News Briefs, Week of July 13, 2015

U.S., Brazil leaders pledge to go visa-free

President Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff pledged to work toward visa-free travel between the two nations after meeting June 30. Brazilians currently pay a $160 application fee for a U.S. tourist visa, and Americans pay $160 for a Brazilian tourist visa. The move comes as Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Proper hotel brand to open L.A. property
Proper Hotels, a lifestyle brand headed by former Viceroy Hotels chief Brad Korzen, will open in Los Angeles in 2017. The Los Angeles Proper will occupy an 81-year-old building that formerly housed a YMCA. The 13-story hotel will have 148 guestrooms, a restaurant and a rooftop lounge and pool. Proper's first property is slated to open in San Francisco this year.

Uber to stop operating in Broward County
Uber said it would cease operations in Florida's Broward County on July 31 because it is "one of the most hostile regulatory environments in the nation," citing the county's regulations for permits and background checks being above Uber's. The result, Uber said, is too few drivers to meet demand and an "unreliable and more expensive experience."

Lindblad now trading on Nasdaq as LIND
Lindblad Expeditions began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol LIND after becoming a public company via a merger with Capital Acquisition Corp. II, which has been renamed Lindblad Expeditions Holdings. Mark Ein, chairman and CEO of Capitol, became chairman of Lindblad, while Sven-Olof Lindblad became CEO.

Apple pulls its gala from Trump property
Apple Vacations will move its 2015 Global Apple Gala from Chicago's Trump International Hotel & Tower. Apple Vacations President Tim Mullen cited recent comments made by presidential candidate Donald Trump about Mexico and immigrants to the U.S. and said prospective attendees were opposed to attending the event at a Trump property.

The Majesty to stay with Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean International will keep the 2,744-passenger Majesty of the Seas, instead of transferring the ship to Pullmantur, a Spanish line owned by parent Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Instead, the Majesty will be upgraded in April and will sail from Port Canaveral starting in May. Launched in 1992, it is the only Sovereign-class ship remaining in Royal Caribbean's fleet.

Insight offers first South America tour
Insight Vacations introduced a Peru itinerary for 2016 as the luxury tour operator's first South America destination. The 12-day Treasures of the Incas tour will begin in Lima and continue to Cusco and Machu Picchu before ending in Lake Titicaca.

MGM to sell its two Reno properties
Eldorado Resorts will acquire MGM Resorts International's two Reno, Nev., hotels, the Silver Legacy Resort Casino and the Circus Circus Reno, for $72.5 million. The Silver Legacy has 1,711 guestrooms, an 89,000-square-foot casino and six restaurants. Circus Circus has 1,571 hotel rooms, a 56,000-square-foot casino, six restaurants and a full-service wedding chapel.

Friends & Colleagues
Marshall Doney, right, has been named to succeed Bob Darbelnet as CEO of AAA Travel. Darbelnet retired on July 1 after a 42-year career at AAA, which is ranked No. 10 in Travel Weekly's 2015 Power List; he had been CEO since 1994. Doney has been president and COO for the past two years. His AAA career began in 1984 as assistant district manager at AAA Wisconsin. • • • Small-ship line Un-Cruise Adventures appointed Tim Jacox president and COO. Jacox has been with the company for 14 years in executive management and sales and marketing roles. Dan Blanchard remains CEO of Un-Cruise Adventures, which operates a fleet of eight vessels in the U.S., Mexico and Central and South America. • • • Celebrity Cruises said Kate McCue will become captain of the Celebrity Summit, the line's first female captain. McCue, 37, came from Royal Caribbean International, where she held the title Master Mariner. A native of San Francisco, McCue, is the first American female to captain a ship at a major cruise line. She is a graduate of the California State University's California Maritime Academy. • • • Will Ris, senior vice president for government affairs at American Airlines, has announced he intends to retire at the end of this year after nearly 20 years with the airline. • • • Wyndham Hotel Group named Noah Brodsky senior vice president, worldwide loyalty and engagement. He previously served as vice president, worldwide loyalty and led the relaunch of the new Wyndham Reward program. Prior to Wyndham, Brodsky served as chief experience officer at WeWork, a venture-backed office-leasing company in New York.

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