Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: Nov. 2, 2006

THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP signed a 15-year partnership agreement with ANA Hotels & Resorts to co-brand hotels in Japan. Under the agreement, IHG will invest $18.6 million over the next two years in brand advertising and research, plus another $13.1 million for technology enhancements. The agreement calls for IHG and ANA to form a joint venture called IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan. By 2007, the joint venture will begin rebranding all of ANA's 13 corporate-owned and leased hotels into three co-brands created for the Japan market: ANA-InterContinental, ANA-Crowne-Plaza and ANA-Holiday Inn.

UNDER THE PLAN, the ANA Hotel Tokyo will be the first to be rebranded and renamed ANA-InterContinental Tokyo by April 2007. The other 12 ANA properties would be co-branded over the following 18 months. IHG and ANA intend to hold discussions with the franchisees or third-party owners of the remaining 18 hotels in ANA's portfolio with regard to co-branding possibilities. The deal, which is expected to be completed in December, would give IHG 42 hotels and 12,000 rooms in its Japan portfolio, more than any other international chain.

HONG KONG plans to build a cruise facility on part of the runway at the city's former Kai Tak airport with up to two berths capable of handling the largest cruise ships afloat. The government will launch an open tender process in the fourth quarter of 2007 for the development of the new terminal. The government said the new terminal must be built to keep pace with the cruise industry's trend of building larger vessels. Commercial, office, retail and other tourism-related facilities would also be built at the Kai Tak site, which is located in downtown Kowloon. The successful bidder is expected to be named in the second quarter of 2008.

AIR NEW ZEALAND will suspend its Los Angeles-Papeete (Tahiti)-Rarotonga (Cook Islands) service on April 2 after a review of what the airline called "route profitability." Instead, the airline said it will operate weekly service between Los Angeles and Rarotonga to further develop the link between North America and the Cook Islands. This service would be increased to twice weekly during peak travel times. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand said it will code-share with Air Tahiti Nui four days a week on Air Tahiti Nui's nonstop Los Angeles-Papeete flights, starting April 2. Each carrier will also operate twice weekly flights between Auckland, New Zealand, and Papeete, providing code sharing on each other's flights.

AMERICAN AIRLINES VACATIONS is offering packages to Shanghai in conjunction with its daily nonstop service from Chicago. Hotels participating in the program are the Westin Shanghai; the St. Regis Hotel, Shanghai; the Pudong Shangri-La; the Crowne Plaza Shanghai; and the Rendezvous Merry Hotel. Options include shopping and city tours, visits to cultural attractions and a Huangpu River cruise. American is offering AAdvantage members who book Shanghai tickets or packages by March 31 an additional 10,000 bonus miles. For information or reservations, visit www.aavacations.com.

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