News Briefs, Week of Feb. 28

Record $10.8B for Mexico tourism

Tourism revenue rose 14.6% to a record $10.8 billion last year as Sectur, the Mexican tourism ministry, reported a 10% gain in arrivals to 20.6 million visitors.

Tourism is expected to account for 8.2% of Mexicos economy in 2005.

RyanAir boosts Boeing order

European low-cost airline Ryanair placed a firm order for 70 737 aircraft valued at $4 billion, with an option for 70 more, in order to maintain its planned double-digit growth in the latter years of this decade.

Ryanair operates about 74 737 aircraft, according to its Web site, and its still taking deliveries at a rapid pace from a previous order for 155 737s.

Kiosks coming to all Embassy Suites

Hiltons Embassy Suites chain decided to install self-service check-in at all its properties by June 2006 and said it hopes to hit the 75% mark by the end of this year.

The EmbassyDirect Registration Kiosks, introduced at select properties last October, were developed by Hiltons IT division and IBM and are capable of facilitating room check-ins and checkouts and personalized messaging to guests.

Yard sale for Universal?

Universal Studios Hollywood will open a retail store called the Wardrobe Department, which will sell clothing and collectibles that have been used in TV shows and movies. Each item will come with a certificate of authenticity.

Prices will range from $25 to $150 for clothing worn by actors in such shows as American Dreams, Crossing Jordan and Will and Grace.

People in the News...

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group appointed Albert Mertz general manager at the new Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya, Mexico, which is set to open in December. Mertz, a 15-year industry veteran, was doing double duty as resident manager and director of food and beverage at the Miami mandarin Oriental for four years ... Windstar Cruises appointed Gerald Moesslinger manager of marine hotel operations. Moesslinger, who previously worked at Seabourn Cruises, will oversee accommodations, shore excursions, the lines watersports program and food and beverage ... The most recent corporate fallout following Air Jamaicas restructuring mandate includes John Lewis, who resigned as executive vice president and chief revenue officer, and Bryan Shilling, who is out as president of Air Jamaica Vacations (AJV). Handling the day-to-day operations at AJV is Mike Norton, vice president of sales and marketing. Shilling has moved to US Airways Vacations as vice president and general manager ... South African Tourism hired Claude Pretorius to be portfolio manager of the Americas and the U.K. The organization also hired a new country manager for the U.S., Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, who will be based in New York. Mabuza-Suttle was a TV producer in South Africa ... Collette Vacations promoted Kevin Kramich to executive vice president. Previously vice president of global sales, Kramich has been with Collette since 1985 and has been a member of Collettes executive board since 2002 ... Gordon Buck was promoted to vice president of port operations, for Carnival Cruise Lines; previously he was the port operations director. Buck serves as a liaison with port agents and various government agencies. He also oversees port planning and logistics ... SeaDream Yacht Club hired Claudius Docekal as senior director of land adventures and itinerary planning. Docekal previously was part of sales and product-development management at Orient Express Hotels, Train & Cruises ... Abercrombie & Kent named Cynthia Peters sales director for its southeast region, which comprises Florida, North and South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

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