CORAL BEACH HOTELS & CLUBS is the name of
newly merged Coral Beach Hotels & Resorts, a management
concern, formerly led by John E. Ayres, and The Coral Beach Club
Co., a country club management concern, formerly led by Lee R.
Weeks. Previously both firms, based in Naples, had been separate
concerns with shared ownership. The merged concern is a hospitality
management and investment company with a portfolio of eight hotels
-- seven in Florida and one in the Turks & Caicos -- and three
country clubs. Partners in the merged firm are Ayres as chairman
and chief executive officer, and Weeks as president and chief
operating officer. The Web site is www.coralbeachhotels.com.
SEAWORLD ADVENTURE PARK, Orlando, last week
hiked the price of daily gate admission by $2. The new costs are
$49.95 for visitors ages 10 to 54; $46.95 for those ages 55 and
older; and $40.95 for children ages 3 to 9. These rates do not
include a 6% tax. Visitors who buy SeaWorld tickets online (www.seaworld.com) and print them out will save 10%.
Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World had not matched the
increase at the time of this report.
IN RELATED NEWS, SeaWorld's sister park,
Discovery Cove, closed down for renovations. It is scheduled to
reopen on Feb. 11.
MERISTAR HOTELS & Resorts, which operates
seven properties in southwest Florida, launched an agent Web site,
www.shellislandrewards.com. It contains information on
the properties and a new bonus commission program called Shell
Island Rewards. The latter calls for commission increases once
plateaus in revenue-generation have been reached. Agents also can
call (866) 47-SHELL.
VISIT FLORIDA and the Florida Lottery launched
a six-month-long scratch-off game on Jan. 22, where purchasers of a
special $2 ticket can win up to $10,000. Some scratch-off boxes
yield travel prizes -- one of 90 vacation packages donated by
suppliers such as Carnival Cruise Line, Universal Orlando and
Florida Panhandle interests. Every losing ticket is a winner
because it can be redeemed for discounts statewide at more than 300
hotels and attractions. The aim of the scratch-off game, backed by
a Florida Lottery $5 million ad effort, is to increase resident
awareness of the value of tourism, according to Visit Florida. (The
initial report on plans for this special game appeared in the Jan.
9 Florida E-Letter.)
THE FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD International
Airport has bounced back in terms of flight frequency since the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the Broward County
Aviation Department, citing the airport's most popular route --
Fort Lauderdale-New York/Newark. A department spokesman said that
there were only 28 roundtrips a day on the route after Sept. 11 vs.
a peak of 38 a day during the first half of 2001. By December last
year, roundtrip flights on the route increased to 35. While during
January, the frequency was 34. In February, it will return to 35.
During the first six months of 2001, when the 38 flights were
operating, the route was the most heavily traveled in the nation,
averaging 9,700 passenger boardings a day on the northbound
departures. Today, Delta, JetBlue and Continental are the top three
airlines on the route, followed by Spirit, American and US
CULTURE KEY is the banner for a new series of
value-added discounted winter activities introduced by 32 Palm
Beach County hotels. Under the plan, two-for-one admissions are
extended to hotel guests presenting a room key and the related
voucher provided by the hotel. More than 30 museums, theaters and
other cultural attractions are participating. Among the latter are
the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center in Belle Glade; Ballet Florida,
the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra; Lake Worth (Fla.) Playhouse and
the Hibel Museum, Palm Beach. For information, call the Palm Beach
County Cultural Council, (561) 471-2901
SEPARATELY, the Palm Beach County Convention
& Visitors Bureau launched a winter advertising campaign in New
York and other markets on Jan. 27 spotlighting other value-added
deals, such as free fourth and seventh nights when three and six
nights are prepaid at participating hotels. Winter advertising
seldom occurs, according to Warren McLaughlin, president of the
Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau, because of
traditionally high demand. Addressing travel editors in New York,
he explained that hotel occupancy this winter, for various reasons,
was off by as much as nine percentage points vs. last year.
However, winter room rate reductions, prevalent elsewhere in
Florida, have been minimal in Palm Beach County.
CROWNE PLAZA at Sawgrass Mills, a Six
Continents Hotels property with 250 rooms, opened in Sunrise, west
of Fort Lauderdale. Sawgrass Mills is a gigantic discount retail
outlet complex. The 10-story hotel has more than 8,000 square feet
of meeting and banquet facilities.
ME PRODUCTIONS, Orlando, a destination
management concern, was selected by the Kissimmee-St. Cloud
Convention & Visitors Bureau to produce the themed event
planned for the evening of Feb. 3 for the 2,200 attendees of the
American Bus Assn. Marketplace staying at the new Gaylord Palms in
Kissimmee. The group will be brought to Kissimmee's Old Town
complex (eight restaurants, 75 shops and 15 amusement rides) where
themes reflecting the moon, sun, wind and clouds will be created
and overhead will be a trapeze artist. There will be live
entertainment as well sponsored by various attractions and other
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The 2002 Florida State
Fair, Tampa, is set for Feb. 7 to 18. The event includes equestrian
shows, forestry appreciation, crafts, alligator education, Celtic
music, racing pigs, circus acts, a steam engine exhibit,
manufactured housing show, and a novelty music wagon. For
information, call (800) 345-FAIR; or visit www.floridastatefair.com.
RITZ-CARLTON UPDATE: The chain's 115-room
boutique Coconut Grove property, which originally was to have
opened during the first quarter of this year, will now open in
midsummer and not in late spring.