Travel Weekly's Europe E-letter: Aug. 1, 2007

BUSINESS VISITORS TO LONDON from the U.S. and Canada reached record numbers last year, according to Visit London, with nearly 1 million visits in 2006, the highest since 2000. Factors contributing to the high numbers include the frequency of international flights and upgrades in the city's infrastructure. ExCeL London, for example, the largest convention center in the city, has hosted more than 2,000 events and welcomed more than 4 million visitors from 200-plus countries since it opened in 2000.

RAIL EUROPE tapped Frederic Langlois to succeed Fabrice Morel as its new president and CEO. Langlois, a 15-year veteran of the travel industry, served as Rail Europe's executive vice president of sales, marketing and distribution for the past year, overseeing sales, marketing, product development, group rail sales, e-commerce and customer relations. Morel moves on to serve as Railteam distribution director at the French National Railroad's passenger division, based in Paris. Railteam is a new alliance of seven European high-speed-rail operators dedicated to streamlining international high-speed rail travel.

THE REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP, a Brussels-based hotel management company, is set to open five new Park Inn hotels in Germany, expanding the portfolio of that brand in Germany to 18. Rebrandings are planned this summer for 180-room Park Inn Mannheim; in September for the 118-room Park Inn Dusseldorf Sud; in October for the 118-room Park Inn Bielefeld; and in early 2008 for the 120-room Park Inn Hamburg Nord and the 121-room Park Inn Mainz. The Rezidor portfolio now features more than 300 properties.

HILTON HOTELS CORP. signed its first Doubletree Hotel agreement in Europe with G&W Hotels with an eye to growing the brand throughout Europe. The newly built, 240-room Doubletree by Hilton Milan is set to open in Italy in October 2008. The property will feature a 225-seat restaurant, a 250-person covered terrace, a lobby bar, a fitness area and meetings facilities. The hotel will join the 319-room Hilton Milan hotel, which opened in 1972 and is the only other Hilton branded property in the city

LOUIS TUSSAUD'S WAX MUSEUM in Copenhagen, Denmark, will close on Aug. 31. Located in the Hans Christian Andersen Castle, adjacent to and owned by Tivoli Gardens, the wax museum attracted nearly 10 million people during the past 33 years. Most of the 200-plus wax figures will be redeployed to other Ripley Entertainment attractions worldwide. The closure will not affect the operations of two remaining Ripley Entertainment attractions in Copenhagen: Ripley's Believe It or Not museum and the Guinness World Records Museum. 

Europe Editor: Felicity Long

Phone: (781) 659-1301

[email protected]

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