THERE IS SOME
concern that the Orange County
Convention Center in Orlando may not have enough hotels within
walking distance to satisfy the organizers of some major industry
shows planned after 2006. These organizers were counting on
thousands of additional rooms coming on line in conjunction with
the 1.1 million-square-foot expansion of the center, set for
completion in May 2003. The expansion will bring the center's total
space to 2.1 million square feet. According to Tom Ackert,
executive director of the center, the events of Sept. 11 worsened
tourism's economic outlook, especially for venture capital lenders
and others, which in turn caused Hilton, Hyatt and Peabody projects
to be delayed. The 2,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel project
near the center is planned to open in 2007, instead of its previous
target of 2005.
MEANWHILE, IN MIAMI, a task force organized by
the city's Downtown Development Authority began researching sites
where a midsize convention center could be constructed to meet the
future needs of the area. Recommendations are expected to be
forthcoming by late August for sites that can accommodate a center
of up to 150,000 square feet, an authority spokesman said. At
present, the Miami Convention center has 28,000 square feet; the
adjacent James L. Knight Center has 16,000 square feet; the Miami
Beach Convention Center, not convenient to downtown, has more than
1 million square feet.
THE TAMPA-ST. PETE area made a bid for the 2004 Republican
National Convention. If the city is selected, the convention would
be held at the Tampa Convention Center. As previously reported,
Greater Miami made bids for both the 2004 Republican and Democratic
conventions. Orlando, meanwhile, may consider bidding for one or
both of the political conventions in 2008, Tom Ackert, executive
director of the Orlando-Orange County Convention Center said.
• American Airlines on Aug. 1 will begin nonstop service with a
daily flight between Boston and Fort Lauderdale and will add a
second daily nonstop between Boston and Orlando.
• Continental Airlines on Dec. 14 will reinstate Newark-Daytona
Beach service using Embraer 50-seat regional jets, thanks to the
airport receiving a federal grant to help it attract carriers.
Continental suspended the service -- flown with larger jets --
after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
HAS TRAVEL REALLY REBOUNDED? That will be the
topic of a travel industry panel convening during the grand opening
of the 1,000-room Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando at 3
p.m. on July 10. Participants are Mark Brown, executive
vp-association and club services of AAA; Kathy Sudeikis, vp of
ASTA's executive board, Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews
Hotels; Bill Peeper, president of the Orlando-Orange County
Convention & Visitors Bureau; Fred Lounsberry, national chair
of the Travel Industry Assn. of America, and senior vp-sales for
the Universal Recreation Group.
• Prime Hospitality Corp. completed the sale of its 105-unit
Jupiter Wellesley Inn to Jupiter Hotel LLC. The hotel will continue
to be operated as a Wellesley Inn under a 20-year franchise
• A $165 nightly minimum rate is extended by Marriott's Villas at
Doral (adjacent to the Doral Golf Resort) through Aug. 29. There
are 244 new two-bedroom, two-bath villas available and guests have
use of the Doral's golf and tennis facilities and its Blue Lagoon
water recreation area. Agents earn 8% or 10% pay, depending on
their participation in Marriott's Hotel Excellence Program. For
information, call (800) VILLAS-9.
• The Holiday Inn Family Suites Resort, Lake Buena Vista, offers
commissionable Senior Saver$ rates (including breakfast) for the
rest of the year. Rates vary with age, with those ages 50 to 69
paying the $89 maximum starting rate. For information, call (877)