China site chosen for Atlantis resort
Kerzner International has chosen Hainan Island as the site for its first Atlantis resort in China. The 1,300-room resort will overlook Haitang Bay, located in Sanya on the island's southern tip. To be developed by Fosun International, the resort will total 153 acres and include a water park. Construction is set to begin by the end of the year, with an opening slated for 2016. Kerzner has Atlantis resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai.
Bermuda considers a larger cruise port
Bermuda may build a larger cruise terminal in St. George's to accommodate bigger ships. Tourism and Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell said in the House of Assembly that he is in conversations with the cruise industry about options for a cruise pier in St. George's. King's Wharf is the primary Bermuda destination for megaships. Bermuda will get an estimated 343,000 cruise passengers this year. To grow that number significantly, a new terminal will be needed, Crockwell told the Royal Gazette newspaper.
Etihad adds nonstop to Los Angeles
Etihad Airways will begin nonstop, daily service between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles on June 1, pending regulatory approval. It will be the fourth U.S. gateway for Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates. Etihad flies to New York Kennedy, Chicago O'Hare and Washington Dulles. The airline will use a 237-passenger Boeing 777-200LR on the Los Angeles route.
Norwegian to name ships Bliss, Escape
In a Facebook vote, fans have chosen names for Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Plus ships: the Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Escape. The two 163,000-ton, 4,200-passenger ships are scheduled for delivery in 2015 and 2017. It isn't clear which one will carry which name. More than 100,000 votes from five countries were received in the contest.
Breezes Bahamas completes a refit
In preparation for the winter season, Breezes Bahamas in Nassau completed a refurbishment of its 391 guestrooms and suites, updated the lobby/entertainment area and added free in-room and propertywide WiFi.
Mexico arrivals up 8.5% through Aug.
International air arrivals to Mexico grew 8.5% from January through August this year, compared with the same period in 2012, according to statistics released by the country's secretary of tourism. Through Aug. 31, 8.1 million foreign visitors arrived by air, compared with 7.5 million in 2012. August air arrivals jumped 12.1% compared with numbers in August 2012.
Luxury hotel opens in Texas mansion
The 48-room, luxury Ella Hotel has opened in Austin, Texas, in what had been the Goodall Wooten Mansion. The mansion was built in 1900 and since has served in various guises, including as a University of Texas dormitory.
Friends & Colleagues
Benchmark Hospitality International founder Burt Cabanas is stepping down as CEO of the resort management company and will be succeeded by son Alex Cabanas in November. Alex Cabanas has been with the company since 2006, previously serving, among other roles, as president of business development and finance. Founded by Burt Cabanas in 1980, Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality oversees 40 properties, including Orlando's Villas of Grand Cypress, the Snow King Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Seattle's Sorrento Hotel. • • • Pleasant Holidays appointed Robyn Traub destination marketing manager, Caribbean and Latin America. Traub previously was with the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau; served as project manager for Chicago Plus, a marketing company, and worked with the International Kitchen, a niche operator specializing in culinary travel. • • • Paul Pusateri has been named COO of Baha Mar, the 2,200-room, four-hotel, $3.5 billion destination gaming resort complex in Nassau that is slated to open next December. Pusateri, former COO of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, also will serve as general manager of the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the project's 1,000-room anchor property. He has spent 20 years in hospitality in Las Vegas, serving as president of the Palms Casino Resort and Palms Palace and as senior vice president of the Venetian and the Palazzo resorts on the Strip. • • • Mia Kyricos is the new chief brand officer for SpaFinder Wellness, a spa and wellness marketing company. Prior to her appointment to this newly created post, Kyricos was president of Kyricos & Associates, strategic advisors to the global spa, wellness and hospitality industries.