Co. Aims to Nearly Eliminate Carbon Emissions by 2025Jan. 11, 2023—Finnish airport company, Finavia, released a new responsibility program outlining measures to nearly end carbon emissions at four of the company’s airports by 2025 in every aspect that’s technologically and economically feasible, according to a press release. “Finavia's operations at all its airports have been carbon neutral since 2019. We have taken practical measures and we have been able to reduce carbon emissions by 64% compared to ten years ago. Next, we aim for our airports to have net zero emissions,” Mikko Viinikainen, Finavia’s Vice President, Sustainability & Environment said. The plan involves Finavia’s airports located in Lapland including Rovaniemi, Kittilä, Ivalo and Kuusamo. A similar plan for Helsinki Airport is expected to be implemented in 2024. “Our objective is to reduce our carbon emissions by 98% over the next three years. At net zero level, there will still remain a couple of per cent points worth of emissions,” Viinikainen said. All electricity consumed at Finavia airports has for several years been 100% generated using wind and solar energy.
Biden Orders Buttigieg to Launch a "Full Investigation"Jan. 11, 2023— President Biden has ordered Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to launch a full investigation into the flight delays and cancellations caused by the FAA network breakdown occurring this morning. With uncertainty surrounding the cause of the issue, Biden says he wants to be updated to the causes of the computer outage continuously.
"I told them to report directly to me when they find out," says Biden. "Aircraft can still land safely, just not take off right now. They don't know what the cause of it is, they expect in a couple of hours they'll have a good sense of what caused it and will respond at that time."
Flights Delayed, Canceled Due to FAA Power OutageJan. 11, 2023— A computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all domestic departures as they work to handle the issue, as the Notice to Air Mission is integral to flight safety. While the system is slowly recovering, over a thousand flights have been delayed and hundreds of others cancelled. In a statement released by the FAA this morning, the administration gave scarce information. "The FAA is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage. The FAA has ordered airlines to pause all domestic departures until 9 a.m. Eastern Time to allow the agency to validate the integrity of flight and safety information."
Accor Restructures Under 2 New DivisionsJan. 10, 2023—Accor has implemented an organizational restructure falling under two new divisions. The restructure follows an announcement made in July 2022 that the hospitality group was planning to make the shift during the first quarter of the year, according to a press release. The restructure consists of a Premium, Midscale & Economy division and a Luxury & Lifestyle division that will both be supported by a Group Management Board and a Global Shared Platform with services including Digital, Technology and Procurement. The restructure is being implemented under the leadership of Sébastien Bazin, Group Chairman & CEO and Jean-Jacques Morin, Group Deputy CEO. The “Premium, Midscale and Economy” division is led by the Executive Committee under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Morin as CEO:
- Thomas DUBAERE, CEO Americas
- Patrick MENDES, CEO Europe & North Africa
- Duncan O’ROURKE, CEO Middle East, Africa, Turkey & Asia Pacific
- Gary ROSEN, CEO Greater China
- Besma BOUMAZA, General Counsel
- Fabrice CARRE, Chief Strategy Officer
- Steven DAINES, Chief Talent & Culture Officer
- Karelle LAMOUCHE, Chief Commercial Officer
- Patrick LAURENT, Chief Financial Officer
- Camil YAZBECK, Chief Development Officer
- Omer ACAR, CEO Raffles & Orient Express (starting March 1st, 2023)
- Maud BAILLY, CEO Sofitel, MGallery & Emblems
- Gaurav BHUSHAN, Co-CEO Ennismore
- Mark WILLIS, CEO Fairmont
- Gary ROSEN, CEO Greater China
- Kamal RHAZALI, Secretary General & General Counsel (starting Feb 1st, 2023)
- Agnès ROQUEFORT, Chief Development Officer
- Johny ZAKHEM, Chief Financial Officer
Destinations International Launched Bespoke Event Cancelation Insurance ProgramJan. 9, 2023—Destinations International announced at PCMA’s Convening Leaders in Columbus, Ohio, that a partnership with Nashville-based insurance and risk management company Anderson Benson will offer custom event cancelation insurance and risk management policies. Coverage could include protection of budgeted costs and expenses or revenue should an event be canceled, abandoned or disrupted due to reasons beyond the destination organization’s control. Protection options include traditional force majeure occurrences such as adverse weather and terrorism, but policies can also guard against recent event cancellation issues like civil commotion, national mourning, travel boycotts and bans, among others. Meeting professionals can work with convention and visitors bureaus in their destinations to access the service along with other tools. “Risk mitigation is the biggest issue to getting meetings back on track because it encompasses all of the challenges—civil, weather, economic and otherwise,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “It could allow organizations to make decisions farther in advance.”
PCMA Announced Acquisitions, Alliances and PartnershipsJan. 9, 2023—PCMA announced during the first day of its annual Convening Leaders conference in Columbus, Ohio, that it had forged a series of acquisitions, alliances and partnerships.
- PCMA acquired Event Leadership Institute, a learning portal with an existing library of 260 videos. CEO Howard Givner will stay on as senior vice president of knowledge and innovation. Current PCMA members will have access to the library at no additional cost.
- PCMA acquired Event Marketing Association-UK, a community of more than 800 corporate event marketing professionals from the United Kingdom.
- PCMA implemented a strategic alliance with National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, a co-locating partner of the 2023 Business Events Industry Week, Power of Purpose, which will convene March 7-9 at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland in collaboration with ASAE, AMC Institute, Events Industry Council and Destinations International. The event will move to Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 9-11, 2024.
- PCMA partnered with American Geophysical Union, a global earth and science publisher, to focus on active steps to address climate change.
U.S. DOT Names New Technical Director of Volpe CenterJan. 9, 2023—The U.S. Department of Transportation last week named Johnathan Walker, PE, PhD as the new director of the department’s Volpe Center, which oversees the Center for Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Engineering. The Volpe Center executes over 300 projects annually with a focus on providing a safe, efficient, sustainable and more equitable transportation system, according to a press release. “Jonathan’s experience, perspective, and expertise—from his extensive engineering background to his Marine Corps service—make him perfectly suited to lead our team and direct our work in real-time communications, navigation, surveillance, and decision-support systems,” said U.S. DOT Volpe Center Director Anne Aylward. “We’re thrilled for him to not only lead our FAA portfolio as we support the Administration’s vision to deliver the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world—but also help our team of Volpe experts apply lessons learned from aviation across other transportation modes.”
Horizon Air Announces New Senior Vice President of OperationsJan. 5, 2023—Horizon Air on Thursday announced that Jason Berry will take up the role as senior vice president of operations at the subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, according to a press release. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Jason back,” said Horizon Air President Joe Sprague. “Adding talented operational leaders like Jason is great for our business and it’s important for our long-term success at Horizon and Alaska. On a personal level, he is a fantastic person, he ‘gets’ Horizon and he knows our culture, and I’m excited to work with him again.” Berry returns to Alaska Air Group after two years following his role at Air Canada where he served as vice president of cargo. Prior to that, the 27-year industry veteran served as president of Alaska’s wholly owned subsidiary, McGee Air Services in 2019 and 2020 where he oversaw all aspects of aviation services ground handling, check-in and gate services, aircraft grooming and airport mobility services. He was named “Executive of the Year” by Air Cargo World in 2022.
Meet AC Booked 11 Events for New YearJan. 4, 2023—In 2022, Meet AC and the Atlantic City Sports Commission hosted 210 competitions, conventions and sporting events across the destination, with 80 of the events taking place at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The destination was proud to host landmark events like the 113th NAACP National Convention in July, the Meet AC Atlantic City Airshow in August, and The Atlantic City Pickleball Open, the world’s largest indoor pickleball tournament in September. “Last year was a landmark year for meetings and conventions in Atlantic City as we began to see planner’s appetites for in-person meetings and events grow following the pandemic,” said Meet AC President and CEO, Larry Sieg. “With the continued surge in both leisure and bleisure travel, we’re expecting to build on the momentum into 2023 with exciting new events such as TakeOff North America 2023, the SHIFT Expo, and the 2023 USRowing Annual Convention and Indoor National Championships.” Other events scheduled for the first quarter of 2023 at Atlantic City Convention Center include The Pool & Spa Show Jan. 24-25 and New Jersey Music Educators Association 2023 State Conference.
Visit Oceanside Collaborates With City to Develop Destination’s First Sustainable Tourism Master PlanJan. 4, 2023—Visit Oceanside has partnered with the city of Oceanside to develop the city’s first sustainable tourism master plan, providing a 10-year blueprint for leading its tourism growth toward a sustainable future. The destination will use best practices and criteria laid out by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, one of only two California destinations to do so. According to a press release, the sustainable tourism master plan will provide an action plan for pursuing experiences, product, infrastructure and policies that match the plan’s four objectives: visitor quality experience, quality of economy, environmental quality and resident quality of life. “The initial phase of the project includes a sustainability assessment, destination assessment, competitive analysis and stakeholder engagement,” the press release says. “Input from residents, businesses and city leaders will be gathered through a series of online surveys, focus groups and town halls in the first quarter of 2023. The plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year.” “The pandemic shed a light on the importance of a holistic approach to tourism that balances economic benefit with quality of life for residents and health of the destination,” Visit Oceanside CEO Leslee Gaul said. “We are proud that Oceanside has not only taken a lead in formalizing this effort, but also committed to measuring our future product development, policies and achievements against the leading standard for sustainability in the world.”
Atlantis Paradise Island Hosts Nassau Paradise Wine & Food Festival in BahamasJan. 3, 2023—Tickets are now available for the Nassau Paradise Wine & Food Festival (NFIWFF). The festival is happening between March 15th and March 19th at Atlantis Paradise Island, the Caribbean’s most iconic destination resort in the Bahamas. Attendees can expect appearances from local and regional chefs, music performances, culinary demos, beachside parties, and an Ice Cream Social with a musical performance by Golden Globe-nominated rapper Wyclef Jean. The five-day festival with feature the likes of mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, chef Alex Guarnaschelli, chef JJ Johnson and many more. Proceeds from the event will support the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, dedicated to the preserving marine life and its inhabitants throughout the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Campaign for Better Transport Calls for 'Super Tax' on Private Jets in UKJan. 3, 2023—The UK-based transportation charity, Campaign for Better Transport, is calling for a new “super tax” that would be imposed on private jets passengers while suggesting that UK lawmakers revoke the Value-Added Tax (VAT)-free status of private jets. Campaign for Better Transport cited the unprecedented amount of pollution created by private jets—roughly five to 14 times more than commercial flights, according to a press release. Passengers flying on private jets pay the same Air Passenger Duty (APD) as those flying First Class and Business Class, but the charity says they should be paying a higher rate of APD. Campaign for Better Transport estimates that an increased tax could generate as much as £14 billion annually. “Private jets are hugely damaging to the environment and are the preserve of the super-rich,” according to Norman Baker, the Director of External Affairs at Campaign for Better Transport, noting that private jet passengers should pay the equivalent for “the damage their flights cause and the proceeds used to help improve public transport for communities up and down the country.”
Design Doyenne Who Drew Travelers to ‘Cool Britannia’ Dies at 81Dec. 29, 2022 -- Vivienne Westwood, the British fashion designer who began media life as a punk princess and progressed to be a doyenne of UK design, has died at age 81. Westwood started her career at the dawn of Britain’s punk movement but by the 90s and early 2000s had become a stalwart tentpole for British tourism’s “Cool Britannia” marketing positioning. Westwood was more than a name from the runways. She designed uniforms for flight attendants on Virgin Atlantic and in 2014 designed the penthouse suite for The London West Hollywood Beverly Hills hotel. Her influence was a driving force for hotel design in the early days of the “boutique hotel” trend: seen in brands as mainstream as W and as eclectic as the Sanderson London hotel.
Hong Kong Lifts PCR Test RequirementsDec. 28, 2022—The Hong Kong SAR Government has announced the lifting of all mandatory PCR test requirements for inbound travelers upon arrival in Hong Kong, as well as the lifting of Vaccine Pass which allowed access to specified premises and other measures starting from tomorrow (Dec. 29), Inbound travelers to Hong Kong are now only required to present negative results from PCR tests conducted within 48 hours or rapid antigen tests (RAT) within 24 hours before their flights to Hong Kong. In addition, restrictions on event size will lift, however mask mandates remain.
Miami Achieved LEED GoldDec. 28, 2022—The City of Miami announced that it has achieved LEED Gold certification. The City is part of a growing group to be certified using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Cities rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The city has pledged Carbon Neutrality by 2050, said Mayor Francis Suarez. “Our resilience planning ensures that all buildings comply with the highest sustainability standards and being named a LEED Gold City is indicative that we are on the right track to building a Miami That Lasts Forever and Works for Everyone,” he said. The city received credits for innovative and measurable initiatives, including resilience planning, environmental justice and an abundance of green spaces. An estimated 87% of City of Miami residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park which substantially exceeds the national average of 55%.
Southwest Tries to Shovel Out of Winter Storm WoesDec. 27, 2022—In a historic storm that dumped up to four feet of snow in parts of the U.S., Southwest Airlines came out as the clear “winner” of the cancellation sweepstakes. On Tuesday, when FlightAware recorded 4,763 cancellations after the bulk of the storm late last week, Southwest still had 63% of those cancellations. The Department of Transportation will investigate the airline’s handling of the crisis including its processing refunds to passengers but Capt. Michael Santoro, vice president of the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association was quoted by CNN as saying a major part of the problem was that “our IT infrastructure for our scheduling software is vastly outdated. It can’t handle the number of pilots, flight attendants that we have in the system with our complex route network…So they don’t know where we are, they don’t know where airplanes are, and it’s frustrating for the pilots, the flight attendants, and especially for our passengers.”
Marriott President Leaves for Top Role at Under ArmourDec. 22, 2022—Marriott International announced yesterday that long-time executive Stephanie Linnartz has decided to leave the company, effective Feb. 24, 2023 to take on the role of president and CEO of Baltimore, Maryland-based Under Armour. In a statement, Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said: "On the one hand, I am excited for this next chapter in Stephanie's career. On the other, I am saddened by the departure of such an incredible executive. Beyond the collaborative relationship that Stephanie and I enjoy in our roles, we are good friends, having rooted for each other for more than two decades as we grew in our careers at Marriott and in our lives outside the company. I admire so much about Stephanie – she has this great combination of grit, grace, and humanity – qualities that make her an exceptional leader. To say she will be missed is an understatement – but she will always be part of our Marriott family." Reached for comment, Melissa Froehlich Flood, Marriott global corporate communications and public policy officer said, "Tony has indicated that he'll be working closely with Stephanie and his leadership team on the design of the organization going forward." Linnartz was named a Smart Meetings co-Catalyst Award winner last year along with Capuano.
NYC & Company Reported 56.4 Million Visitors in 2022, a 71% IncreaseDec. 22, 2022—NYC & Company today announced that New York City's economic recovery continued in 2022, with an anticipated 56.4 million travelers arriving in the city by the end of the year—a 71.4% increase over 2021. The city will see 47.4 million domestic and 8.9 million international travelers visit the five boroughs—with international visitation alone more than tripling over 2021. This activity marks the return of 85% of the city's record 2019 visitation levels. New York City remains on pace to attract 61.7 million visitors in 2023, according to the press release.
U.S. Department of Transportation Funds Rural Projects to Improve InfrastructureDec. 21, 2022—The Biden-Harris administration announced today the plans for $274 million investment over 12 projects in rural areas that will improve and expand transportation infrastructure and connect the more remote communities to accessible hubs of transportation. The press release mentions Kalispell, Montana, the state of North Carolina and Todd County, South Dakota, as some of the rural areas that will be aided by the rebuilding of transportation systems with funding from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RSTG). “Infrastructure investments haven’t always reached rural America, leaving far too many roads, bridges and other parts of the transportation system across our country in disrepair,” said Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary. “Today’s announcement is one of many ways this administration is delivering the investments that rural communities have gone without for far too long, modernizing transportation, creating economic opportunity and making life better for millions of people.”
New Online Booking Platform Will Convert Hotel Reservations into NFTsDec. 20, 2022—LIFE Rewards announced today the launch of an online booking platform offering hotel reservations that can be digitized and converted into tradeable, collectible NFTs for the secondary market, similar to how baseball and Broadway tickets are sold. Based on AI that services a large online travel agency, LIFE will launch with discounted prices on millions of hotels globally. Users can pay via credit or debit card. Crypto payments will also be accepted. “Travel and entertainment are ripe for disruption by the blockchain, which enables travel reservations and event tickets to be tokenized and traded securely and seamlessly. Hotels will welcome LIFE, since it helps them solve the problem of high cancellation rates by creating bookings that, for the first time ever, can be traded on secondary markets rather than cancelled when travelers’ plans change,” said Eduardo (Eddie) Ibañez, Scientist at LIFE and former Chief Scientist at Priceline, in a press release.
