News Briefs, Week of March 31, 2014

Washington Monument to reopen in May

The Washington Monument will reopen on May 12, following a three-year, $15 million restoration. Public tours will begin at 1 p.m. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis that morning at the Washington Monument Lodge. The 555-foot obelisk was extensively damaged in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23, 2011, which caused chipping and cracking in the stone and mortar joints at the top of the monument. More than 800,000 visitors a year tour the marble-clad Washington Monument, which was completed in 1884.

Southwest maps out its Washington routes
Southwest filled out its dance card for Washington's Reagan National Airport, where it acquired 54 takeoff and landing slots from merger partners American and US Airways. New services starting Aug. 10 consist of six daily flights to Chicago Midway, three to Nashville and two to New Orleans. On Sept. 30 the carrier will add two flights to Tampa and three more to Midway, followed on Nov. 2 by new routes to Akron-Canton, Ohio; Dallas Love Field; and Indianapolis plus added frequencies to Houston Hobby and St. Louis. By year's end the carrier expects to be operating 44 daily flights at the airport, serving 14 destinations.

Air Canada goes west with Rouge leisure line
Air Canada is laying plans to extend its leisure unit, Air Canada Rouge, into the U.S. and Canadian west, serving leisure markets from Vancouver and Calgary, Alberta, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Anchorage. Air Canada flights in these markets will be rebranded between April and December, along with Toronto-San Diego services and existing service from Calgary and Toronto to Phoenix. Rouge, launched from Toronto and Montreal in mid-2013, operates on former Air Canada routes to leisure destinations in the U.S., Caribbean and Europe.

Saudi gets green light to serve Los Angeles
Saudi Arabian Airlines received clearance from the Transportation Department to open a new route to Los Angeles this week, with three weekly flights over a Los Angeles-Jeddah-Riyadh routing. The move marks the carrier's first expansion in the U.S. beyond the East Coast gateways of New York and Washington.

Disney to add fjords to 2015 itineraries
Disney Cruise Line will sail the Norwegian fjords for the first time next year on three cruises departing Copenhagen, Denmark, in June 2015. A seven-day cruise on the Disney Magic visits Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway. A nine-day version adds Molde and Olden, and an 11-day sailing to Dover will include the Faroe Islands and an overnight in Reykjavik. The summer line-up also includes the Mediterranean, Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Ritz-Carlton to return to Australia market
Ritz-Carlton plans to open a 204-room hotel in Perth, Australia, in 2018, marking the brand's return to Australia after the rebranding of the former Ritz-Carlton Double Bay in Sydney in 2001. The hotel, to be built near the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Elizabeth Quay, is part of a waterfront redevelopment project that will include residential apartments, retail and dining venues.

Nob Hill landmark sets reopening in May
The Huntington Hotel on San Francisco's Nob Hill will reopen in May as the Scarlet Huntington after a $15 million renovation. Singapore-based Grace International bought the 135-room hotel in 2011 and closed it in January to complete the upgrades.

Sheraton rebrands Santo Domingo hotel
Starwood rebranded the former Melia Santo Domingo as the Sheraton Santo Domingo, after a $12 million renovation. The 255-room oceanfront hotel features 13 meetings rooms, including a 5,300-square-foot grand salon.

Friends & Colleagues
The Walt Disney Travel Co. has named Kenneth Svendsen president. Svendsen is replacing Randy Garfield, who announced his retirement earlier this year. In addition to leading the Walt Disney Travel Co., Svendsen will serve as senior vice president of global sales and will be responsible for travel agency, group and convention, and consumer-direct sales for the domestic parks and resorts, including the Disney Vacation Club properties. Svendsen was an executive at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts from 2006 to 2009, most recently serving as senior vice president of worldwide travel operations and consumer-direct sales. Prior to returning to the Disney fold, Svendsen was Hilton Worldwide's global head of sales and reservations. • • • Thorsten Kirschke, president of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group's Americas region, will assume the role of president of the hotelier's Asia-Pacific region, as well. He replaces Simon Barlow, who stepped down "to pursue other opportunities," effective immediately, Carlson Rezidor said. Barlow had served in that position since late 2010. • • • Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group named former Ritz-Carlton executive Robert Warman its new CEO. Warman most recently served as president and COO of Capella Hotel Group and also held various executive positions at Ritz-Carlton in the 1980s and 1990s, including a role in soliciting the luxury hotel brand's sale to Marriott International in 1995. He succeeds retiring CEO Brett Butcher at Langham, which owns and manages 22 hotels globally. • • • Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has promoted Nancy Logan to vice president of sales and national accounts. Logan will lead Uniworld's sales and account operations in the U.S. and Canada. She joined Uniworld in 2007 as manager of national accounts and was promoted to vice president of national accounts in April 2012. • • • The new director of the Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Tourism Board is Rolando Miravete, most recently the general manager at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta. Miravete also held posts at Grand Velais Riviera Nayarit and Piramides Cancun Beach Resort.


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