For Concordia, final departure
The Costa Concordia made its way last week to Genoa, Italy, where the ruined ship will be dismantled two-and-a-half years after it struck a rock and partly capsized off Giglio Island. The Concordia was to arrive in Genoa sometime late on July 26 or early July 27, according to the website maintained jointly by Costa and the salvage companies working on the Concordia. A convoy of up to 14 support vessels accompanied the Concordia on the journey.
TripAdvisor mobile adds Travelport hotels
TripAdvisor is adding hotel inventory from Travelport to its new mobile-booking feature. The move will give the TripAdvisor platform access to some 580,000 hotels worldwide, including 480,000 nonbranded properties. Launched in June with Choice Hotels and hotel-booking site GetaRoom.com, the service enables mobile users to book hotels without leaving TripAdvisor's mobile site. The service also gets inventory from TripAdvisor's discount travel site, Tingo.
Air Canada Rouge adds Palm Springs route
Air Canada Rouge, the Canadian carrier's leisure line, plans to add a seasonal route this winter from Vancouver to Palm Springs, Calif. Flights will operate three times weekly with A319 aircraft between Dec. 18 and April 12.
Silvercar Audi fleet enters Denver market
Silvercar, the car rental upstart that features an all-Audi fleet, began taking reservations for Denver Airport rentals beginning Aug. 11. The company, available to agents via Sabre Red, handles virtually all customer contact online or via a smartphone app. It launched at Dallas/Fort Worth in January 2013; Denver will be its eighth airport location.
MGM gets final OK for Maryland casino
MGM Grand won final approval from local authorities for its planned 300-room hotel and casino at the National Harbor entertainment and convention venue near Washington, in Prince George's County, Maryland. Expected to open in 2016, the MGM complex will offer 3,600 slot machines and 140 tables plus restaurants and shops. A groundbreaking could be slated for as early as next month.
Hilton Conrad reflags IHG London property
Hilton's Conrad brand will return to London after a seven-year hiatus with the reflagging of the 256-room InterContinental London-Westminster in September. The property, which opened less than two years ago about halfway between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, will be known as the Conrad London Westminster.
Palace Resorts eyes Moon Palace opening
The Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, the former Sunset Jamaica Grande, will open in early 2015, following a $50 million renovation that begins Sept. 1. Palace Resorts recently acquired the 730-room property, its first outside of Mexico.
UAE investor plans new resort on Antigua
A member of the ruling family of the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates agreed to invest in a new hotel in Antigua. The $120 million hotel will be a beachfront property in Morris Bay near the Curtain Bluff resort on the southwestern coast. Sheik Tariq bin Faisal Al Qassemi signed a agreement with the Antigua government on behalf of Al Caribi Development, which will build the luxury resort on a 36-acre site. Five acres will be a national park. Construction is slated to begin within six months.
Melia brand to open resort in Colombia
Melia Hotels International said it plans to open a 154-room, adults-only resort in Cartagena, Colombia, in the first quarter of 2017. The property would be the company's first Melia-branded hotel in Colombia; it has properties in Bogota and Medellin franchised under the Tryp brand.
Friends & Colleagues
Direct Travel, the Mahwah, N.J.-based travel agency, appointed industry veteran Christine Sikes senior vice president of operations. Sikes joins Direct, No. 21 on Travel Weekly's 2014 Power List, after serving as vice president of program management for Carlson Wagonlit Travel's SatoTravel military and government division. She was responsible for account management of client relationships as well as group travel services. In her new role, Sikes will drive strategic operational efficiencies and innovative client-driven services and solutions for Direct Travel's national operations. She will also be instrumental in rolling out new technologies. • • • VisitBritain appointed Sally Balcombe CEO of the organization. Balcombe's travel industry experience includes being managing director of British Airways Holidays and, from 2008 to 2011, chief marketing officer at Travelport. Balcombe has since 2013 served as a board member of VisitBritain and is also a consultant on multi-channel and digital strategy for travel related businesses. She sits as a nonexecutive director of two online travel businesses. • • • The U.S. Tour Operators Association has named Elizabeth George to the newly created position of membership and programming director. George will lead the organization's membership development, education and communication activities. She most recently served as manager of Northeast regional sales at the New Orleans Conventions & Visitors Bureau. • • • Omni Hotels & Resorts has tapped Kris Singleton as the company's new information chief. Singleton comes to Omni from Las Vegas' Cosmopolitan, where he also served as information chief. In addition to the Cosmopolitan, Singleton has worked with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and MGM Resorts International. • • • Jean Newman Glock has joined the Signature Travel Network as its new social media and public relations ambassador. Newman Glock's travel industry career includes 17 years managing Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's portfolio of more than 300 international tours, as well as the organization's student travel programs.