News Briefs, Week of March 14, 2016

Viking saw huge dip after Paris attacks


Viking River Cruises CEO Torstein Hagen said the six-ship launch this year was “probably a couple” too many, given a 58% drop-off in Europe bookings after the Paris attacks. However, Viking is confident in the market, saying its biggest sales day in history was Feb. 29, with more than $25 million in sales. Viking has launched 52 Longships in Europe in five years.

Contiki introduces fee-free changes
Contiki Vacations introduced a policy allowing booked travelers to change their itineraries without penalty up to 45 days before departure. CEO Casper Urhammer said a more “noncommittal approach to trip changes” would “deliver on a millennial expectation for more flexibility.” Travelers with paid deposits can use them as credit toward future Contiki trips or apply them to a friend’s future Contiki trip.

Caesars to renovate 5,000 more rooms
Caesars Entertainment will upgrade another 5,000 rooms in its U.S. inventory this year. In addition to its previous plan to renovate the 586-room original tower at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, it will refurbish the 948-room Augustus Tower, the 1,294-room Planet Hollywood, 1,320 rooms at the Paris Las Vegas, 672 rooms at Harrah’s Las Vegas and rooms at its Atlantic City and Mississippi hotels.

United to retrofit 777s with more seats
United Airlines will fit an extra seat in the economy rows of 19 of its 74 Boeing 777s in the next year, starting this month. Seats within the 10-abreast economy sections will be 17.05 inches wide, compared with 17.3 inches wide on its Boeing 787 aircraft.

Senator: Allow U.S. hotels to build in Cuba

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), in an open letter to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, urged the federal government to amend regulations to allow U.S. hotel operators to build hotels in Cuba. International hotel companies such as Spain’s Melia Hotels International and France’s AccorHotels operate on the island.

Disney plans more Star Wars Days at Sea
Disney Cruise Line will nearly double its Star Wars Days at Sea cruises in 2017. This year, eight Star Wars Days are scheduled for the Disney Fantasy’s Eastern Caribbean itineraries, featuring appearances of Star Wars characters, a deck party and fireworks, Star Wars-themed activities and screenings of Star Wars films. Next year, the concept will expand to 15 sailings on Western Caribbean itineraries.

Barcelona to get its first Edition hotel
Edition, the luxury-boutique brand headed by Marriott International and entrepreneur Ian Schrager, plans to open a hotel in Barcelona next year. The 100-room hotel will be near the Cathedral of Barcelona and Santa Caterina Market. Plans call for three restaurants, a rooftop bar and a club. Edition’s other Europe hotels are in Istanbul and London.

CLIA, Travel Institute enter partnership
CLIA and the Travel Institute formed a partnership that will offer benefits to members including continuing educational credits and educational support. The two organizations also said they are developing other support initiatives for their graduates throughout 2016.

Friends & Colleagues
Edmund Bartlett has returned to the position of minister of tourism for Jamaica, following the recent elections won by the Jamaica Labour Party. New Prime Minister Andrew Holness swore in his 18-member cabinet on March 7. Bartlett served as minister of tourism from 2007 to 2011 when he was succeeded by Wykeham McNeil. • • • Thomas Klein has been chosen as the COO at Canyon Ranch, taking over for the retiring Peter Smith, effective April 11. Klein came from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in San Francisco, where he directed all aspects of hotel operations for seven properties in California as regional vice president/general manager. • • • JetBlue named Rachel McCarthy vice president of talent. McCarthy, who most recently served as vice president of inflight experience, will oversee hiring and talent development across the airline. She joined JetBlue in 2009. Filling her previous position is nine-year JetBlue veteran John Culp, who most recently served as JetBlue’s director of inflight performance and quality. • • • Honua Kai Resort & Spa, a 628-suite luxury resort on Maui’s Kaanapali North Beach, selected Dolly Moreno to be its director of sales and marketing. Moreno has been a member of the Honua Kai team since 2008, previously serving as sales manager and reservations manager. Moreno has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry at such properties as the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, the former Kapalua Bay Hotel, the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort and the Encore, Las Vegas. • • • Intrawest Resorts Holdings named Craig Cohn its new president of real estate, effective Feb. 1. Cohn joined Intrawest after a 12-year career at Solaris Redevelopment Corp., based in Vail, Colo., where he was the director of real estate.

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