PCMA Foundation Announces 2023 Groundbreaker and Professional Excellence Finalists, Visionary Award Lifetime Achievement HonoreesDec. 19, 2022—The PCMA Foundation on Monday announced the 2023 PCMA Visionary Awards Lifetime Achievement Honorees and Groundbreaker and Professional Excellence Finalists for the annual Visionary Awards scheduled for March 9, 2023, during Business Industry Week at Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD., according to a press release. The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Honorees are:
- 2023 Supplier Honoree: Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group, IMEX Group – Regent Exhibitions
- 2023 Education Honoree: T. Hickman, Lead Faculty, Dallas College – Richland Campus
- 2023 Business Event Strategist Honoree: Bill Reed, FASAE, CMP, Chief Event Strategy Officer, American Society of Hematology
- Kristi Casale, CMP, DMCP
- Lisa McGlashen, CMP, CEM, HMCC
- Alexandra Zapple, CMP, CEM, DES
- Jolene Jang, Consultant and Speaker, Asian Inclusivity Consultancy
- Lakshmee Lachman-Persad, Accessibility Advocate, Accessible Travel NYC
- Mariana Gallo, Director, Meetings and Programs, American Association of Physicists in Medicine
- Jodi VanWoerkom, CMP, Senior Event Manager, Association for Talent Development
- Cynthia Smith, CMP, DES,Virtual Event Manager, American Physical Society
- John Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Engaging Virtual Meetings
- Megan Finnell, CMP, Director, Meetings & Conferences, MGMA
- Beth Surmont, FASAE, CMP, CAE, Vice President, Event Strategy and Design, 360 Live Media
- Kristi Casale, CMP, DMCP, Vice President for Meetings and Continuing Education, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
- Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP-Fellow, CMM, DES Vice President of Sales & Industry Relations, Teneo Hospitality Group
- Constance Samuels, MBA, CMP, DES,Director of Events and Education, The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations
- Sheila Wong, CEM, DES,Senior Vice President, BBW Event Staff
- Susan Saganski, CMP, DES,Global Account Executive, Marriott International (Canada East Chapter)
- Joni Opperman, Director of Sales, Association Group Sales, Hilton Worldwide Sales (Greater Midwest Chapter)
- Leah Lewis, CMP, DES,Director of Meetings, American Gear Manufacturers Association, (Capital Chapter)
- Tim Mathy, Senior Partner, SpeakInc.
- Kristen Parker, CASE, Director of Eastern Regional Sales, Visit Austin
- Rob Venus, General Manager, Freeman
Metro Toronto Convention Centre Sets Records for Securing Major ConventionsDec. 19, 2022—The Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Monday announced that it has set two facility records for securing major conventions in 2022 and during the 2023/24 fiscal year. The MTCC is Canada’s leading convention facility and is scheduled to host 21 citywide conventions in the 2023/24 fiscal year—the highest yearly total for the convention in its 38-year history and is expected to generate an estimated $246 million in revenue for Toronto, according to a press release. The MTCC broke a second record for booking seven international meetings slated to take place over future years, the most secured in one year. These meetings will take place between 2025 and 2030 and are each expected to bring between 2,000 and 4,000 attendees to the region from around the world. “Our team continues to work tirelessly to book meetings and conventions that make key economic contributions to the province and our city. These results are a positive signal for the business events industry and our facility following a few challenging years,” said Lorenz Hassenstein, President and CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “Particularly, booking international meetings is an extremely competitive process, and we would like to thank our industry partners at Destination Toronto, the Leaders Circle and the incredible local experts we work with for their continuous collaboration and support.” “The MTCC is a world-class venue with a proven track record for hosting major events and conventions that help generate a positive economic impact – for both the City of Toronto and the province,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “This record-breaking achievement is a clear indication that the centre is making great contributions to Ontario’s tourism industry, ensuring the province remains a premier attraction for convention attendees and tourists alike.”
Mesa Airlines to Expand Service with United, Winds Down Contract with American AirlinesDec. 19, 2022—Mesa Airlines on Monday announced the regional air carrier will wind down its partnership with American Airlines following unprofitable operations with the carrier and will now expand service with United Airlines, according to a press release. The final day of operations between Mesa and American will be April 3, 2023, with Mesa expected to begin placing aircraft with United in March 2023, but will continue to utilize all of its crew and maintenance locations currently operated by American in Phoenix, Dallas, El Paso, and Louisville during the transition and beyond. “I’d like to thank our long-time friends at American Airlines,” said Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa Chairman and CEO. “Our relationship with American began in 1992 when Mesa initiated flying as a codeshare partner with America West after investing in its reorganization. Over the last 30 years, we’ve been through a lot together and we will always appreciate the opportunity to work as America West Express, US Air Express, and American Eagle.”
Visalia Is First Certified Autism DestinationDec. 15, 2022—Visalia, California announced in a press release today that the city has become the nation’s first Certified Autism Destination. The distinction is awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) for the progressive initiatives Visalia has implemented to ensure travelers with autism are able to enjoy adventurous tourism and all it has to offer. "We are truly honored to obtain the Certified Autism Destination designation," said John Oneto, board chair of Visit Visalia. "Visalia has long-prided itself in being a welcoming and inviting community and this was a collective effort by the tourism industry to make experiences sensory-friendly and remove barriers, ensuring every visitor can feel comfortable during and enjoy their stay as they explore our vibrant downtown and nearby national parks."
Bizzabo Receives SOC Type 2 CertificationDec. 15, 2022—The event Experience Operating System Bizzabo has achieved Service Organization Control (SOC) Type 2 compliance, a data security and management certification from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "This certification analyzes Bizzabo's security processes to ensure we meet industry standards for our operating systems and customer and attendee data, so you can plan your event knowing you're fully compliant," said Boaz Katz, chief data officer and co-founder of Bizzabo.
Hyatt Consolidates Under Inclusive Collection BrandDec. 15, 2022—Hyatt announced today that brands previously part of AMR Collection will now live under the Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt umbrella, which includes the all-inclusive brands Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara. The result will be a selection of 120 resorts across 40 beachfront destinations and 11 countries, including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Europe. Services such as Endless Privileges, Unlimited-Luxury and Unlimited-Fun will still be available and World of Hyatt points benefits apply.
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Launches New Planner-friendly WebsiteDec. 15, 2022—The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) announced today the launch of its reimagined website at MiamiandMiamiBeach.com featuring the latest in personalization and artificial intelligence in addition to innovative immersive experiences for deeper storytelling. Meeting planners will have access to enhanced features, including detailed partner listings and access to meeting space details, floorplans and image galleries. Search features available in nine languages—English, Spanish, Creole, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Mandarin and Russian—offer information about hotels and venues based on individual needs. The internal GMCVB sales team is empowered to create personalized webpages for specific meeting planner prospects.
New Urban Resort to Open in Vietnam in 2024Dec. 14, 2022—Those seeking luxury and a steaming bowl of Pho will get their new years wish in 2024. According to a press release, the Wafaifo Hoi An resort located in central Vietnam will be the first project of its kind for the hospitality firm. The resort will contain 118 rooms with air conditioning and 1,722 sq. ft. of meeting space. Created by Managing Director Peter van der Hoeven and Commercial Director Mikkel Krantz, the flagship resort aims to bring international attention and interest to the area. The company aims to have more information available publicly in 2023.
Oak View Group Assumes Management of Greenville Convention CenterDec. 14, 2022—The third-party venue management arm of Oak View Group, OVG360, announced yesterday that it entered a partnership with City of Greenville Partners to manage day-to-day operations of the 280,000-square-foot Greenville Convention Center in South Carolina, working closely with Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The City is eager to work with Oak View Group to position Greenville as a premier destination for conventions,” said Greenville City Manager John McDonough. Among the more than 200 venues OVG360 manages in the South are: the Durham Convention Center in Durham, North Carolina; Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Florida; Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia; Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida; and Central Bank Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The company also manages the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas; and Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas.
NY and LA Asks People to Mask UpDec. 13, 2022—Health officials in New York and Los Angeles have issued statements suggesting but not yet mandating the use of masks indoors as Covid rates, RSV and flu rates rise in both cities. The New York City Health Commissioner issued a Health Advisory on Friday, Dec. 9, that urged New York City residents to “use high-quality masks when indoors and in crowded outdoor settings. This is especially important for people who are—or are meeting—those who are at increased risk for complications from Covid-19, RSV or the flu, such as those age 65 and older and people who are immunocompromised” In Los Angeles, officials reported that “with a rise in Covid-19 cases, Los Angeles County moved into the CDC High Community Level this week, prompting Public Health officials to ask all residents to layer in sensible health protections including indoor masking and getting vaccinated and boosted. “With the Covid-19 case rate reaching 258 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people this week, and almost 15 hospital admissions per 100,000 people, the CDC High Community Level designation reflects both high transmission and increased stress on hospitals. The stress on the healthcare system is compounded by high rates of influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”
Air Canada Vice President Named Cargo Executive of The YearDec. 12, 2022—Air Canada on Monday congratulated Air Canada Vice President, Cargo, Jason Berry for being named Cargo Executive of The Year by Air Cargo World. Air Canada Cargo posted record revenues in 2021 under Barry’s leadership and continues to expand its business through investments in technology and infrastructure, according to a press release. "This award is a very well-deserved recognition for Jason, which I know he shares with his team. Since joining Air Canada to lead our cargo division, he has demonstrated his ability to build and lead a strong team that is well positioned to drive our cargo business forward. Coming to Air Canada Cargo at the height of the pandemic presented a unique set of challenges, and he rose to meet them head on. He sought out new opportunities, implemented new strategies, oversaw the introduction of our Boeing 767 freighters and furthered investments in technology and our people to position the business for growth and continued success," said executive vice-president and chief commercial officer at Air Canada, Lucie Guillemette.
Marriott's EDITION Brand Plans to Double Number of Hotels by 2027Dec. 7, 2022—Marriott International announced today that by 2027, it will add 15 new hotels globally to the 15 the luxury lifestyle properties it already operates in New York City, London, Miami Beach, West Hollywood and beyond, effectively doubling the footprint of the brand. Five will launch in 2023 in Rome; Riviera Maya, Mexico; Singapore; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; along with a second location in Tokyo. Following the success of EDITION residences as part of hotel developments in Miami, West Hollywood and Tampa, Florida, the first standalone EDITION residences are under development in Florida's Miami Edgewater and Fort Lauderdale.
New Meet Boston Brand LaunchedDec. 7, 2022—Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau announced a new name, corporate identity and tourism campaign today at its Annual Meeting. Meet Boston will launch a "Boston Never Gets Old" campaign to event planners, marathon runners and leisure travelers that draws from two major truths: Boston is still forging its identity, and Boston is a city that was built by motion and is designed to stay in motion. It will highlight the sports and entertainment industry, culture and food scene. “Tourism is integral to the Boston and Bay State economy, and it was time for us to further invest in promoting all that we have to offer to draw large-scale, international events to Boston. Boston is a global city that always deserves to be on the world stage,” said Martha J. Sheridan, President & CEO of Meet Boston. “We have five-star hotels, world-class venues, art exhibitions, incredible professional sports teams and 23 diverse neighborhoods where 76 different languages are spoken. We also have 400 years of history that is not to be forgotten as we look to the future. The new ‘Meet Boston’ corporate identity reflects our plans to continually elevate Boston across the world, and the ‘Boston Never Gets Old’ advertising and marketing campaign captures both our tradition and innovation.”
Hyatt Hotels Launches New BrandDec. 7, 2022—Hyatt Hotels Corporation has launched a new all-inclusive, adults-only brand, Secrets Impression Resorts & Spas, under its AMR Collection. The first property to open under the new brand is Secrets Impression Moxche, which opened Dec. 1 in Corasol, Playa del Carmen’s gated community. The resort features three suite categories: two-story oceanfront penthouses, master suites and signature suites, as well as in-room terraces and access to a dedicated beach area. The property also has more than 14,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 10 breakout rooms. “The launch of Secrets Impression reflects Hyatt’s commitment to offering best-in-class, all-inclusive resort experiences,” said Gonzalo del Peon, Group President of AMResorts Americas & Global Commercial. “This new concept focuses on the two most important aspects guests look for when booking their stay: service level and experiences, to ensure every moment is set to leave a lasting impression.” The brand’s second property, Secrets Impression Isla Mujeres, just off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is scheduled to open March 15, 2023.
U.S. Dept. of Labor Recovers Back Wages for Misclassified Employees of Panama City Beach HotelsDec. 6, 2022—The U.S. Department of labor on Tuesday announced the recovery of $503,053 in back wages for hotel employees of a Panama City Beach hotel staffing agency after they were misclassified as independent contractors by their employer. The misclassification was discovered by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which resulted in employees being paid straight-time rates, regardless if their work week included overtime that exceeded 40 hours, according to a press release. “Federal labor law includes strict criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors. Misclassified workers are illegally denied their full pay, benefits and legal protections,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando, Florida. “We encourage employers to use the resources the Wage and Hour Division offers to understand proper pay practices and avoid the costly consequences of violations.” Touch of Grace Services LLC provides staffing to several Panama City Beach hotels. Investigators from the Department of Labor also found that the staffing agency failed to accurately track the records of hours worked and subsequent wages paid to some employees.
New Naming Rights Deal Announced for Tahoe Blue CenterDec. 5, 2022—Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority and Oak View Group announced an exclusive multi-year naming rights agreement with Tahoe Blue Vodka. The live entertainment, sports and conference center on the south shore of Lake Tahoe will be named Tahoe Blue Center after the sprit made from water from the alpine lake. Located in Stateline, Nevada, Tahoe Blue Center is slated for a July 2023 opening and will host 130 events annually, including conferences, concerts, corporate and sporting events. The Center will accommodate up to 6,000 guests per event and could bring 200,000 guests a year. "The center is a significant investment in the destination's sustainable future and year-round economic health and we're pleased to announce this wonderful representation of local partnership," said Carol Chapin, president and CEO of Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority in a press release.
Boeing Appoints New International LeadersDec. 5, 2022—Boeing on Sunday announced former Australian diplomat Dr. Brenden Nelson AO will take over as president of Boing International and will lead the company’s corporate operations and international strategy. Nelson’s appointment is slated to follow the retirement of his predecessor Sir Michael Arthur following his retirement in early 2023. "Brendan brings to his new position vast experience in government and diplomacy, industry and non-profit associations, that will serve us well as we continue to grow as a global company while navigating the dynamics of the geopolitical environment," said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. Maria Fernandez will then take Nelson’s place as president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific on Dec. 20, according to a press release. "Maria has had a distinguished career with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the Australian national security sector and was the first woman to lead an Australian intelligence agency. She has the ideal background for this position," Nelson said. Prior to her appointment, Fernandez ran a consultancy that provided strategic advisory and independent assurance services to Australian government agencies. In addition, Fernandez held executive roles with Australia's departments of Home Affairs, Defense, Immigration and Border Protection and Education.
Airlines Had Deep Dive, Are Now Nose Up with Delta LeadingDec. 2, 2022 - The Cirium World Airline Group Finance rankings results for 2021 and the first half of 2022 show that “the steep decline in airline revenues has translated into a net loss of nearly $220 billion in the past two and a half years since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic." The study found:
- Airline groups added another $42 billion in net losses in 2021 and $15 billion for the first half of 2022.
- The US industry is on course to return to profitability in 2022, with Delta Air Lines already reclaiming top place in the first half ranking.
- Losses appear to be worsening in China as COVID-19 lockdowns take their toll on traffic, dampening recovery in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
Delta Airlines is Staffing UpNov. 30, 2022 - Delta Airlines reports that it will be hiring from 4,000 to 6,000 new flight attendants in 2023. “Our flight attendants have a unique opportunity to make a profound, lasting impact on the 200 million customers we serve every year,” said Jennifer Martin, managing director – IFS CX, learning and hiring in a release. Major US airlines have been criticized post-Covid for offering retirement and other exit packages to staffers after agreeing to a no lay-off policy in order to receive Covid relief funds.
WTTC partners with Sustainable Hospitality AllianceNov. 30, 2022—A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance in a progressive move towards the hospitality industry growing more environmentally and socially responsible. In a press release yesterday, Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, said “The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance of our Hotel Sustainability Basics which are the first step in the ladder to advance sustainability in the industry…our collective efforts will enable the hospitality industry to continue moving towards a greater positive impact through this new partnership.”
Terminal 8 Opens at JFK for American Airlines and British AirwaysNov. 30, 2022—Travelers will be welcomed to the newly renovated Terminal 8 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on December 1st. American Airlines and British Airways will cohabitate the gateways of the new terminal while the interior offers modern lounges and a sophisticated New York vibe. Governor Kathy Hochul was quoted in an American Airlines press release. “The completion of Terminal 8 is the latest milestone in our historic efforts to build a whole new JFK worthy of New York,” says Hochul. “I congratulate American Airlines, British Airways and the Port Authority for the first of what will be many milestones to come. We will continue our close partnerships as we transform JFK into a magnificent global gateway that will help to keep New York at the center of the world stage.”
Frontier Airlines Cuts Customer Support LineNov. 29, 2022—Travelers flying with Frontier Airlines will no longer be able to speak with customer support as the airline has transitioned call centers to a digitized self-service platform, according to its Investor Day report released on Nov. 15. The move to “fully digital communications” is due to call centers being “unscalable, inefficient and expensive” with “manual, labor-intensive back-office processes,” the report reads. The transition will also remove the “avenue for customer negotiation.” The transition will also result in a reduction in customer service positions from 575 to roughly 350. “We have found that most customers prefer communicating via digital channels,” said Jennifer De La Cruz, a spokesperson for Frontier Airlines, in an email. “Customers can visit our website and interact initially with a chatbot, which provides answers to common questions. If live agent support is needed, we have live chat available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Hyatt Hotels to Acquire Dream Hotels GroupNov. 29, 2022—Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has made a deal to purchase lifestyle hospitality company Dream Hotel Group for $300 million. The company has agreed to pay an initial price of $125 million and will pay the additional $175 million over a six-year period, as new Dream Hotel Group properties open, of which there are 24 in the pipeline, with projects slated to open in Las Vegas, St. Lucia and Doha, Qatar. The deal will add a dozen hotels and more than 1,700 rooms under Dream Hotel Group’s The Chatwal Hotels, Dream Hotels, Unscripted Hotels and By Dream Hotel Group brands in destinations such as New York City; Nashville, Tennessee; Hollywood, California; Durham, North Carolina; and the Catskills. Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein will join the Hyatt team, as head of Dream Hotels.
