News Briefs, Week of Feb. 22, 2016

Carnival goes virtual at select AT&T stores

Carnival Corp. has partnered with Samsung and AT&T to offer a "fully immersive virtual reality cruise experience" using virtual reality headsets at select AT&T stores. The demos will be available in 133 AT&T stores in 37 states, Carnival said.

Norwegian stage-show lineup gets a shake-up
Norwegian Cruise Line is making changes to its show lineup on the Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway. "Million Dollar Quartet" will leave the Escape as of the March 5 sailing and will reopen on the Getaway on May 15. The show will replace "Legally Blonde," which will close April 30. "Million Dollar Quartet" will be replaced on the Escape by "For the Record," a show featuring characters from John Hughes films that is currently running in the Escape Supper Club.

Marriott inks deal for 100 Fairfields in China
Marriott International signed a development agreement with Eastern Crown Hotel Groups to open 100 Fairfield hotels in China by 2021. Craig Smith, president of Marriott International Asia Pacific, said that an increase in disposable income in China's middle class is driving a rising demand for "higher-quality midrange accommodations."

U.S. OK'd for daytime flights at Haneda
U.S. airlines will be able to fly to Tokyo's Haneda Airport in the daytime under an amendment to the U.S.-Japan air transport agreement; the flights are expected to begin as early as the fall. Currently, U.S. carriers' four daily arrivals and departures into Haneda are restricted to nighttime hours.

Countries are added to VWP restricted list
Individuals who have visited Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 1, 2011, cannot travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, according to the latest extension of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. Travelers impacted by the restriction must apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate in order to travel to the U.S., unless they receive a waiver granted on a case-by-case basis; the restriction does not apply to individuals who hold dual citizenship.

AA to add full-service dining at hub lounges
American Airlines will serve preflight meals with full tableside service at its Flagship lounges beginning in 2017 at New York Kennedy, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and Los Angeles airports. The service, called Flagship Dining, will offer meals curated by a New York-based chef and be available to first-class passengers on three-class transcontinental and international flights. American also said it would expand and upgrade its Flagship Lounge locations at those four airports and in Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Atlanta first airport to top 100M flyers

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport became the first airport to service more than 100 million flyers in a year, according to a report compiled by Airport World. It recorded a passenger count of 101.5 million in 2015, making it the world's busiest airport. Three other U.S. airports were among the 10 busiest last year: Chicago O'Hare finished fourth, Los Angeles was seventh and Dallas/Fort Worth came in at No. 10. Leading the way among foreign airports was No. 2 Beijing Capital, which welcomed 89.9 million passengers.

Friends & Colleagues
Theresa Scalzitti will join Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, in the newly created position of vice president of sales and marketing starting on Feb. 29. Scalzitti is a Royal Caribbean International veteran, having spent more than two decades with the company. She most recently served as the national account sales and marketing senior manager. While at Royal Caribbean, she worked closely with Cruise Planners, helping to grow its agents' sales. In her new role, she will manage the strategic direction of the company's marketing, sales and business-development teams. • • • Sharon Siskie was appointed senior vice president of sales for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, U.S., taking over the role immediately. Siskie, a 21-year Disney veteran, most recently served as vice president for marketing and sales, international. She has held a variety of executive sales and marketing positions within the Disney Parks division. Prior to joining Disney, Siskie worked for Premier Cruise Lines in Port Canaveral, Fla., and has been a certified travel seller since 1997. • • • Movenpick Hotels & Resorts CEO Jean-Gabriel Peres will be stepping down after 17 years. He intends to stay on until a successor is named, which is expected to happen later this year. Peres will then serve on Movenpick's board of directors. During Peres' tenure, Movenpick transitioned from a mostly European-based hotel company with a portfolio of leased properties to an asset-light management company with strong presences in Europe and the Middle East and entries into Africa and Asia.


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