News Briefs, Week of Feb. 9, 2009

Paul Gauguin drops NCFs for 2010
Paul Gauguin Cruises will eliminate noncommissionable fees on its all 2010 cruise bookings for its one ship, the Paul Gauguin. Regent Seven Seas Cruises operates the 332-passenger ship through January 2010, when the ship will come under management of PGC, which said it will pay commission on most port, handling and security charges. Regent recently eliminated most NCFs on its 2010 cruises.

Seabourn unveils Asia strategy
Seabourn Cruises for the first time will operate a ship year-round in Asia in 2010-2011, citing growing interest in travel to the Far East. The Seabourn Pride will introduce several new ports of call in China, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.

Air France, WestJet agree to codeshare
WestJet, Air France and KLM plan to start a codesharing agreement in late 2009 or early 2010, focusing on the Canadian gateways of Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The carriers also agreed to explore frequent-flyer ties. WestJet plans to start code-sharing with Southwest this year.

Radisson to drop SAS name overseas
Radisson SAS hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are rebranding as Radisson Blu, marking the chain’s final break from the SAS Group, the former parent of Rezidor, which manages Radisson and other Carlson-owned brands in those regions. Carlson is the largest shareholder in Rezidor, which SAS spun off in 2006.

Fast redress bill clears House vote
Airline passengers who are wrongly identified as a security threat on the government terrorist watch list will have greater recourse to appeal under the Fast Redress Act, which passed the House Feb. 4. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, requires the Department of Homeland Security to develop a “comprehensive cleared list” of misidentified travelers to be shared by government agencies.

Virginia picked as new Hilton base
Hilton chose Fairfax County, Va., as its new home and is negotiating for office space in expectation that it will move from Beverly Hills, Calif., this year. Virginia assembled a $4.6 million incentive package, evidently outbidding Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Wright Travel chief funds college chair
Pam Wright, CEO of Wright Travel in Nashville, is donating $1.3 million to her alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, to underwrite the Wright Travel Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. James Burton, dean of the business school, said it’s the largest gift the university has ever received. Wright, wife of Travel Weekly legal columnist Mark Pestronk, received the school’s Exemplar Award in 2000.

Opening breaks Curacao dry spell
The 237-room Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino opened Feb. 1 as the first new chain hotel on the island in 15 years. The waterfront resort is connected to Rif Fort, a 19th century landmark and Unesco World Heritage site.

Friends & Colleagues

Eric Bock, executive vice president and general counsel at Travelport Ltd., has assumed the additional role of chief administrative officer. Bock joined Travelport in 2006. • • • Hilton Hotels Corp. has named Bill Duncan senior vice president of brand management for Homewood Suites by Hilton and the newly launched Home2 Suites by Hilton brands. He replaces Rebecca Wyatt, who has left the company to be with family in Atlanta. For the past 10 years, Duncan has been vice president of sales and marketing for Homewood Suites. • • • Silversea made two organizational changes. Steve Tucker was promoted from director to vice president of national accounts and Eastern regional sales. Tucker, a six-year veteran of the line, will be responsible for maintaining key retailer relationships and expanding the national accounts program. Joseph Proto was named to the new position of director of Silversea’s loyalty program, the Venetian Society. Proto previously served as director of world cruise and business development. • • • Trump Hotel Collection announced the appointment of David Chase as general manager of Trump SoHo New York, which is slated to open in late 2009. Chase joined Trump SoHo New York from the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, where he served as hotel manager. • • • Doral Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort, has appointed Mark Jeffrey as general manager. For the past seven years Jeffrey, a 28-year Marriott veteran, served as general manager of the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa in Lexington, Ky.

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