Rolls-Royce, easyJet Complete First Run of Modern Aero Engine Using HydrogenNov. 28, 2022—Rolls-Royce and easyJet on Monday confirmed the successful ground test of a modern aero engine on hydrogen, setting an aviation milestone, according to a press release. The test marks another step by the aviation industry in reducing carbon emissions by utilizing green hydrogen created by tidal and wind power. The test provided the world with its first glimpse at using the zero-carbon aviation fuel. “The UK is leading the global shift to guilt-free flying, and today’s test by Rolls-Royce and easyJet is an exciting demonstration of how business innovation can transform the way we live our lives,” said Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps. “This is a true British success story, with the hydrogen being used to power the jet engine today produced using tidal and wind energy from the Orkney Islands of Scotland—and is a prime example of how we can work together to make aviation cleaner while driving jobs across the country.” A converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine was used during the test, which took place at the outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down in the United Kingdom. EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) provided the hydrogen that was generated at the tidal test facility on Eday in the Orkney Islands.
Melbourne Convention Bureau Secured $203 Million in Business EventsNov. 27, 2022—Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) announced that for the 2021/2022 fiscal year, the destination marketing organization had booked 110 events, bringing 53,200 guests and contributing $203 million to the Victoria economy. That is a 33% increase from the previous year. Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting, MCB Chief Executive Officer Julia Swanson reflected on the year that evolved “despite the restrictions on operations for the first half of 2021-2022, we delivered a buoyant outcome with the demand and recovery for business events in Melbourne occurring faster than expected. She pointed to a key highlight from the year was Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) 2022, which " kick-started the business events industry," bringing together international and local buyers to access 225 exhibitors from around the world. “We’re also seeing confidence across international markets rebound at pace with the return of international corporate, meeting and incentive groups, site visit re-engagement and enriched experiences for event organizers and delegates across both international and domestic segments," said Swanson.
Las Vegas to Host 2028 Men’s NCAA Final FourNov. 22, 2022—The NCAA Men’s Final Four, also known as the “Big Dance,” will take place at Allegiant Stadium in 2028—the first time the collegiate basketball championship will take place in Sin City, according to a press release. The games are slated for April 1 to April 3 at the $2 billion, 65,000-seat arena located near the Vegas Strip. “The Raiders are thrilled to welcome the NCAA and college basketball fans from around the world to Las Vegas and our home at Allegiant Stadium,” said Sandra Douglass Morgan, president of the Las Vegas Raiders and Las Vegas NCAA Final Four bid team. The latest announcement follows several other marquee sporting events to land in Las Vegas including the NFL Draft, NFL Pro Bowl, Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will take place in 2023 and Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. “We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of hosting the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium," said UNLV Director of Athletics Erick Harper. "Our city has been a hub for basketball on all levels for many years and now to welcome one of the premier events in all of sports is a culmination of how Las Vegas has truly become the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World. We look forward to working closely with the LVCVA and the NCAA to put on an amazing event like our city is known for."
U.S. Virgin Islands Reported Strong Hotel RecoveryNov. 21, 2022—High occupancy rates, new hotels, resort development, and airline partnerships in the USVI were the news highlights that USVI Department of Tourism Commissioner, Joseph Boschulte, shared last week at the annual Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) in the Dominican Republic. He noted the new builds and rebuilds that will be coming to the Caribbean in 2023 and included the two new properties opening in St. Thomas this winter, the first in 30 years for the island: The Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef; and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, an Autograph Collection. The new brand campaign, “Naturally in Rhythm,” supports the hotel recovery and is designed to inspire visitors to fall naturally in rhythm with the diverse culture, natural wonders, and beautiful hotels and resorts of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.
First Phase of Major Expansion of ExCeL London Now CompleteNov. 21, 2022—The first phase of the expansion project underway at the over 100,000,000-square-foot ExCeL London convention center is now complete. The project will expand the carbon-neutral convention center by 270,000 sq. ft. adding additional state-of-the-art ICC convention facilities, exhibition halls, conference rooms and outdoor spaces, according to a press release. The new addition on the ground floor of the facility will feature 130,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, which will be integrated into the existing venue and will be complemented by high-end meeting space and rooms on the upper level. The expansion project has targeted the most sustainable plan possible and is seeking to obtain a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of "Excellent" with an electrical supply derived completely from renewable sources. The next phase of the project will be carried out by McLaren Construction.
Caesars Entertainment Debuts Ramsay’s Kitchen at Harrah’s Las VegasNov. 18, 2022—Caesars Entertainment hosted the grand opening reception of Ramsay’s Kitchen at Harrah's Las Vegas Wednesday, featuring a video message from the multi-Michelin-starred Chef Gordon Ramsay, according to a press release. “I can’t wait to introduce one of my newer restaurant concepts and the first of its kind on the West Coast to Harrah’s guests,” Ramsay said. “The menu features some of my favorite dishes I’ve created at home in my own kitchen, but with that special Vegas flair.” The reception offered guests the opportunity to savor some of the restaurant's signature dishes and starters such as Tuna Tartare, made with chili garlic soy, sour cream, avocado and wonton crisps, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, served with citrus herb aioli and frisée salad, Pan Seared Scallops with house-cured pork belly, apricot purée, pomegranate, orange and Beef Wellington with potato purée to name a few. Vice President of Culinary at Gordon Ramsay North America Christina Wilson was also in attendance Wednesday and was joined by Caesars Entertainment executives during a commemorative toast to celebrate one of Ramsay’s newest culinary ventures—the sixth to open on Caesars property. Wilson was the winning contestant of the tenth season of Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen in 2012.
Central Subway in San Francisco Connects the CityNov. 18, 2022 —The long-awaited Central Subway connecting San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center to more of the city's neighborhoods and attractions is launching a soft opening this weekend. According to a press release from San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the special weekend service will begin on Saturday, Nov. 19th, 2022, from the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. Trains will arrive approximately every twelve minutes and include stations for Moscone Convention Center, Yerba Buena Gardens, the Metreon and SFMOMA and Chinatown.
Food Service Workers at Major Convention Centers Threaten StrikeNov. 18, 2022 - Sodexo food service workers at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando and Centerplate food service workers at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Centerplate is owned by Sodexo) as well as Sodexo food service workers in New Orleans, Sacramento and Detroit have announced a planned press conference on Monday, November 21 to discuss the possibility of a strike. The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando is the third-largest convention center in the U.S. and the Las Vegas Convention Center is the second-largest convention center in the country. In a release on the planned press conference, UNITE HERE, the hospitality worker’s union quotes Jackeline Ponce, a Sodexo retail concessions worker at the Orange County Convention Center as saying, “I support a strike because I need more money in my pocket to pay my bills when the cost of living has gone up so much. I struggle with food, rent, and gas with the money I make. I make $13.60 and our convention center is one of the biggest in the country. My coworkers and I are ready to do what it takes to win the contract we need." The release goes on to say that “The bargaining units and disputes at each convention center are distinct. While specific issues vary from city to city, key issues across all five convention centers operated by Sodexo include wage increases, affordable health care, secure retirement, and fair scheduling.”
Miles Partnership and Tourism Diversity Matters Launch Apprenticeship ProgramNov. 18, 2022—Tourism marketing consultancy Miles Partnership will be partnering with Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) to create an apprenticeship program in 2023. The program was developed to support recent or upcoming business graduates with an interest in travel and hospitality. The program will be a paid opportunity for apprentices to receive a hands-on experience at Miles Partnership. They will receive training in various areas of the organization, including diversity, equity and inclusion, finance and operations, marketing and communications, and strategic planning. “We are thrilled to be the first tourism marketing agency to launch an apprenticeship program in collaboration with TDM,” said Melissa Cherry, chief diversity and inclusion officer and senior vice president at Miles Partnership. “Participating in the TDM Apprenticeship Program aligns with Miles’ mission to enrich lives through travel—which is only possible through an active and intentional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” Applications are due Dec. 16, 2022.
Los Cabos Projects 20% Growth in VisitationNov. 17, 2022 –Los Cabos Tourism Board announced today that the destination at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula expects to welcome more than 3.3 million visitors for the 12 month period ending in December–a more than 20 percent projected growth when compared to 2021 and a 32% compounded growth over the last five years. The growth was attributed to flexible business model, high quality of services, an enhanced safety and security approach, and integration of its private and public sectors to strengthen international promotional efforts. Los Cabos has over 1.3 million seats from the United States scheduled for the next six months (October 2022 to March 2023), representing a 35.2% increase when compared to the same period in 2019. More than 1,500 new hotel rooms–many focused on sustainability and wellness–are expected from 2022-2024, including Rancho Pescadero of the Unbound Collection (by the end of 2022), St. Regis Los Cabos at Quivira (2023), Four Seasons Resort and Residences Cabo San Lucas at Cabo del Sol (late 2023), Park Hyatt (2023), Vidanta East Cape (2024), Amanvari (2024), Soho House & Beach Club (2024), and Casa Vela (2023).
Registration Opens for 2023 Power of PurposeNov. 17, 2022 –PCMA, Destinations International, and IAEE announced yesterday that Power of Purpose–Business Events Industry Week 2023, a collaborative effort to unite the global business events industry, will take place March 7-9 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The second annual multi-day experience will offer five programs, including: 2023 Showcase trade show, a new PCMA Foundation Fashion Show called “Living in Color”, IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum and Reception, Destinations International’s Convention Sales and Services Summit.
ASAE Will Bring Executive Leadership Forum to Vancouver in June, 2023Nov. 16, 2022 –ASAE announced today it will hold its Executive Leadership Forum 2023 June 4-6, 2023, at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The two-day Executive Leadership Forum is designed as a concentrated learning and networking opportunity for association CEOs and C-suite leaders to explore challenges and opportunities facing their organizations. ASAE has a long-standing strategic partnership with Destination Canada Business Events. Vancouver is home to the world's first double LEED Platinum certified convention center.
BESydney Brought 47,000 Delegates to New South WalesNov. 16, 2022 –Despite a third financial year impacted by the pandemic, Business Events Sydney (BESydney) reported a strong return of business events to Sydney and delivered a future vision that incorporates key learnings from the pandemic at its Annual General Meeting today. The Financial Report for the year 2021-2022, showed the company secured 31 meetings, attracting 47,000 delegates, generating an estimated AU$132 million in direct expenditure to the New South Wales economy. BESydney CEO, Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “In FY 2021-2022 our rally call was, ‘Dare to rise,’ to build back best. For all its challenges, the pandemic moved us to reconsider what we do and how we do it.” He added, “The forward pipeline of events is strong with future business to 2029 comprising 85 global and national events that will generate an estimated $483 million in direct expenditure and attract 111,000 delegates to our city.”
Travel Santa Ana Launches “Proud Santanero” CampaignNov. 16, 2022 –The new southern California destination marketing organization Travel Santa Ana debuted “Proud Santanero,” a brand campaign that taps local artists and artisans to illustrate the originality of the people in the destination. The campaign will tell stories through the artistic expression of residents. “It makes sense to harness what makes this city great and stand apart from others—our people and diverse cultures,” said Wendy Haase, president and CEO of Travel Santa Ana. Travel Santa Ana filmed eight local business owners, posing the question of what makes them a proud Santanero. Playing on the destination’s city pride and close community, the video series also uses the tagline: “When it’s Santa Ana vs. Everybody, Always Bet on Us.” Featured creatives include Carlos “Charlie” Barragan (Charlie’s Tattoo Supply), Robert Bergman (The Visioneering Studios), Norah Briceno Brower (Mil Jugos), Logan Crow (Frida Cinema), Raymond Rangel (R & R Western Wear), Jon Sanchez (Native Son), Delilah Snell (Alta Baja Market), and Raul Yanez (Mi Moda).
JetBlue Adds Service to Paris in 2023Nov. 16, 2022 –JetBlue has announced their plans for service to Paris to be fully operational by summer 2023. The transatlantic destination service follows their successful launch of the five daily flights into London beginning in August 2021. In the press release this morning, JetBlue promises transatlantic flights with affordable travel fares. “JetBlue is offering something completely unique to what you get from the big global legacy airlines on these routes – where a single high-fare joint venture operates nearly three-quarters of the flying,” said Robin Hayes, chief executive officer, JetBlue. “The response to our London service is proof that combining great service with low fares works. We can’t wait to bring our reimagined Mint and core offerings to Continental Europe’s most visited city.” JetBlue flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) will help bolster affordable transatlantic travel for upcoming events in Paris. Anne-Laure Tuncer, Director USA Atout France, welcomes JetBlue. “With so much pent up demand, JetBlue is just in time to have their American customers experience the vitality and diversity of France’s offerings, new culinary itineraries, exciting upcoming sporting events – such as the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the Paris Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024 – and everything else France is known for.”
New Enforcement Actions from DOT Issue $600 million in Refunds to TravelersNov. 15, 2022—U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced today in a press release that more than a half billion dollars would be distributed to travelers across six airlines who were owed a refund for canceled flights or extreme travel disruption. The new enforcement actions extend further as DOT promised to assess the civil penalties in these six airlines reported to be more than $7.25 million. The airlines facing fines from the DOT are Frontier, Air India, TAP Portugal, Aeromexico, El Al, and Avianca. “When a flight gets canceled, passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly. Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back,“ said Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of U.S. Transportation. “A flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund.”
U.S. Department of Transportation aids El Yunque National Forest After FionaNov. 14, 2022—The U.S Department of Transportation announced it will be allocating $5.2 million to the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service as a “quick release” Emergency Relief to aid the cost of rebuilding Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest in the wake of Hurricane Fiona in a press release today. The U.S. Department of Transportation has also given $8 million in funding to the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) to repair damage to the island’s infrastructure. Both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Forest Service will have to work closely to not only repair the damage to the highways and the national park in general, but to fortify the infrastructure of El Yunque National Forest to withstand future natural disasters. “The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Forest Service to repair the damage caused by heavy rainfall in El Yunque National Forest,” said Stephanie Pollack, acting federal highway administrator. “The emergency relief funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future rain events.”
Aero Design Labs, Delta Test Technology to Decrease Aircraft EmissionsNov. 14, 2022—In an effort to meet its net-zero emissions goal by 2025, Delta Airlines has partnered with Aero Design Labs to test novel drag-reduction technology on its 737-800 and 737-900 fleets with the goal of using less fuel by improving aerodynamics, according to a press release. “This is a partnership formed by Delta and Aero Design Labs to contribute to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) net zero 2050 carbon reduction targets," said Chris Jones, Chief Commercial Officer Aero Design Labs. "Delta Air Lines has a proven history of leading the industry in innovation and we are proud to formalize our agreement and partner in the process to achieve FAA certification.” The technology includes FAA testing and certification and will be implemented to Delta's 737-800 aircraft starting in the first quarter of 2023 with the use of the technology on the B737-900 fleet in the second half of 2023. Upon certification of the drag-reducing technology, Delta will have the option to purchase Aero Design Lab ADRS kits to outfit more than 200 aircraft across two fleets. "This is part of Delta's overall approach to taking short-, medium-, and long-term actions to reach our goal of net zero by 2050," Pam Fletcher, Delta's Chief Sustainability Officer said. "Our partnership with Aero Design Labs is a great example of how Delta continues to invest in new ways to modify our operations to make an immediate impact on our carbon footprint today, while we work on longer-term solutions to decarbonize our industry."
Cvent and Zoom Partner to Deliver Hybrid EventsNov. 11, 2022—Event technology provider Cvent and streaming service Zoom Video Communications announced an integration at the user conference Zoomtopia that will make Cvent's App supporting Zoom Meetings, Zoom Webinars and Zoom Events available in the Zoom App Marketplace. “In today’s event environment, an organization’s Total Event Program includes a blend of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events to maximize attendee engagement, reach and overall program impact” said Cvent Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Smith, in a press release. Last month, Cvent announced a partnership with American Express Meetings and Events to expand virtual payment capabilities for corporate event planners and executive administrators. The integrated payments solution simplifies the process of managing meeting and event payments and expenses.
Construction Kicks Off on $10M Grand Traverse Resort and Spa RenovationNov. 11, 2022—Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in northern Michigan this week announced that a $10 million renovation project has begun at the resort’s original six-story hotel with completion of the project slated for spring of 2023. The current project follows the $3 million renovation of the resort’s meeting space. Both projects are part of a four-year, $13 million renovation plan at the 550-room resort, according to a press release. “This project is exciting for everyone. Of course, our guests, but also our associates,” said General Manager Matthew Bryant. “This total renovation brings in new and updated amenities that both our guests and staff will benefit from.” The project includes upgrades to 242 guest rooms, including four hospitality suites, two junior suites and all corridors of the facility—providing a modern and refined refresh of the property’s interior—the most extensive renovation of the resort to date. “Our ownership has demonstrated over the past nearly 20 years that they are committed to maintaining and improving the Resort,” Bryant said. “We are looking forward to debuting our newly renovated Hotel in the spring.”
Florida Airports Close as Storm Nicole ApproachesNov. 9, 2022 — Storms continue to impact travel as tropical storm Nicole heads towards Florida. In today's press release from Orlando International Airport (MCO), it was announced all commercial and private operations were to be cancelled as the storm heads towards the Florida coast. A total of 473 flights have been cancelled or affected by MCO ceasing to operate. CNN reported today Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) were planning to close at 2 P.M. and 4 P.M. respectively.
Marriott International Launches Apartments by Marriott BonvoyNov. 9, 2022—As an answer to the continued blending of work and leisure travel and younger travelers seeking wider accommodation options, Marriott International has announced Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy. “Travelers planning vacations and long business trips today are seeking more choice in accommodations, and the introduction of Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy responds to those trends while offering developers a premium product backed by our trusted name and distribution platform,” said Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott. According to the company’s press release, the brand is building on its 26-year service-apartment brand Marriott Executive Apartments—currently in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America—extending its serviced-apartment portfolio in the United States and Canada with the new concept. Marriott plans to introduce the new concept in the “upper-upscale” and luxury segments, “with distinctly designed products that reflect the local neighborhood for independent travelers seeking more space and residential amenities.” Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will feature a separate living and bedroom, full kitchen, and in-unit washer and dryer. The concept will be different from its extended-stay brands in that it will not provide hotel services such as food and beverage, meeting space and retail;
Travel Advisory in the CaribbeanNov. 9, 2022 — U.S Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a travel advisory in a press release yesterday to warn travelers about the heightening crime rates in Trinidad and Tobago. Terrorism and kidnapping are increasing, while other crimes such as murder, robbery, etc., continue to pose a threat to visitors. The press release suggests travelers headed to Trinidad and Tobago to enroll in The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and share your location with loved ones. The statement also urges travelers to the Caribbean to review the Country Security Report for Trinidad and Tobago or any other Caribbean islands. The reports keep travelers updated on the crime trends in that destination and help people to stay safe.
200th Hilton Hotel Opening in the Caribbean, Latin AmericaNov. 7, 2022— Hilton announced the opening of Waldorf Astoria Cancun in a press release this morning. The 173-room resort is the second Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts location in Mexico. Hilton continues to expand in the Caribbean and Latin America and the region has been monumental in Hilton's international success. Boasting "accelerated growth" between the 2017 opening of its 100th hotel in the Caribbean/Latin American region, Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana, and its 200th property Waldorf Astoria Cancun just a few years after, Hilton's portfolio now offers 36,000 rooms in these destinations. Juan Corvinos, senior vice president of development, architecture and construction, Caribbean and Latin America, says Hilton's continued growth in the region is a reflection of their commitment to their guest's needs and the popularity of these destinations. “The opening of the elegant Waldorf Astoria Cancun and celebration of our 200th hotel milestone in the Caribbean and Latin America is a testament to Hilton’s commitment in the region and the strength of our industry-leading brands to meet our guests’ ever-evolving needs in the destinations where they want to travel," says Corvinos.
Aramark, Anaheim Convention Center Appoints Chef Bernard Foster to Lead F&BNov. 7, 2022— Aramark, the exclusive caterer for Anaheim Convention Center (ACC), has appointed Chef Bernard Foster as Executive Chef. According to a press release from Visit Anaheim, Chef Foster will serve a global and fusion-forward menu for over one million event attendees annually at the largest convention center in California. Aramark and Chef Foster believe in a sustainable, seasonal and eco-conscious menu. “My goal is to provide clients an experience that is true to Anaheim where food is seasonal, sustainable, personable and memorable,” said Chef Foster. “We are implementing seasonal menus, providing offerings that reduce waste by incorporating a 'menu of the day' and including foods that cater to special dietary needs with plant-based options.” Jay Burress, President & CEO of Visit Anaheim, emphasizes the importance of food when planning meetings and events. “Food is such an important element of an event experience,” says Burress. “When event organizers are considering bringing their business to the ACC, being able to offer them an innovative F&B program that’s sustainable, local and seasonal makes Anaheim stand out from other destinations.”
Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Greenview Have Partnered to Advance SustainabilityNov. 7, 2022—Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Greenview have signed an agreement to work together with the goal of progressing sustainability across the hospitality industry. This partnership will build on their collaboration in which they developed the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, which allows hotels to measure the carbon footprint of stays, meetings and event. The updated tool is now accessible to any hotel, regardless of size or carbon reporting experience. “If we are to progress towards net positive hospitality, it is essential that hotels, partners and clients have access to reliable tools to understand the impact of the industry,” Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, said. “Having worked collaboratively with Greenview to develop pioneering tools for a number of years, this new agreement will ensure that any and all hotels around the world are able to measure their impact and help create alignment in order to drive significant progress.”
Cvent Announces Strong EarningsNov. 3, 2022—The event technology provider Cvent (CVT) announced today third-quarter 2022 revenue of $161.3 million, an increase of 20.3% from the same period in 2021 and 1.4% higher than the high end of guidance. “Momentum in the meetings and events industry continued in the third quarter of 2022, especially for in-person events. Organizations increasingly seek a comprehensive platform that can manage events of all formats and types, which helped drive our positive financial results in Q3,” said Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and founder of Cvent. “We believe the versatility of our platform across in-person, virtual and hybrid events paired with our long track record as a market leader will help us successfully navigate the current unique macroeconomic environment.” The report highlighted revenue from Event Cloud ($112.9 million for the quarter), an increase of 22.1% from the same quarter last year. Forbes Australia, Datadog, United Soccer Coaches and New Jersey Education Association signed on as clients during the quarter. Revenue from Hospitality Cloud product ($48.4 million) was up 16.5% from the same quarter the previous year. New clients included Visit Panama, HEI Hotels & Resorts, Visit California, IHG Hotels & Resorts and Boston Park Plaza. Also noted, a new partnership with American Express could provide a more seamless meetings & events payment experience for American Express Corporate Meeting Card and vPayment clients. Guidance for the fourth quarter of 2022 was set in the range of $169.3 million to $170.3 million, growth of 17.4% increase from the last quarter of 2021..
New Bass Pro Shop Resort Planned for Florida KeysNov. 3, 2022—Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris announced a new Valhalla Island sportfishing resort being planned in the Florida Keys, with construction slated for completion within the next two years. It will be the largest development of its kind in the Florida Keys and one of the most environmentally friendly. The 110-unit nature resort on 175 acres with a mile of beachfront property 15 minutes from Florida Keys/Marathon International Airport (MTH) is designed to be carbon-neutral, using ecologically sensitive design techniques that preserve 50 percent of green space throughout. It will be vehicle free and all surfaces will be permeable. Resort accommodations will include a collection of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom cottages, a master lodge, general store, restaurants, a spa, swimming pools, fishing marina and spaces designed for people to gather and connect with nature.
Jamaica Launches New 'Come Back' CampaignNov. 3, 2022—Visit Jamaica launched a new advertising campaign inviting people to come back to their best selves. “In Jamaica, we’ve been recording arrivals that exceed pre-Covid levels, demonstrating that our travel sector is resilient and so are travelers,” said the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica minister of tourism. “While everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, we want to let everyone know that Jamaica is good for the spirit. Therefore, it is the ideal destination to help people rediscover their own sense of adventure, natural curiosity, human connection and ultimately realize their most valuable human potential.” Created by the Jamaica Tourist Board’s advertising agency of record, Accenture Song, the campaign showcases Jamaica’s picturesque natural attractions and its friendly, welcoming people working together to help visitors live their best lives. The campaign was filmed utilizing over 50 local Jamaican crew members across locations in Jamaica spanning from Portland to St. Ann. Real couples and a real family were cast for the campaign so it would portray an authentic experience. Campaign music is also an original score created by Jamaican music producers.
Key West Airport Groundbreaking Launches $100-million ExpansionNov. 2, 2022—A $100-million investment in south Florida's Key West International Airport (EYW) broke ground as the first step in a Concourse A terminal expansion that will take 2.5 years to complete. A new, second-level concourse will feature nearly 50,000 sq. ft. of space, including a new departure area, additional baggage areas, and upgraded checkpoint for up to four security lanes. Seven passenger boarding jet bridges will provide all-weather access linking the terminal and aircraft. The project is designed to improve the airport's level of service and operational flexibility while accommodating projected changes affecting the aviation industry, according to a press release.
Destinations International and Charlottesville Partner for EDINov. 2, 2022— Destination International announced the launch of "Tourism for All" in a press release this morning. The pilot program is intended for CVBs to be advocates of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), address the inequalities within the industry and to become leaders and educators in the community. Destinations International is partnering with Charlottesville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Virginia, (CVB). Courtney Cacatian, Executive Director of Charlottesville Albemarle, recognized the need for change and EDI progress in the tourism industry in 2019. Cacatian hopes the "Tourism for All" initiative in Charlottesville will inspire other cities and their tourism industry to make similar steps towards equality. “I’m so pleased to see our community’s work over the past couple of years be formalized into a usable model for other destinations,” said Cacatian. “Building on the success of our Destiny Award-winning Discover Black Cville and 'Tourism for All' effort, I look forward to seeing how broadening our scope of creating a welcoming space for everyone will bring positive impact to our community, residents, businesses and visitors."
NCBMP Selects Jason Dunn Sr. as New Executive DirectorNov. 1, 2022 —The non-profit organization National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP) announced that Jason Dunn Sr. has been appointed as the new Executive Director. In a press release this morning, NCBMP Board Chairman Kevin Richardson officialized the appointment. "We're elated to announce Jason Dunn, Sr. as our national Executive Director, said Richardson. As the first black vice president of Visit Cincy and 18 years in tourism, Dunn has proved to be an asset to his city and to the industry as a whole. His experience, moral compass and vigor for the position are key values the NCBMP was looking for in their new executive director and Richardson is confident Dunn is a perfect fit as the non-profit heads into its 40th year anniversary. "Knowing the authenticity of Jason's leadership, the passion in which he builds his relationships, and his ability to move the moral consciousness of all around him, aligns with our Founders' vision and truly makes him the best person for the job," says Richardson. "We are now better positioned to compete, educate and highlight the impact of our business as we approach our 40th anniversary. We are excited about Jason leading the way."
Port of Oakland Aviation Marketing Manager Receives Legacy Award from Airports Council InternationalNov. 1, 2022—Port of Oakland Aviation Marketing Manager John Albrecht has received the Ted Bushelman Legacy Award for Creativity and Excellence from Airports Council International North America (ACI-NA), as part of ACI-NA’s Marketing and Communications annual conference that took place in Vancouver, according to a press release. “On behalf of the Aviation Division of the Port of Oakland, I congratulate John for his excellent work in promoting Oakland International Airport over the past 14 years,” said Bryant L. Francis, Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland. “Throughout the past decade and a half, John and his team have held steadfast on the mission to share with the world the myriad benefits of using OAK as a gateway and what it means to Fly the East Bay Way.” Albrecht received the lifetime achievement award during the Airport Marketing, Communications, and Customer Experience Awards ceremony that was held during the conference. Albrecht has held the position of Oakland Aviation Marketing Manager over the last 14 years.
Sensei Porcupine Creek Wellness Retreat Opens as First Standalone Property Under BrandNov. 1, 2022—Sensei Porcupine Creek wellness retreat in Rancho Mirage, California on Tuesday opened its doors to guests offering a variety of luxury accommodations and boutique experience. The primary focus of the wellness retreat is to promote a healthier lifestyle through evidence-based education, according to a press release. “The launch of Sensei Porcupine Creek is a thrilling next step for the growth of our brand,” said COO of Sensei, Alexandra Walterspiel. “As our first property fully operated by Sensei, we are able to support a wider range of wellness intentions that allow us to bring an even more integrated approach to our guest experience. The 230-acre private estate, which is now open to the public for the first time, has impeccably designed grounds that immerse our guests in the healing properties the desert landscape is known for, and we couldn’t be more delighted to see our team bring our vision to life.” The new property boasts 22 luxury accommodations including a premier spa, fitness, tennis, golf and a private Sensei by Nobu restaurant to name a few.
IACC, MPI Announce Strategic PartnershipOct. 31, 2022—IACC and MPI on Monday announced a strategic partnership with the goal of advancing the global events community through shared knowledge and boosting engagement among meeting and events professionals. IACC is a global association representing the top 1% of small to midsize conference and meeting venues while MPI is the largest global meetings and events industry association. The new partnership will allow IACC to engage with MPI’s extensive network of over 95,000 meeting and event professionals, spanning 70 chapters across the association and will also help to support all of IACC’s 400 members with improved resources and networking opportunities, according to a press release. “I am delighted to announce this new phase of an already long-standing global partnership between IACC and MPI. Through connected intelligence, we will complement each other’s crucial work in advancing the industry and deliver additional benefits for our respective members,” said IACC CEO, Mark Cooper. “We are proud of the work IACC has achieved and the opportunities we continue to deliver for our ever-growing membership. The alliance with MPI will allow us to build on that work and to support MPI’s membership and the wider industry as we drive further change and growth.”
Loews Hotels & Co Announces New CEOOct. 31, 2022—Loews Hotels & Co, a subsidiary of Loews Corporation (NYSE: L), on Monday announced that Alex Tisch will assume the role of CEO beginning Jan.1, 2023. Tisch will work closely with Jonathan Tisch, who will take on the role of Executive Chairman, while maintaining his position as a member of the Office of the President and Co-Chairman of the Board of Loews Corporation, according to a press release. “Loews Hotels & Co has a storied reputation in the travel and tourism industry, rooted in partnerships, operational excellence and best-in-class team members,” Tisch said. “My goal is to build on that reputation, leverage the owner/operator model, empower our world-class team members and create value for all stakeholders.” Tisch joined Loews in 2017 and took on the role as the company’s president in 2020. Tisch led the $2.5 billion re-defined growth strategy and expansion of Loews over the course of his five years with the company. He will continue to oversee the development and execution of the organization’s strategy and the management of capital and resource allocation, as well as the day-to-day operations of the company.
Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula Officially Opens Oceanfront ResortOct. 31, 2022—Hyatt Hotels Corporation [NYSE: H] on Sunday announced the grand opening of Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula, located in the tropical region of Wanning, Hainan, overlooking the South China Sea south of the resort and inner sea to the north, according to a press release. “With the opening of Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula, we are excited to welcome guests to experience all the pleasures of a tropical resort in awe-inspiring surroundings, elevated by the luxurious comfort, theatrical dining experiences, exceptional amenities and welcoming service that the Grand Hyatt brand is known for,” said Terence Ng, general manager, Grand Hyatt Shenzhou Peninsula. The resort features over 27,900 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space including a 6,458-square-foot Grand Ballroom and 262 spacious guest rooms and suites.
U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $703 Million to Improve Port Infrastructure, National Supply ChainsOct. 28, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday announced $703 million to fund 41 projects across 22 states and U.S. territories to improve port facilities through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program. The program aims to modernize coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports to improve efficiency, increase port capacity, lower costs, create new job opportunities and lower port emissions, according to a news release. “So many of the goods we all count on, from appliances to furniture to clothes, move through our nation’s ports on their way to us,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we're awarding record levels of funding to improve our port infrastructure, strengthen our supply chains, and help cut costs for American families.” The funds were provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and additional Congressional appropriations. President Biden issued an Executive Order on Supply Chains in February 2021 and created a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, co-chaired by Secretary Buttigieg in July 2021.
Spirit Airlines Announces ‘Enhanced, Wider Seats’ at APEX EXPO 2022Oct. 27, 2022—Spirit Airlines [NYSE: SAVE] on Thursday unveiled the new Vector Light™️ seats and the Vector Premium™️ product for the large front seats during the APEX EXPO 2022 in Long Beach, Ca. The new larger seats are manufactured by HAECO Cabin Solutions and are a part of Spirit’s plan to provide travelers with a completely redesigned interior with roomier and ergonomic seats, a larger tray table, and additional pre-recline—features the airline first announced in 2019, according to a press release. The new and improved seats will be installed throughout each of Spirit’s new aircraft, with the first deliveries scheduled to arrive in late January 2023. "Our cabin refresh in 2019 was a significant enhancement in the guest experience, and these new seats are another great step forward in increasing value for our guests. We're adding new features while, at the same time, continuing to provide More go with our same ultra-low fares," said Lania Rittenhouse, Vice President of Guest Experience, Brand, and Communications for Spirit Airlines. A total of 33 A320 Family aircraft are expected to be delivered to the airline throughout 2023.
U.S. Travel Association Announces Theme for #GMID 2023Oct. 26, 2022—U.S. Travel Association announced that Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) 2023, scheduled to take place on March 30, will adopt the theme of #MeetingsMatter. The day of activations demonstrating and celebrating the power of gatherings for economic, scientific, medical and social good, will be observed all over the world in in-person and online activations. “Following years of canceled in-person meetings, the global meetings and events industry will come together on March 30, 2023, to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day and showcase why #MeetingsMatter to attendees, organizations, communities, businesses and our economy,” read a statement from U.S. Travel. GMID 2022 on April 7 logged more than 40 million impressions worldwide and reached 30 countries throughout the world.
Boeing Shares Dip Following Q3 Loss of $3.3 BillionOct. 26, 2022—The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] on Wednesday reported a net loss of $3.3 billion for Q3 of 2022, or $5.49 per share, following a year-over-year increase of 4% to $16 billion, according to a press release. Boeing had an order backlog valued at $381 billion, including 4,300 commercial aircraft as of Sept. 30 of this year. We continue to make important strides in our turnaround and remain focused on our performance. We generated strong cash in the quarter and are on a solid path to achieving positive free cash flow for 2022. At the same time, revenue and earnings were significantly impacted by losses on our fixed-price defense development programs,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Calhoun. “We’re squarely focused on maturing these programs, mitigating risks and delivering for our customers and their important missions. We remain in a challenging environment and have more work ahead to drive stability, improve our performance and ensure we’re consistently delivering on our commitments. Despite the challenges, I'm proud of our team and the progress we’ve made to strengthen our company.” During the Q3, Boeing secured net orders for 167 737s, 27 767s, 18 777s, and 15 787s. Commercial Airplanes delivered 112 aircraft during the quarter, including 88 737s, nine 767s, six 777s, and nine 787 Dreamliners.
U.S. DOT Secretary Buttigieg Announces Commercial Space Transportation Advisory CommitteeOct. 26, 2022—Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation Pete Buttigieg approved the nominations of 21 new members, along with seven re-appointments, to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) to provide oversight of the U.S. commercial space transportation sector, according to a press release. The group of COMSTAC members consists of senior executives from the commercial space transportation industry, including manufacturers and customers from the satellite industry, state and local government officials, representatives from firms providing insurance, financial investment and legal service providers for commercial space activities and representatives from academia, space advocacy organizations and industry associations. The newly appointed members are:
- Joe DePete, President, Air Line Pilots Association
- Mat Dunn, Senior Director of Global Government Affairs, SpaceX
- John Elbon, Chief Operating Officer, United Launch Alliance
- Tony Frego, Vice President of Mission Management, Spaceflight, Inc.
- Matt Ganser, Vice President of Business Operations, Astra
- Moriba Jah, Associate Professor Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, The University of Texas at Austin
- Therese Jones, Senior Director of Policy, Satellite Industry Association
- Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Roosevelt (Ted) Mercer, CEO and Executive Director, Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority
- Megan Mitchell, Vice President Government Relations, Blue Origin
- George Nield, President, Commercial Space Technologies/ Global Spaceport Alliance
- Dr. Michelle Parker, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Space and Launch Engineering, Boeing
- Melanie Preisser, Vice President of National Systems, York Space Systems
- Caryn Schenewerk, Vice President of Regulatory & Government Affairs, Relativity Space
- Amanda Simpson, Vice President for Research and Technology, Airbus
- Ganesh Sitaraman, New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University
- Jay Skylus, Chief Executive and Chief Engineer of the Aether Transport System, Aevum
- Sita Sonty, Partner & Associate Director, Boston Consulting Group
- Janice Starzyk, Vice President of Government Operations, Virgin Orbit
- Melanie Stricklan, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Slingshot Aerospace
- Julie Zoller, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs, Project Kuiper, Amazon
- Edward Bolton, SGE, Former FAA Associate Administrator
- Karina Drees, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation / COMSTAC Chair
- Mike French, Vice President Space Systems, Aerospace Industries Association / COMSTAC Vice-Chair
- Dale Ketcham, Vice President, Government & External Relations, Space Florida
- Kate Kronmiller, Vice President of Government Relations, Jacobs
- Mike Moses, President of Space Missions and Safety, Virgin Galactic
- Ann Zulkosky, Vice President, Commercial Civil Space, Lockheed Martin
Service Worker Economic Stabilization Act Expected to Boost Tourism and Hospitality IndustriesOct. 25, 2022—Members of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) on Tuesday introduced the bipartisan Service Worker Economic Stabilization Act in an effort to boost the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industries, following state-mandated closures, skyrocketing inflation and high costs, according to a press release. “State-mandated closures, inflation, and rising costs have wreaked havoc on communities and small businesses throughout Illinois, especially for our hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors,” said Rep. LaHood. “This bipartisan bill will provide support to affected small businesses and workers, giving them more certainty and helping them accelerate recovery. I will continue to work to reduce the impact of inflation and high costs on small businesses and families in Illinois." It was reported that the tourism and hospitality industries suffered the highest number of job losses during the pandemic. The newly induced act would reinstate the 50% Entertainment Business Expense Deduction, while also extending 100% deduction for business meals, which will be reduced back to 50% at the end of 2022 through the end of 2024. The Service Worker Economic Stabilization Act will assist small businesses in recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic closures while investing in workers throughout the U.S. “This critical bill will support small businesses and workers in America’s restaurants, theaters, arts and entertainment venues by removing tax penalties that add to the challenges already plaguing the industry, such as our ongoing workforce challenges,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy. “It will relieve pressure on business travel budgets and directly benefit still-recovering travel workers, particularly food and entertainment service workers, who would see a projected increase in household income of $62 billion over the next two years.”
Visit Aurora Receives $400k Grant to Boost Tourism RecoveryOct. 25, 2022—The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) has provided Visit Aurora with a $400,000 grant to boost the economic recovery of Aurora through the Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant. The one-time grant was offered by the CTO, which was funded through an EDA American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation State Grant and includes seven recipients to support the recovery of the tourism industry in Colorado, according to a press release. “We are thrilled at the opportunity this grant provides to further our mission to amplify Aurora as a premiere destination for business events and leisure. As we emerge from challenging times, proactive investment in our Destination Marketing Organizations uplifts our entire state. Visit Aurora thanks the Colorado Tourism Office for their foresight and partnership. We are determined to fulfill our mission to propel Aurora to the benefit of its residents and Colorado as a whole,” said Bruce Dalton, CEO and president of Visit Aurora. The grant money includes $1.8 million in competitive funding provided by the CTO—the largest amount awarded by the CTO through the grant program, more than double the previous record of $750,000 provided last year. The tourism recovery marketing campaign is focused on attracting meeting planners and c-suite executives from association, corporate, government, contract, and SMERF groups to host events at Aurora venues.
Cronut Creator Celebrates Grand Opening of New Bakery at Caesars PalaceOct. 25, 2022—Dominique Ansel Las Vegas at Caesars Palace celebrated its grand opening this week with a new bakery lead by James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel and will serve a wide variety of decadent deserts, including Ansel’s famous creation the Cronut, according to a press release. "Chef Dominique Ansel is one of the most esteemed pastry chefs in the world," said Caesars Entertainment Regional President Sean McBurney. "The opening of his bakery has been a long time coming. His creations are the perfect addition to our extraordinary culinary offerings at Caesars Palace." The new bakery officially opened its doors on Oct. 21, with the occasion commemorated by a special giveaway for the first 100 guests, a toast with the chef’s signature cookie shot, and were joined by the Caesars Palace Royal Court procession. "I’m so thrilled to finally bring Dominique Ansel Las Vegas to life and have a home here at Caesars Palace,” Chef Dominique Ansel said. “We’ve been so honored and humbled to welcome guests from all around the world. For each of our shops, we strive to make each menu unique, and we hope our ‘Lucky 7’ pastry collection will bring some good fortune to everyone here. I can’t wait to share what we have planned for our future menu creations.”
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Searches for Chief Eats OfficerOct. 25, 2022—A global search has been launched by Wyndham Hotels and Resorts to find a Chief Eats Officer (“CEO”) to travel the world and report back on the cuisine culture of destinations around the world. This dream job would be able to travel the world and experience the best of international cuisine—not to mention, a pretty handsome monetary incentive. The press release from Wyndham offers the right candidate for the position $10,000 for their global adventure and a $150 daily travel stipend. Stephanie Kendrick, VP of Operations for Ramada by Wyndham, emphasizes the amazing opportunity the future CEO will experience. “Our lucky CEO will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in the best Ramada and its many destinations it has to offer, all while bringing along a global audience to share in every moment of their life-enriching adventure.”
Visit Lauderdale Launches New ‘Everyone Under the Sun’ Brand CampaignOct. 24, 2022—The official destination marketing organization (DMO) for the Greater Fort Lauderdale area in South Florida on Monday launched its new brand marketing campaign, “Everyone Under the Sun,” highlighting the destination’s commitment to inclusion and diversity. The new campaign features ads with locals with disabilities, those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of different age ranges and community members from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, according to a press release. “This campaign goes to the heart of what makes our community great – the people and our diverse offerings. We now have a strong campaign that truly reflects who we are and shows how special Greater Fort Lauderdale is in every bold, beautiful, and surprising way,” said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. “We are graciously welcoming everyone, and I mean everyone, to come join us and experience our tropical paradise rich with culture, flavor and unique experiences. Our diversity is our strength, and we are proudly telling this story to the world.” The launch of the campaign took three years due to the pandemic, including conceptualization and deployment, bringing the evolution of the destination’s brand full circle with the rebranding of the DMO with a new tagline, which switched from "Hello Sunny" in 2021.
Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Breaks Ground on Ticketing Hall Expansion ProjectOct. 24, 2022—The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA) in mid-October broke ground on the ticketing hall expansion project, expected to be complete by 2024. Airport officials were joined by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, along with other local officials, marking the beginning of the MoreRNO construction program slated to take place over the next few years, according to a press release. The expansion project will bring upgrades to the lighting and technology of the ticketing hall and will also provide travelers with additional space. The $500 million plan includes adding two new concourses and 28 new gates to the airport. A portion of the project’s funding was provided by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). “This is more than a great day for our airport, it’s a transformational time for our region,” said Adam Kramer, RTAA Board Chairman. “The gateway to Reno-Tahoe is being re-imagined and rebuilt for the next century. We are making the first and last impression on travelers better than it’s ever been before.”
Florida Receives $50 Million in 'Quick Release' Funds to Offset Repair CostsOct. 21, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Friday announced the allocation of $50 million in “quick release” emergency relief funds to Florida’s Department of Transportation to offset the cost of repairs caused by Hurricane Ian earlier this month, according to a press release. “Today we’re making available $50 million in emergency funds to help Florida repair roads and bridges after the devastation of Hurricane Ian,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This important step is only part of a larger federal commitment: as President Biden said, we will be with the people of Florida for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild stronger.” The emergency relief funds will be used as a down payment to repair roadways, causeways, intersections, and bridges throughout numerous regions in the state that were destroyed or washed out following flooding caused by the category 4 hurricane. “The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Florida Department of Transportation to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future storms in Florida.”
Society for Incentive Travel Excellence Announces New CEOOct. 20, 2022—The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) on Thursday announced the appointment of Annette Gregg, CMM, MBA, as the association’s new CEO, taking over for Interim Executive Director Rebecca Wright, CIS, CITP, according to a press release. Gregg’s appointment as SITE’s new CEO follows an extensive global executive search and her former position as Chief Revenue Officer with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and her ongoing career in the business events industry. “We’re thrilled to announce Annette Gregg as our new CEO knowing that the depth of her experience, the strength of her relationships, and the clarity of her vision will help SITE navigate the road ahead and realize its vision to build and bridge cultures through the transformative power of incentive travel & motivational experiences,” said SITE President Kevin Edmunds, CIS, CITP.
Visit SLO CAL Awarded Bid to Host The California Luxury ForumOct. 20, 2022—Visit SLO CAL, the non-profit countywide destination marketing and management organization for San Luis Obispo County, CA, has been awarded the bid to host The California Luxury Forum, according to a press release issued Thursday. The sixth edition of the forum is scheduled for Oct. 23-26 and will take place throughout SLO CAL. The forum is made possible through a partnership with Connections Luxury and Visit California. “I’m excited to take this exceptional program to California’s incredible Central Coast to really show the breadth of what California has to offer,” said Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California. “Visit California is extremely proud of the state’s partnership with Connections, which is a platform unlike anything else in the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming a critical industry segment to SLO CAL this fall.” Hosting the forum will allow SLO CAL to showcase the county’s finest travel products to 30 pre-selected luxury buyers and include hotels, venues and experience providers and other suppliers. “Luxury travel remains an important market for SLO CAL,” said Chuck Davison, President and CEO of Visit SLO CAL. “Hosting the California Luxury Forum allows Visit SLO CAL to showcase our destination and connect with key travel buyers from regional markets across the globe. This is a first of its kind opportunity to share SLO CAL partner assets and world-class experiences with the luxury community and we are proud to be bringing this business to SLO CAL.”
Event Tech Live Goes Multilingual with Silent Seminars/Interprefy PartnershipOct. 19, 2022— ETL London 2022 will be increasing their interpretation efforts through their Seminar Audio Partner, Silent Seminars, and its partnership with Interprefy. ETL's press release this morning explaining how the online platform of Interprefy will be boosting the multilingual accessibility to the wireless headsets provided by Silent Seminars. The package will offer English and Spanish interpretation services at Event Tech Live and more interpretation services in upcoming events. Mark Breakspear, AV Alliance Manager at Interprefy, believes the partnership with Silent Seminars will be mutually beneficial. "Our partnership with Silent Seminars demonstrates how effective the cohesion of two market-leading technologies can be," says Breakspear. "Incorporating simultaneous interpretation into their scope of services provides a new business channel for Silent Seminars whilst Interprefy benefits from the on-site integration with their headsets." Read more about Event Tech Live at ExCel London on November 16 and 17 here.
Marriott International to Acquire City Express BrandOct. 19, 2022—Marriott International reached an agreement today with Hoteles City Express, S.A.B. de C.V. to acquire its City Express portfolio for $100 million. This entry into the "affordable midscale" hospitality segment makes it Marriott’s 31st brand. The City Express portfolio is made up of 152 hotels across 75 cities in Mexico and three countries in Latin America, including properties City Express, City Express Plus, City Express Suites, City Express Junior and City Centro, which Marriott expects to update with its signature, “by Marriott.” The acquisition also grants Marriott the franchise rights to five under-construction projects by Hoteles City Express. Marriott expects the transaction to be completed by the end of 2022 and the first half of 2023.
Cvent, AMEX Expand Virtual Payment CapabilitiesOct. 19, 2022—Cvent Event Marketing and Management Platform and American Express on Wednesday introduced enhanced virtual payment capabilities to provide a seamless payment experience for meetings and events (M&E) for American Express Corporate Meeting Card and vPayment clients, according to a press release. “As large companies increasingly look to bring people back together for client events or internal gatherings, they want more simplification, efficiency and automation, and managing their budgets has become more important,” said Dean Henry, Executive Vice President, Global Business Financing, Payments & Digital Experiences at American Express. “That’s why we partnered with Cvent to deliver an enhanced virtual payment and automation solution that helps provide a seamless user experience and better serves our clients’ needs.” The enhanced payment features include:
- A streamlined onboarding process with a step-by-step escalation process and additional support.
- Improved invoice processing with the tool, American Express @ Work Reconciliation®, available 24/7 to simplify M&E expense allocation.
- Increased payment options using vPayment, an AMEX payment solution, that assigns a single-use account number to each transaction to increase billing efficiency.
- Providing greater budget visibility by incorporating an automated reconciliation process with additional audit controls.
Buttigieg says DOT may 'Take a Look' at EU Regulations for US AirlinesOct. 18, 2022—In a streamed, “no surprises here” pre-recorded conversation on “The Future of Aviation” sponsored by General Electric with The Washington Post today, Pete Buttigieg, transportation secretary said that after a summer of chaos, the DOT’s response was three-fold: enforcement (making sure airlines issue refunds and clarifying rules around that) improving rules themselves and improving tools of transparency. He also said in response to a question about EU regulations and passenger rights being more robust than their US counterparts that the DOT was “taking a look” at those regulations to see if they could be incorporated into the US model. When asked about the “why” of the airline summer chaos, Buttigieg pointed to lowered staffing levels and said that was why he had asked airlines to trim and thin out schedules. He pointed out that Florida’s current flight levels have been higher than they were prior to Covid.
DC’s Waterfront Neighborhood Celebrates 2 Milestones, Phase 2 of The Wharf CompleteOct. 14, 2022—The 1.5 million-square-foot Phase 2 of The Wharf at DC’s waterfront neighborhood was completed this week while also celebrating the five-year anniversary of The Wharf’s grand opening in Oct. 2017. The completed development extends from the Municipal Fish Market to Fort McNair, spanning over 3.5 million sq. ft., according to a press release. The Wharf now includes four hotels, including DC's first Pendry hotel, a myriad of rooftops, piers, promenades and green spaces with stunning views of the water and DC. Retail space at The Wharf is 94% leased with restaurants and shops expected to start opening in the fall. In addition, The Wharf is now home to three live music venues and more than 85 dining and shopping concepts. The development was made possible through a partnership with Hoffman-Madison Waterfront (HMW). "Five years ago today, we celebrated the opening of The Wharf and I knew then that this neighborhood was going to be unlike any other. As someone who lives and works at The Wharf, I continue to be in awe every day of this vibrant waterfront community and the magnetic energy that draws people here from across the region, country and the world," Monty Hoffman, Founder and Chairman of Hoffman & Associates said. "Bringing the vision for The Wharf to life was only possible because of our longstanding partnership with the District of Columbia and all the dedicated people who believed in what this waterfront could become. The Wharf is for everybody. It's a place where people connect with each other—to live, to work, to dine, and to celebrate. The waterfront, food, and music may be the catalysts, but it's the millions of visitors who create their own authentic experience. And today, we celebrate the opening of The Wharf's final phase and making DC a true waterfront city."
American Airlines Strives for Zero GHG Emissions by 2050Oct. 14, 2022— American Airlines announced their investment in Universal Hydrogen Co. in a press release on Monday. This will be the second investment the airline has made towards the development of hydrogen-electric propulsion technologies. Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer, is optimistic about green hydrogen innovating a zero-emission future for aviation. “This technology has the potential to be a game-changer on the industry’s path to zero-emission flight," says Kerr. "As the world’s largest airline, American has a responsibility to exercise leadership in making aviation sustainable."
WTTC and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Partner to Further Net-positive HospitalityOct. 13, 2022—World Travel Tourism Council and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance have signed an agreement solidifying their intent to improve the environmental and social impact of the hospitality industry. The two organizations have pledged to promote a more sustainable future for the industry, through cooperating on research projects for a greater understanding of the latest in sustainability. They also aim to create new commissions and advisory bodies, tackle issues such as youth employability, human trafficking and climate change, and more.
Destination Booking Agreements: What You Need to KnowOct. 12, 2022—A clear agreement outlining every expectation for all parties involved is essential to having a successful meeting or convention. A Destination Booking Agreement (DBA) outlines all responsibilities and liabilities to benefit both the CVB/Destination organization as well as the event strategist. A DBA outlines financial commitments, defines timelines, eliminates confusion and provides security for future year agreements. Operations can run more smoothly and partnerships between CVBs, event centers and meeting professionals can grow stronger. Read more here.
United Announces New Transatlantic Flights in Summer 2023Oct. 12, 2022— United announced they will be adding brand new international flight routes and increasing nonstop international service by summer, 2023. A press release from United claims the airline will operate the most transatlantic flights than any other American airline. European destinations such as Malaga, Spain, Stockholm, Sweden and Dubai, UAE are among the new direct routes added in the upcoming summer. "Next summer United is offering the best of both worlds: we're making it easier for our customers to visit the most popular cities in Europe, but we're also expanding our reach to give travelers access to new places they haven't yet experienced," said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of global network planning and alliances at United. "We expect another busy summer for international travel and are proud to build on our industry-leading global network to offer our customers the widest range of destinations and most convenient travel options."
New Vice President of Sales for Caesars Entertainment AnnouncedOct. 11, 2022—Caesars Entertainment Inc. announced Kelly Gleeson Smith has been promoted to the Vice President of Sales, Meetings and Events. The press release yesterday acknowledged Smith's outstanding professional performance and expressed Caesars Entertainment's confidence in Smith to strategize global sales and lead a team of more than 120 sales executives. Smith started with Caesars Entertainment in 2017 and quickly rose through the ranks. Michael Massari, Chief Sales Officer at Caesars Entertainment, has no doubt Smith will be an asset to the enterprise in her new role. "Kelly's career with Caesar's Entertainment has been exceptional, and we could not have chosen a better candidate for this position," says Massari. "I am certain that our business will continue to flourish under her leadership."
FAA Provides $16 Million in Grants to Pursue Aviation Climate GoalsOct. 7, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week announced that $16 million in grant funding will be allocated to 14 universities across the U.S. to conduct research on how to reduce aviation emissions and noise caused by air travel, according to a press release. “The awards we are making today will fund research at universities across the country for a more sustainable American aviation system,” U.S. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg said. The participating university teams are part of the FAA’s Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment program, known as the Aviation Sustainability Center. The grant money was split between a total of 43 university research teams with the goal of finding solutions to jet fuel supply chains, electrification, noise reduction, noise exposure, hydrogen propulsion, engine technology, supersonic operations, and environmental measurement.
Alaska Receives $9 Million in Relief Funding to Repair Damaged Roadways, BridgesOct. 6, 2022—The U.S Department of Transportation on Thursday announced $9 million in “quick release” emergency relief funding will be allocated to Alaska to repair roadways and bridges damaged in the wake of Typhoon Merbok that struck western Alaska last month causing damage through hurricane-force winds, higher than normal tidal ranges, and massive storm surges of up to 10 feet above mean high water, according to a press release. “We are announcing emergency funding today to help the people of Western Alaska reopen vital roads, speed up emergency repairs before the winter season, and ultimately recover from the damage caused by Typhoon Merbok,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with Alaska to repair the damage caused by Typhoon Merbok in Western Alaska,” said acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future storms and floods.”
Ireland Strives Towards Sustainable TravelOct. 5, 2022— Ireland is embracing sustainable travel. According to a press release from Department of Transport, transportation projects will be reallocating the country's road space to accommodate healthier and greener travel options such as public transportation, biking and walking. While Ireland's current transportation infrastructure was designed for car travel, Department of Transport announced today it will be making changes towards sustainability. Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport, said he would be releasing the results of this past summer’s “Pathfinder Projects” over the next few weeks. The research conducted by Department of Transport assessed Ireland's public transport and active travel project priorities. Minister Ryan emphasized the importance of these results when implementing “highly transformative measures" in travel and transport for a more sustainable system. “These projects will be delivered in the next two to three years and will begin to demonstrate practically, by people using them, that we can use our road space differently, we can re-imagine our towns and cities, we can begin to shift our focus from the car to other more sustainable transport systems," said Minister Ryan.
Uzbekistan’s Cotton Industry Receives $2 Million to Prevent Forced, Child LaborOct. 5, 2022—The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday announced the allocation of a $2 million grant to Uzbekistan with the goal of curbing forced labor and child labor in the county’s cotton industry through a cooperative agreement to assist the country in adhering to international labor standards. The funding was administered by the Bureau of Internal Labor Affairs, according to a press release. “Uzbekistan’s commitment to labor standards compliance has renewed international interest in sourcing and investing in cotton grown there,” Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee said. “To take advantage of these economic growth opportunities, employers must provide decent working conditions and respect the voices and rights of workers. At the same time, workers will need tools to advocate for good labor practices and participate in labor standards compliance systems.” The grant will support a project including the Solidarity Center and its co-implementer, the Center for International Private Enterprise, to strengthen the voice of workers and assist local cotton businesses to enact processes for effective labor compliance standards. A full list of goods produced globally using forced or child labor can be viewed here.
Rest periods Between Shifts Extended for Flight Attendants: FAAOct. 4, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday announced a final rule that will extend the rest period between shifts for flight attendants to 10 consecutive hours, up from the previous requirement of nine hours. The ruling on the duration of rest periods also fulfills the requirement of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which directs the FAA to increase the rest period of flight attendants with scheduled duty lasting 14 hours or less while eliminating the provision that allows rest periods to be reduced under certain circumstances, according to a press release. “Flight attendants, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep all of us safe in the air.” The final rule will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The FAA held two public feedback periods in 2019 and 2021, spanning more than 105 days, and reviewed over 1,000 comments from flight attendants, airlines and the public.
U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism to Announce Hotel Reopening, Post-Pandemic Return of Cruise IndustryOct. 3, 2022—The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Tourism will announce the reopening of two Frenchman's Reef properties in St. Thomas following a $350 million renovation and news regarding the post-pandemic return of its cruise industry during the 40th annual Caribbean Travel Marketplace scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 in San Juan Puerto Rico. The marketplace is produced by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) and is the largest marketing event for Caribbean tourism suppliers and wholesalers. The USVI Charter Yacht Show in November and the popular month-long Crucian Christmas Festival in St. Croix will also be discussed during the annual marketplace, according to a press release. “This CHTA event is an ideal forum for the USVI Department of Tourism to announce to the media, to our partners and to industry peers, the progress we have made after the severe economic impact that the pandemic had on our tourism industry and throughout the Caribbean these past two and a half years,” said Joseph Boschulte, USVI Commissioner of Tourism. “We are especially excited to share the news of the reopening of two rebuilt and rebranded properties at Frenchmen’s Reef, restoring our accommodation capacity in St. Thomas to the levels prior to the devastating destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria five years ago.”
AHLA Survey Reveals Improvement in Ongoing Hotel Staffing ShortageOct. 3, 2022—The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) on Monday reported widespread staffing shortages continuing at hotels following a survey of 200 hoteliers conducted Sept. 12-19, 2022. Responses to the “Front Desk Feedback” survey showed 87% of respondents reported staffing issues (36% reported severe staffing shortages) with housekeeping being the most severely impacted area of hotel service with 43% ranking it as their biggest staffing hurdle. However, the latest survey shows some improvement from May when 97% of survey respondents reported staffing problems and 49% reported severe issues, according to a press release. “Today’s tight labor market is creating unprecedented career opportunities for current and prospective hotel employees, and AHLA and the AHLA Foundation are working tirelessly to spread the word. With hotel wages, benefits, flexibility and upward mobility at historic levels, there has never been a better time to work at a hotel than the present,” AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers said. In response to the ongoing staffing issues, the AHLA Foundation launched its “Place to Stay” advertising campaign across 14 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, and Tampa to promote the over 200 career paths in the hospitality industry through the site thehotelindustry.com.
Federal Government vs. Northeast Alliance Trial ContinuesOct. 3, 2022—The trial of the federal government vs. American Airlines—JetBlue Northeast Alliance continues this week. The government is attempting to dismantle the partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue under anti-trust laws due to the Northeast Alliance blocking competition in the city by pulling their resources together and operating as one airline. Robert Isom, Chief Executive of American Airlines Group, acknowledges the partnership with JetBlue yet denies violating any antitrust laws. Isom says the two airlines do not act as one in Boston nor anywhere in the Northeast. The latest update in the trial comes from MSN News as Isom testified. “We have our own gate. We have our own planes,” said Isom in the Boston trial. “We have our own services that make us distinct.”
Delta, LATAM Partnership Approved by U.S. Dept. of TransportationOct. 3, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation approved a joint venture between Delta Airlines and LATAM that will provide travelers access to over 300 destinations between the U.S./Canada and South America, including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The new partnership is expected to expand cooperation in these markets through additional route offerings, improved connections and strengthening existing reciprocal loyalty benefits, according to a press release. “Delta’s partnership with LATAM will help grow the market between North and South America and provide significant and much-needed benefits for customers, and we applaud the DOT for this final approval,” Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer said. “Now, we’ll get to work with LATAM to transform the travel experience for our collective customers and create new opportunities for our employees.” The airlines first announced plans to form the partnership throughout the Americas in 2019 with the goal of significantly expanding travel options across North and South America, while offering an industry-leading customer experience.
West Virginia International Yeager Airport Projects Under Environmental Review: FAASept. 30, 2022—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday announced the environmental review of projects slated for the West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW), including airfield, safety and terminal improvements. A draft environmental review will be prepared by the FAA, which will also conduct several public meetings on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the projects. The upgrades were proposed by the Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority (CWVRAA), according to a press release. The proposed projects include upgrades to the terminal facilities, shift and extension of Runway 5-23 and the parallel taxiway to improve safety and meet FAA standards with the goal of implementing the necessary upgrades to meet the forecast of heightened aviation demand at the airport. The EIS will be prepared to address the potential environmental impact of the projects.
Top DOT Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking of New Seaway Visitor Center in Massena, N.Y.Sept. 30, 2022—Top officials from The U.S. Department of Transportation this week celebrated the groundbreaking of the new visitor center at the U.S. Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. carried out by the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS). The new 75,000-sqaure-foot center will welcome visitors to the Seaway and usher in a world-class tourist attraction in the region, according to a press release. “Since its creation over half a century ago, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway has become a model of international cooperation, an economic gateway to America, and an indispensable part of our national economy,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “From grain to steel, the Seaway delivers American goods to the world, and brings resources to our shores. This new visitor center will to build understanding of the Seaway’s vital role in our economy and our history.” The new center will feature an observation deck where visitors can view the process of commercial vessels being elevated 40 feet in the air through transit of the lock. In addition, the center will also house memorabilia and informational displays. Hundreds of ships from all over the world transport roughly 35 million metric tons of cargo through the St. Lawrence Seaway every year.
Florida Keys ReopenedSept. 30, 2022—Key West International Airport reopened Thursday morning after tropical storm-force winds and storm surge from Hurricane Ian impacted the island chain Tuesday and Wednesday. The Florida Keys Overseas Highway, including all 42 bridges, is open, said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay. Almost all Keys lodging establishments escaped significant storm impact and are open. The National Hurricane Center discontinued a tropical storm warning as well as storm surge warnings and watches for the Keys late Wednesday afternoon.
Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen Opens in Caesars Atlantic CitySept. 29, 2022—Chef Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen restaurant is now open in Caesars Atlantic City according to the hotel's press release. For the first time in the history of Chef Ramsay’s hit competitive cooking show, the restaurant will be based on the East Coast's famous Jersey Shore. Hell’s Kitchen in Caesars Atlantic City will be the city’s third Ramsay restaurant. The celebrity chef has had success in Atlantic City with Gordon Ramsay Steak and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. We hope to see the Hell's Kitchen television show and its restaurant at Caesars Atlantic City have the same success! Read more about Atlantic City's upgrades here.
Puerto Rico to Receive $8 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding to Repair Flood-Damaged RoadwaysSept. 28, 2022—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Wednesday immediately authorized $8 million in “quick release” funds for use by Puerto Rico to rebuild and repair roadways that were damaged by flooding and landslides caused by Hurricane Fiona, according to a press release. “Today’s announcement will help the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, which has claimed lives and damaged infrastructure,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “These emergency funds are a down payment to help Puerto Rico clear debris and reopen as many roads and bridges as possible, so citizens and emergency personnel can get where they need to go safely.” Fiona caused historic flooding after making landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 18. due to heavy rainfall and wind. The flooding caused massive landslides damaging bridges and roads throughout the island. The damage caused by the hurricane has been estimated at more than $35 million. “The Federal Highway Administration is working closely with the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority to repair the damage caused to roads and bridges by flooding in multiple locations across the island,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs started as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future flooding events.”
Hurricane Ian Shuts Down Commercial Flights in OrlandoSept. 27, 2022—Orlando International Airport (MCO) issued a press release today announcing operations will be suspended as of 10:30 a.m. EST as Hurricane Ian is expected to hit Florida. After leaving Cuba this afternoon, the storm has gained momentum and is barreling towards South Florida with estimated wind speeds of 120 mph. MCO is alerting passengers to cancel/reschedule flights and other travel plans to remain safe. However, MCO won’t be closed completely. The airport will remain in operation for emergency/aid and relief flights. Passengers are not allowed to be inside the airport during the storm as it is not an authorized shelter. Track Hurricane Ian here.
Bally’s Finalizes Acquisition of Tropicana Las VegasSept. 27, 2022—Bally’s Corporation has completed its acquisition of Tropicana Las Vegas with Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) and Penn Entertainment Inc. (PENN), which was announced April 2021. Bally’s has purchased the non-land assets of Tropicana from GLPLI and Penn for $148 million. Bally’s will lease the land from GLPI for an initial 50-year term. Read more about Las Vegas here.
SFO Food Workers Continue Strike—Demand Higher WagesSept. 27, 2022—Fast food workers at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on Tuesday continued their open-ended strike, which began Monday, demanding higher pay amid skyrocketing menu prices offered at restaurants and other vendors at the airport, according to a press release. The duration of the strike “really depends on the employer,” says Ted Waechter of Unite Here 2, a labor union that represents more than 15,000 hospitality workers in San Francisco, San Mateo County, the East Bay and North Bay. “Our lines are strong and workers are clear that they’re not going back to work without a meaningful raise and affordable healthcare. So, we’ll be out on strike until the employers agree to those, we think, very modest demands.” The majority of food workers at SFO have reported making $17.05 an hour and say they have not received a raise in three years. Many have also reported having to take on multiple jobs to keep up with the high cost of living in the region. In addition, food workers at SFO have recently taken to social media to compare the cost of menu items compared to their hourly wages. "My pay for a whole hour of work is less than the price of just one meal. That is so unfair. I’m on strike because I want to quit my second job and have more time with my family," said Vivian Narvarte, who works at both Pie Five Pizza and Ladle & Leaf Restaurant at SFO. The strike follows a vote held by airport food service workers in August with 99.7% voting to authorize a strike.
Caesars Entertainment Announces Caesars VirginiaSept. 27, 2022—Caesars Entertainment this week announced Caesars Virginia—slated to open in 2024. The new $500 million resort will be built in Danville, Virginia, and will be home to 500 guest rooms and 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention space. Event planners will also be able to take advantage of the 900 square-foot boardroom and outdoor terrace, perfect for providing attendees with a reception area and additional breakout space, according to press release. The new property will also have the potential to provide attendees with an all-inclusive experience with a 2,500-seat live entertainment venue featuring state-of-the-art technology, new restaurant and bar concepts, a world-class casino gaming floor, spa, pool and fitness center. “Caesars Virginia will be an economic driver for the region, both as a tourist and entertainment draw and through the more than a thousand good-paying jobs the resort will create,” Anthony Carano, President and Chief Operating Officer of Caesars Entertainment said. “The people of Danville have entrusted us to build a world-class resort, and we look forward to proving that trust was well founded with an incredible resort worthy of the iconic Caesars brand.”
New Extra Fee Disclosure Laws for AirlinesSept. 26, 2022—President Joe Biden will propose new legislation this afternoon for airlines and travel search websites in response to hidden fees for unpredictable circumstances. After a travel-crazed summer due to pent-up travel demand, customers are unknowingly facing fees for losing luggage, changing or cancelling their flights and other unforeseen charges they may not have been aware they would be responsible for. President Biden and The Transportation Department will be announcing plans to ensure airlines fully inform potential customers on all possible travel fees on Monday afternoon, Sept. 26. Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary, is confident the new protocol will relieve travel anxiety, according to a press release. “Airline passengers deserve to know the full, true cost of their flights before they buy a ticket,” says Buttigieg. “This new proposed rule would require airlines to be transparent with customers about the fees they charge, which will help travelers make informed decisions and save money.”
FAA Releases Latest Vertiport Design Standards to Support Advanced Air Mobility AircraftSept. 26, 2022—The FAA on Monday released the latest set of design standards for vertiports as part of the main infrastructure that will support Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft at U.S. airports. The design standards will provide guidance and key information to airport owners, operators and infrastructure developers to support the use of the electrically-powered AAM aircraft that are designed for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), according to a press release. “Our country is stepping into a new era of aviation. These vertiport design standards provide the foundation needed to begin safely building infrastructure in this new era,” Associate Administrator for Airports Shannetta Griffin, P.E. said. The new design standards include the following:
- Dimensions and design for vertiport touchdown and liftoff areas
- Lighting, markings and visual aids to identify vertiports
- Charging and electric infrastructure for charging equipment at vertiports
- Guidelines for adding vertiports to an existing airfield
- Standards for building vertiports on top of structures
Canada Ends Travel RequirementsSept. 26th, 2022—As of October 1st, Canada will be ending travel requirements such as masking, proof of vaccination, the ArriveCAN app and mandatory testing and/or quarantine. Though the tourism industry has been doing well in Canada recently, the lift of the border restrictions is predicted to increase the volume of visitors even further. Porthole Cruise and Travel reported on the story as the news is particularly important for the cruise industry. Many cruise ships traveling to popular destinations such as Alaska and New England use Canadian ports to dock. John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises, says “Alaska and Canadian cruises are among the most desired vacation options in the world, and we look forward to welcoming everyone who’s waited the past three years for this market to fully open.”
Hurricane Ian Heads to Florida, Ramps Up StrengthSept. 26, 2022—Hurricane Ian maintained its northwest course towards Florida as of 11 a.m. EDT on Monday as the storm continued picking up strength, hurling winds of up to 80 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended as far out as 25 miles from the storm’s center as forecasters warn that Ian will become a Category 4 hurricane, AccuWeather.com reports. "By Tuesday, Ian may be a dangerous major hurricane," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said. Tuesday is expected to bring the worst conditions, with gusts reaching speeds of up to 120-140 mph and a storm surge of over six feet in some areas. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday declared a landfall state of emergency and later activated the National Guard on Sunday. DeSantis warned Florida residents to prepare for the storm's impact. Ian is currently categorized as Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. “The path of Tropical Storm Ian remains uncertain and could have impacts from the Keys to Northwest Florida. Floridians along the Gulf Coast should prepare now for the possibility of severe weather next week,” DeSantis tweeted. "A quick uptick in strengthening is expected early this week as Ian moves into the western Caribbean, where low wind shear and very warm water are in place. This will raise the likelihood of significant impacts in the western Caribbean, and eventually the United States," Douty said.
Amtrak Pledges Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2045Sept. 23, 2022—Amtrak this week pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its network by 2045 to curb the impact of climate change while continuing to provide passengers with service, according to a press release. Amtrak aims to meet this goal by taking the following actions:
- Improve energy efficiency by implementing renewable fuels and energy.
- Reducing the use of diesel fuel through innovations in zero-emission technologies.
- Achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030 through energy-efficient upgrades and renewable energy generation.
Next Round of Funding Opens for Airport Terminals ProgramSept. 23, 2022—The FAA announced the application process for the next round of funding to provide grants for airport terminal development projects in the U.S. has started and will remain open until Oct. 24, 2022, according to a press release. The funding, made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aims to address the aging infrastructure of airfields across the country and includes upgrades and repairs such as expanding terminals, improving energy efficiency, building new air traffic control towers, improving energy efficiency, increasing accessibility among other features. The current round of funding will match the first round at $1 billion. “Americans deserve modern airports that meet the needs of their families and growing passenger demand. Funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today’s grants will improve airport terminals while also creating good jobs in communities across the country,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. The first round was allocated to 90 airports across the nation, with the distribution of the funds determined by airport size. Large hub airports will receive 55% of the total funding; medium hub airports will receive up to 15% of the total funding; and small hub airports will receive up to 20% of the total funding. In addition, 10% of the total funding will be awarded to smaller, non-primary, non-hub airports.
Hurricane Fiona Heads for Atlantic CanadaSept. 22, 2022—After barreling through the Caribbean, Hurricane Fiona is now moving north towards Atlantic Canada. According to U.S. Consulate General Halifax, the Canadian Hurricane Centre is alerting residents of the possible flooding and rolling power outages that can occur as the storm hits Canada Friday night and Saturday morning, according to a press release. Hurricane Fiona is predicted to land in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton early Saturday morning before making its way to Lower Quebec Northshore and Southeastern Labrador the following day. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada have released a list of actions to take in preparation for the hurricane. Read more here.
PHL Life Sciences Appoints New Advisory Board ChairSept. 22, 2022—PHL Life Sciences, a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), on Thursday announced the appointment of Patrick M. Oates, Ph.D. as the organization’s new Advisory Board Chair. PHL Life Sciences promotes Philadelphia as a leading hub and destination for the life sciences industry. Oates serves as senior vice president of business development and strategic planning for EMSCO Scientific Enterprise, Inc., and has a doctorate in physiology and molecular biology, according to a press release. EMSCO Scientific Enterprise, Inc. is a local, minority-owned distributor of laboratory supplies, equipment, chemicals and pharmaceutical excipients. Oates works to expand commercial growth through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and other life science entities “Patrick will be an incredible resource and asset for PHL Life Sciences as we continue to connect industry associations and planners with our city's strong life sciences network for the most successful healthcare, medical and higher education meetings here in Philadelphia.” Bonnie Grant, executive director of PHL Life Sciences said. Events booked by PHL Life Sciences in 2019 resulted in a regional economic impact of $215 million.
Joint Office of Energy and Transportation Appoints Leader Gabe KleinSept. 21, 2022—The U.S. Department of Energy and Transportation announced that former Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation and Director of the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation, Gabe Klein, will be the lead on President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Klein will be leading the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, an outfit created to service rural and disadvantaged communities, with vehicle electrification charging networks. The overall goal of the Joint Office is to upgrade national transportation systems and provide Americans with affordable electric options to cut down on fuel costs, according to a press release. While more metropolitan areas have long had options for electric vehicles and readily available charging stations, the Joint Office is ensuring the same options for electric energy systems will be available nationwide. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm assures Klein is the man for the job. “Gabe has spent his career spurring innovation for sustainable transportation,” says Granholm. “We couldn’t be more excited to have him working for more electric cars and trucks on our roadways.”
American Airlines Confirms Employee Email Hacker BreachSept. 20, 2022—Although American Airlines is insistent to assure customers and employees that only a “very small number” of people were targets of email hackers and that no fraud has been reported, personal information was still compromised and caused both travelers and American Airlines employees alike to feel uneasy. Booking a flight requires an individual to provide date of birth, a driver’s license, passport information and even medical history—these are all details the hackers now have access to, per Associated Press. According to Associated Press, the hacking investigation began in July, yet American Airlines did not disclose its discovery of hacking until last week. The airline has ensured customers and employees that the accounts breached have been disabled and a team of cybersecurity professionals has been hired to investigate.
American Airlines Partners with American Red Cross to Provide Hurricane Fiona ReliefSept. 20, 2022—With most of Puerto Rico out of power and almost 840,000 people without running water, Hurricane Fiona has proven to be an entity of destruction as it tears its way through the Caribbean. Hitting the Dominican Republic yesterday and Turks and Caicos earlier today, the storm has left the islands in desperate need of help. In alignment with the American Red Cross, American Airlines announced a new offer for their AAdvantage members that will contribute towards providing relief in the Caribbean and credit members with miles in return. The offer is available for American Airlines AAdvantage members and is available through October 15, 2022. For every dollar donated to the Red Cross with a minimum of $25, members will earn 10 miles. American Airlines is a member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program with the Red Cross and is urging patrons to donate and support American Red Cross efforts in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and all of the Caribbean.
Partnership Connecting Small and Disadvantaged Businesses with Resources Announced During OSBDU Business ForumSept. 20, 2022—The US Department of Transportation (USDOT), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the US Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on Tuesday announced a partnership with small and disadvantaged businesses that require resources to succeed. The partnership was announced during a business forum hosted at the USDOT headquarters and focused on helping improve access to capital and other resources to ensure all businesses will benefit from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To date, USDOT is on track to hit the goal of allocating 20% of the agency's federal contracts to small and disadvantaged businesses, according to a press release. The business forum included several panels featuring business leaders and senior Biden-Harris Administration officials including US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, and US Department of Commerce for Minority Business Development Under Secretary Don R Cravins Jr. "Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are making historic investments in our transportation infrastructure—and that represents major opportunity for historically excluded Americans and our nation's small businesses,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “These new initiatives with our partners at SBA and MBDA will help more small business owners secure federal contracts to modernize our country’s infrastructure for decades to come.”
AHLA Foundation Partners with U.S. Job CorpsSept. 20, 2022—The American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation (AHLAF) has partnered with the U.S. Department of Lab in an effort to pump new life into the hospitality workforce. The partnership’s initiatives have been designed to fill the 130,000 open jobs in hospitality with ready-to-work Job Corps students enrolled in hospitality training programs, giving them access to hotel jobs and AHLAF’s apprenticeship program. “We are proud to team up with Job Corps as a platinum partner to strengthen our retention and recruitment programs,” said Sarah Cozewith, vice president of workforce development at AHLAF. “With hundreds of thousands of open hotel positions, this is the perfect time for these students to enroll in the hotel industry. From training more than 1,400 apprentices to providing more than $1 million in academic scholarships annually, this trailblazing partnership builds on AHLAF’s ongoing efforts to craft an industry as diverse as the guests we serve.”
Qatar Airways Hosts Largest Post-Covid Meeting of Aviation Financial Leaders in DohaSept. 20, 2022—Qatar Airways will host the largest gathering of the aviation industry's financial leaders since before the start of the Covid pandemic in Doha, Qatar, from Sept. 19 to 22. The financial symposium follows the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit (WATS), hosted in Doha last June, which was the most attended AGM in the Middle East in history, according to a press release. The financial forecast appears promising as the aviation industry continues to immerge from the pandemic while government-imposed restrictions have been removed and demand for air travel ramps up. Industry losses are expected to fall from $180 billion during 2020-21 to $9.7 billion in 2022. “We are honored to be hosting the first in-person World Financial Symposium since 2019, especially during our milestone year, celebrating 25 years of operations. This vital symposium will bring together financial leaders from airlines and from our many supply chain partners to discuss and debate the path forward and the challenges to be overcome,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Bake. The sessions of the symposium will address:
- ESG and sustainable finance trends
- Achieving carbon net zero by 2050
- Financial risk management
- The road to airline retailing & customer centricity
- Fulfillment and settlement in a world of airline offers and orders
- The future of airline payments and payments as a value creator
- Understanding and preparing for OECD BEPS 2.0
Hurricane Fiona Tears Through the CaribbeanSept. 19, 2022—Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico yesterday with winds up to almost 100 mph and an estimated 25 inches of rain. Although Puerto Rico has worked to build a stronger and more resilient infrastructure on the island as they recovered from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, CBS News reports the new bridge in the central city of Utuado crumbled instantly under the pressure from the storm. Hurricane Fiona left almost the entire island without power and nearly 840,000 without running water. Hurricane Fiona continues to move and gain momentum. After slowing down slightly as it hit the land mass of the Dominican Republic, the National Hurricane Center says the storm is headed towards the islands of Turks and Caicos with tropical winds as fierce as 140 mph. The storm is projected to avoid Florida but will intensify to Category 4 as it heads northwest towards Bermuda.
Panama Lifts Travel RestrictionsSept. 19, 2022—Panama is an incredibly beautiful country with some of the most coveted resort experiences in the world—yet this was all shut down in 2020 as Covid swept the world. For obvious safety reasons, Panama stood strong in its strict restrictions regarding arriving travelers. However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the restrictions set in place during the pandemic were to be lifted and normal tourism protocol would be reinstated, per Breaking Travel News. Previous to the lift on restrictions, travelers were mandated to prove vaccination status, undergo both pre-departure and post-arrival tests and even quarantine after arriving in Panama. With these restrictions now lifted, Panama tourism can return to its rightly earned reputation as one of the best hotel/resort destinations in the world.
DHS and TSA Appointing Personnel to Ensure Safety and SecuritySept. 19, 2022—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a press release this morning announcing the appointment of 25 members to the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council who will aid the DHS and Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas in matters of security, equity and overall service to the public. The alliance between DHS and the Council is believed to improve communication and coordination in order to address any security threats. While the DHS is appointing new personnel, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve a second term. As President Biden’s nominee, both the government and the TSA have faith that Pekoske’s experience in security leadership is an asset to travel safety.
White House Announces Minority Enterprise Development WeekSept. 19, 2022—President Joe Biden proclaimed Sept. 18 through 24 as Minority Enterprise Development Week from the White House—calling on all Americans to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of minority business owners and enterprises, according to a press release. “Every day, America’s 9.2 million minority business enterprises deliver essential goods and services to their customers and help power the United States economy. They develop cutting-edge technologies, provide social services to people in need, construct roads and bridges, operate restaurants and retail shops, and make vital contributions to all industries. Minority business enterprises also provide proprietors and employees a sense of purpose, a source of dignity, and for some, a valuable asset to pass down through generations. During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we celebrate the ingenuity and dedication of America’s minority entrepreneurs, and we recommit to helping all Americans access the resources they need to build thriving businesses and a fairer, more prosperous Nation,” the press release read. The Minority Business Development Agency was made permanent through funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is the only federal agency dedicated to connecting minority-owned businesses to "private lenders, exporters, and public- and private-sector buyers; and it directs the Department of Transportation to prioritize contracts to small, disadvantaged businesses.” President Biden also announced his administration has pledged to boost federal dollars allocated to minority-owned businesses by 2025, which is estimated to bring these businesses as much as $100 billion in new revenue over the span of this period.
Mental Health and Employment Working Group Launched During U.S. Conference of MayorsSept. 16, 2022—U.S. Department of Labor’s Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, Taryn Williams, applauded the launch of the Mental Health and Employment Working Group during the U.S. Conference of Mayors hosted in Miami on Friday, according to a press release. The goal of the working group is to identify policies, plans and practices to address and support workers’ mental health needs across the country. It's development was made possible through a collaboration between the department’s State Exchange on Employment and Disability and the Conference of Mayors. “When it comes to mental health, America’s workplaces have a critical role to play. That’s why we at the Labor Department are committed to helping employers—Including state and local public-sector agencies—understand the steps they can take to promote mental health-friendly work environments,” said Assistant Secretary Taryn Williams. “We’re pleased to call the U.S. Conference of Mayors a partner in the State Exchange on Employment and Disability initiative and look forward to the knowledge-sharing and collaboration that the Mental Health and Employment Working Group will foster.” Since 2020, the National Center for Health Statistics’ Household Pulse Survey revealed an increasing number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported a growing number of adults who say they have experienced mental health conditions caused by lingering Covid-19 symptoms.
U.S. Senators Manchin, Capito Announce Continued Essential Air Services at Lewisburg, Clarksburg AirportsSept. 14, 2022—U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Wednesday announced Essential Air Services (EAS) will continue at North Central West Virginia Airport in Clarksburg (CKB) and Greenbrier Valley Airport in Lewisburg (LWB) following a decision by SkyWest Airlines in March to terminate EAS services at 29 airports across the U.S. including Clarksburg and Lewisburg, according to a press release. “Air service is absolutely critical for West Virginia, connecting our communities to the rest of the country, helping businesses export their products and increasing tourism across our great state,” Senator Manchin said. “I have fought for EAS program funding for years to bring quality, reliable air travel and new economic opportunities to West Virginia, and I am pleased Contour Airlines will be continuing these critical flight services at the Clarksburg and Lewisburg airports. I am grateful to DOT for their commitment to protecting EAS in West Virginia, and I will continue advocating for our transportation hubs across the Mountain State.” EAS at Clarksburg and Lewisburg airports will now be provided by Contour Airlines following a selection process conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and will start a three-year term on December 1, 2022. However, SkyWest is still responsible for providing EAS at both airports until the new term begins. “Our airports in West Virginia are vital to connecting our residents and our communities with the rest of our country and world,” Senator Capito said. “These three-year contracts that will provide weekly service between our North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB) in Clarksburg and our Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) in Lewisburg to Charlotte Douglas International Airport will not only create great opportunities for our residents but will also serve as a gateway for people around the globe to visit West Virginia. I have long fought to keep Essential Air Services at our airports in West Virginia, and I’m thrilled to see this operation come to fruition.”
EPA Launches Program to Protect 3 Boston-area River WatershedsSept. 14, 2022—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday announced advanced actions in protecting three Boston-area watersheds from stormwater pollutants, which were previously unregulated. The Charles, Mystic and Neponset rivers will now be protected under the Clean Water Act, requiring permit coverage under the provision titled "residual designation authority," for stormwater discharge. This includes commercial, industrial, and institutional properties that have one or more acres of impervious area such as hard surfaces like parking lots, roofs, and roadways that make it difficult for stormwater to soak into the ground, according to a press release. "On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, EPA is taking strong, decisive action to ensure that all our citizens have access to local waterways that support enjoyment and recreation. It is clear that the nature and scale of the problem requires urgent action on this pressing environmental justice concern," EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash said. "With a warming climate there is no time to waste to reduce bacterial and nutrient pollution in stormwater and the resulting water quality degradation including harmful algae blooms experienced yearly in all three watersheds." The general permit will be released in draft form by the EPA for public comment and will also be gathering public feedback on the implementation of the program at that time, per EPA regulations.
Alaska Receives $6.7 Million to Boost Tourism, Develop New Visitor InfrastructureSept. 13, 2022—U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Tuesday announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, with a $6.7 million grant through the American Rescue Plan, according to a press release. The grant will be used to boost tourism and develop new visitor infrastructure and amenities. The funding will be allocated to the construction of a new visitors center and will provide local businesses with additional retail space with the goal of helping them connect with visitors in a central location. “President Biden recognizes the vital contribution the travel and tourism industry makes to the American economy,” Raimondo said. “This project will create new opportunities for businesses in Matanuska-Susitna Borough to tap into Alaska’s important tourism economy, expanding the potential for economic growth and resilience.” “The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo said. “This EDA investment will provide a critical new amenity that the region needs to support local businesses and increase tourism in the community.” The grant will also be partially matched with $1.7 million in local funding to retain or create roughly 180 jobs, according to estimates. Read more here.
Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index Dropped in AugustSept. 13, 2022—The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index dipped to a level of 5,021 after falling 2.7% in August with a total year to date decrease of 12.6% during the first eight months of 2022, according to a press release. “Hotel stocks took a breather in August after July’s sharp rebound. Despite the slight decline in stock prices, both the Global Hotel Brands and Hotel REITs outperformed their respective benchmarks in August,” Michael Bellisario, senior hotel research analyst and director at Baird, said. “Hotel trends have remained solid throughout the summer months despite all the capital markets volatility and macroeconomic uncertainties. However, investors appear somewhat skeptical about the prospects for a significant recovery in business transient travel post-Labor Day, and hotel stocks appear to be discounting this relatively conservative fundamental expectation, in our opinion.” “Even with expected seasonal slowing, demand and room rates have remained at healthy levels,” Amanda Hite, STR president said. “Upscale and upper midscale hotels reported stronger occupancy levels in August, appealing to price-conscious leisure and corporate transient travelers. With schools now back in session, owners and operators are closely watching the return of the corporate group and individual traveler to understand if, and how, patterns have changed since the onset of the pandemic. Association and large group event organizers are looking forward to the first fall without significant health restrictions, which could drive event attendance to new heights. When looking at the bottom line, GOPPAR surpassed 2019 levels for a fourth consecutive month in July. But as wages increase and operations are ramped up further, expenses will likely continue to rise, putting pressure on profit growth.” However, Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index outperformed both the S&P 500 (-4.2%) and the MSCI US REIT Index (-6.1%). The Hotel REIT sub-index decreased by 3.7% to 1,143, while the Hotel Brand sub-index dropped 2.3% from July to 8,959.
‘National Economic Disaster’ U.S. Chamber of Commerce Urges Action on Railroad NegotiationsSept. 12, 2022—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday sent a letter to Congress urging immediate action in the negotiations with the country’s six largest freight railroads and 12 unions to avoid a shutdown of the nation’s rail service that would have “enormous national consequences,” according to the letter. “A national rail strike would be an economic disaster—freezing the flow of goods, emptying shelves, shuttering workplaces, and raising prices for families and businesses alike, but that is exactly what is likely to happen in less than four days. To avoid a strike and the catastrophic economic impacts that would follow, one of three things needs to happen: the remaining unions who have not agreed to a deal need to join the ones who have; an agreement to extend the current ‘cooling off’ period must be reached; or Congress intervenes, as it has in prior situations. If action is not taken, the nation’s rail service will come to a halt, the negative impacts of which cannot be understated.” The letter also suggests that Congress implement the recommendations of President Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which includes wage increases among other measures, if unions and carriers are unable to reach an agreement. A rail service shutdown would have a serious impact on 46 states and cost the U.S. economy roughly $2 billion a day.
FAA, NTSB Clarify Agency Roles During Commercial Space InvestigationsSept. 9, 2022—Members of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Friday signed an agreement clarifying the specific roles of the agencies during investigations into commercial space accidents, according to a press release. The agreement was signed by National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy and Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Billy Nolen. “For over three decades, the NTSB has led and supported major commercial space mishap investigations that have made human spaceflight safer to this day," Homendy said. “This agreement is proof that the federal government can keep pace with the exciting advances taking place in the private sector while also prioritizing safety as we enter a new space age." The NTSB will lead investigations involving any fatalities or injuries of persons, regardless of whether the individual was on board a commercial space launch or reentry vehicle, or if a commercial launch or reentry results in property damage, injury or death caused by debris created during a launch or reentry. The FAA will be responsible for investigating all other commercial space mishaps.
Scramble for Hotel Rooms After Queen's Passing Starts NowSept. 9, 2022—With the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth in London, hotel bookings have begun to soar. Tim Hentschel, founder and CEO of HotelPlanner.com says that the site "has seen a 20% increase in searches for London hotels from IP addresses in North America over the past 12 hours, and around a 32% increase in bookings. Also about a 10% to 20% jump in room rates over the past 12 hours, particularly among four and five-star hotels, the latter of which are going for £1,000 per night. HotelPlanner is forecasting that rates will double in the next few days across hotel categories." The next 10 days in the United Kingdom will be official Days of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth. King Charles' official Coronation may occur up to 10 months after his succession to the throne. It remains for the King to name William as Prince of Wales, but when that occurs as is expected, William will be invested as Prince of Wales in the capital of Wales, Cardiff. For all of these events, hotel bookings in and around London (and Cardiff, Wales) and possibly near the Queen's Scottish home of Balmoral will be experiencing higher than normal volumes.
United Airlines Invests Additional $15 Million in Flying TaxisSept. 8, 2022—United Airlines on Thursday announced a $15 million investment in Eve Air Mobility, marking another significant bid by United in flying taxis. In addition, United announced the conditional purchase of 200 four-seat electric aircraft, plus 200 options, with the first delivery of the flying taxis, or eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle), expected as soon as 2026, according to a press release. United Airlines and Eve Air Mobility also announced future projects including additional studies and development of the aircraft and the urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem with the goal of revolutionizing the commuter experience in cities around the globe. "United has made early investments in several cutting-edge technologies at all levels of the supply chain, staking out our position as a leader in aviation sustainability and innovation," President of United Airlines Ventures Michael Leskinen said. "Today, United is making history again, by becoming the first major airline to publicly invest in two eVTOL companies. Our agreement with Eve highlights our confidence in the urban air mobility market and serves as another important benchmark toward our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050–without using traditional offsets. Together, we believe our suite of clean energy technologies will revolutionize air travel as we know it and serve as the catalyst for the aviation industry to move toward a sustainable future."
Govt. Of the Municipality of Los Cabos, Mexico Implements New Environmental Sanitation TaxSept. 8, 2022—The government of the municipality of Los Cabos, Mexico announced a new tax that will support environmental infrastructure, sustainability practices, and safety and security, among other projects, according to a press release issued by AMR Collection resorts. The new mandatory tax is $33.68 Mexican Pesos per room, per night, approximately $1.70 USD, effective Sept. 8, and is applicable to all guests staying in Los Cabos regardless of room occupancy. However, the tax will be included in the room rate and will not be charged as an additional fee. All reservations booked prior to Sept. 8 will be exempt from the tax.
Biden-Harris Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Launch New Climate Hazard Tracking ToolSept. 8, 2022—The Biden-Harris administration and the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI) on Thursday introduced a new website that will allow communities across the country track and analyze potential climate-related hazards and quickly find federal funds, including those allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to support climate resilience projects in their area, according to a press release. The interactive geospatial website, Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA), allows people to consider their exposure and the long-term impact of climate-related hazards in their communities. The tool uses data integrated from across the federal government in real-time with the intention of assisting federal, state, local and tribal governments as well as non-profit organizations in creating equitable solutions to protect people, property, and infrastructure. “From day one, President Biden made a clear commitment to protect our most vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change,” Deputy National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said. “This website is designed as a one-stop shop to equip those on the ground with the tools they need to plan and prepare, and to access federal resources to build greater resilience.”
Holiday Inn Under Cyber-AttackSept. 7, 2022—The popular hotel chain, owned by hospitality industry titan Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), announced today their technology system has indeed been hacked. IHG released a statement to confirm their booking system and other applications have been infiltrated since Monday, per BBC news. IHG assures they are taking the issue seriously. While still investigating the full scope of damage, the company says it is bringing in outside experts and pursuing legal action against the hackers with the authorities. Despite public complaints on social media about the hacked system, IHG claims their booking system is up and running. “IHG’s hotels are still able to operate and to take reservations directly,” says the company.
Las Vegas Sands and Marina Bay Sands Create $1 Million Hospitality Scholarship Program in SingaporeSept. 7, 2022—Las Vegas Sands and Marina Bay Sands have launched a $1 million scholarship program in Singapore. The program is being facilitated through Sands Cares, the company’s community engagement program. With tourism in Singapore expected to grow in the coming years, Singapore is looking to capitalize by increasing its hospitality career opportunities. The Sands Hospitality Program will give the opportunity to more than 100 Singaporean students at six Singapore-based institutes, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and the Singapore Institute of Technology. The program will begin in 2023.
Labor Day Travel Recovers Beyond 2019 LevelsSept. 7, 2022—The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that over the Labor Day holiday, they screened 8.76 million travelers between Friday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 5. The weekend travel volume represents 102% of volume for the same pre-pandemic holiday weekend in 2019 and is the first time that a holiday weekend passenger screening volume exceeds that of 2019. Transportation Security Officers screened 2.48 million passengers, says the administration’s website.
Dept. of Homeland Security Launches Inaugural Tribal Homeland Security Advisory CouncilSept. 7, 2022—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday announced the establishment of the first-ever Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council, as well as the opening period for membership nominations. The purpose of the newly formed Council is to allow tribal leaders to advise the security policies and practices implemented by DHS and their direct impact on indigenous communities, including law enforcement, emergency management, cybersecurity, border security, domestic terrorism and targeted violence, according to a press release issued by DHS. “The inaugural Tribal Homeland Security Advisory Council is a result of sustained engagement to improve nation-to-nation relationships and comes at a time of critical importance,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said. “I look forward to building a new Council that will provide timely advice and recommendations directly from Indian Country regarding how we can better work together to improve homeland security.” To create a diverse pool of members that reflects the wide expanse of Indian Country, individuals nominated for leadership will be selected based on their qualifications, including professional background, geographic location and technical expertise. Nominations will be accepted over the next 30 days.
AMEX GBT, Travelport Renew Strategic Relationship with Tech UpgradesSept. 6, 2022—American Express Global Business Travel (AMEX GBT) and London-based Travelport on Tuesday announced a multi-year agreement renewing their strategic relationship, which now spans more than 40 years. The goal of the ongoing relationship seeks to enhance travel retailing with new technologies and simplified processes that power bookings and travel suppliers from around the globe. “We value our relationship with Amex GBT which has lasted more than 40 years. Deepening our collaboration by using Travelport+ will benefit both Amex GBT and its business customers,” Jason Toothman, Chief Commercial Officer - Agency at Travelport said. “Combining Amex GBT’s expertise with our modern travel retailing tools will ultimately improve how corporate travel is managed. The introduction of Travelport+ servicing capabilities and retailing improvements will ensure continued focus on delivering customer, traveler and supplier value to Amex GBT’s marketplace.”
Incentive Groups Want Luxury Says New SurveySept. 6, 2022—The Incentive Research Foundation's most recent report, Decision Drivers 2022: Elevating the Experience, finds that 80% of groups surveyed (US-based) prefer luxury accommodations for incentive trips. The survey also found that the 10 top destinations for incentive groups are: 1. Hawaii; 2. Caribbean; 3. Western US; 4. Western Europe (France, Italy, Spain, etc.); 5. Southern US (New Orleans, Atlanta, etc.); 6. Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, etc.); 7. Eastern US; 8. Alaska; 9. Mexico and 10. Canada. On a webinar on September 6, Rick Garlick, the IRF's chief research officer said that the survey found a continuing trend in European cruising. Within the cruising demographic, the Caribbean was up by 50% as a desired destination followed by Europe at 30%.
Hospitality Students Awarded $1 million in ScholarshipsSept. 6, 2022—Students of the hospitality industry from across the U.S. have been awarded $1 million in scholarships from The American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation (AHLAF). The scholarships will be allocated to 336 program participants over the course of the 2022-23 academic school year. Of the participants receiving funds, 72% are female and 51% are people of color. The age range of program participants is 18 to 70. Recipients of the scholarships are students from two-year and four-year schools including 10 community colleges and 71 other institutions across 36 states and Washington D.C. To date, AHLAF has contributed roughly $16 million to students pursuing careers in the hospitality industry. “Now more than ever it is critical to empower the future minds of the hospitality industry. Through this generous giving, the scholarship recipients at these various institutions will build upon their skills to discover the many exciting career opportunities our industry has to offer,” Sarah Cozewith, Vice President of Workforce Development of the AHLA Foundation said. “We could not be more thrilled to help them on their journey.” Read more here.
Port Canaveral to Receive $1.9 Million in Security FundingSept. 2, 2022—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded $1.9 million in federal grant funding to Port Canaveral through its Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), given to protect the Port’s infrastructure from terrorism and other threats. The Canaveral Port Authority will received $1.3 million in federal funding for two Port Canaveral security enhancement projects: the Cybersecurity Vulnerability Reduction Project and for the purchase of a new Security Rapid Response Boat. In addition, the Canaveral Pilots Association was awarded $684,265 in PSGP funding for the purchase of a new high-tech response boat. Port Canaveral was one of more than 30 U.S. ports awarded federal funding in 2022 from FEMA’s 100 million PSGP program. Read more here.
California Passes Sweeping Climate and Clean Energy Package, Industry Profs RespondCalifornia lawmakers on Wednesday passed SB-1137, allocating $54 billion toward clean energy and measures to mitigate the effects of severe drought amid intense heat and a 22-year drought in the western United States. The new package is aligned with the California air regulator’s vote to eliminate the sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. The bill focuses on the regulation of projects to decarbonize the state’s power grid, end new oil drilling around communities and create interim targets for 100% clean energy. In addition, the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the last in the state, has been postponed until 2030. Industry professionals in the state have grappled with the impacts of climate change over recent years as extreme weather and wildfires have plagued areas known for being tourism destinations, including Lake Tahoe and California’s wine country, with strides in sustainability taking place across the board in the hospitality and tourism industries. “This legislation plays an important role in continually moving California and our destinations forward in recognizing the realities of climate change and taking responsibility for being part of the solution. Sonoma County Tourism has a solid commitment to destination stewardship and sustainable travel,” says Claudia Vecchio, president and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. Read more here.
National Hotel Employee Day Announced by AHLAThe Washington D.C.-based American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has established Sept. 1 as National Hotel Employee Day, recognizing the contributions of hotel workers and their impact on the hotel, tourism and meetings industries, according to a press release. The announcement comes amid a nationwide hotel staffing shortage with roughly 120,000 open hotel positions. The AHLA reports that severe staffing shortages and increased demand, due to the busy summer travel season, have resulted in a national increase in the average wages of hotel workers to $22.25 an hour in May 2022. The average wage was $18.74 an hour prior to the pandemic. “There has never been a better time to work in the hotel industry than right now,” AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers said. The newly-established National Hotel Employee Day was launched to thank and celebrate hotel employees who are critical in supporting the nearly $2 trillion tourism industry, according to the announcement. Read more here.
Alaska Airlines Adds New Nonstop Flights to AnchorageEvent profs and attendees headed to Anchorage from the Seattle area’s Snohomish County Airport (PAE) in Everett, Washington can do so with nonstop flights starting Nov. 30, 2022, with tickets now available for purchase at alaskaair.com, per Travel Daily News. Direct flights from the Everett airport to Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC), will be serviced through Alaska’s sister carrier, Horizon Air, and will be the farthest nonstop flight from that commercial travel hub, also known as Paine Field Airport. "We listened to our guests who live and work from north of Seattle to the Canadian border. They told us one of their top requests is a nonstop flight between Everett and Anchorage," Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances for Alaska Airlines said in a statement. "There's a significant need and demand to connect workers and businesses in the two regions—from the fishing industry to aviation—In addition to the desire for leisure travel. We're ready to welcome our guests on this new route this fall.” Read more here.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts Announces Partnership with AesopWaldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, a Hilton brand, this month announced a partnership with Aesop, a vegan skincare brand. Aesop’s products center on hair and skin care, fragrance and other personal care products that will now be offered in Waldorf Astoria properties around the world. This partnership helps reflect the Hilton’s commitment to environmental sustainability as all in-room toiletries will be made from 97% post-consumer recycled plastic. All toiletries will also be full-size rather than travel-size to help reduce environmental impact. Read more here.
Four Season Launches New Platform: Luxury is Our Love LanguageIn an effort to redefine luxury, the Four Seasons is debuting new branding that will continue to roll out over the next year. Luxury is Our Love Language is focused on a belief that true luxury should be personalized and intimate rather than rigid and scripted. By using surveys from guest experiences to personal anecdotes, Le Tuc, an NYC-based creative collective, partnered with Four Seasons to create personalized luxury experiences. As a part of this branding, The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown will soon have a custom Acts of Love postcard experience for guests to write letters to their family, friends and loved ones. Read more here.
EventUp Releases Data on Hottest Planning Trends in 2022The largest global marketplace for booking events, EventUp (powered by Tripleseat), this month released its findings on the most popular trends among meeting profs for selecting venues in 2022. EventUp works to connect various types of venues with planners to create ideal experiences. The data is based on leads and events booked through EventUp’s marketplace in 2022. "We are seeing an uptick not only in event size but also the amount of planners willing to invest in executing a perfect celebration," Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat, said in a press release. "By looking at the trends both locally and globally we are able to better understand and support planners' needs in order to connect them with the perfect venue.” Top Trends
- The average spend for events is $3,545; $35,827 for holiday parties
- New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta ranked highest in popularity among host cities
- Top celebrations include birthday parties and baby showers
- Saturday is still the most popular day to party
- The average event size is 130 guests
- Restaurants and bars ranked highest as popular meeting venues