News Briefs, Week of Oct. 19, 2015

Fire closes two Iberostar resorts


The Iberostar Tucan and Iberostar Quetzal in Playacar, Mexico, are closed until further notice after being damaged by fire on Oct. 10. No injuries were reported, and all guests were relocated to the Iberostar Paraiso properties, also in the Riviera Maya. The fire affected the lobby, restaurants and theater, but no guestrooms.

Royal Caribbean to debut new water slide
Royal Caribbean International will put the Tidal Wave, described as the first "boomerang style" slide at sea, on the 3,634-passenger Liberty of the Seas during a February renovation. Featuring a steep drop that propels riders up a near-vertical wall for a moment of weightlessness and into free fall, it joins a collection of water slides called the Perfect Storm, featuring two racer slides, Cyclone and Typhoon.

Mexico City's first Ritz to open in 2019
The Ritz-Carlton Mexico City, scheduled to open in 2019, would be the luxury brand's first hotel in Mexico's capital city. The 153-room hotel will occupy floors 36 to 47 of the 58-floor Chapultepec Uno skyscraper in the city's financial center and will have a Club Lounge and spa.

Regent Seven Seas to offer WiFi free for all
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer free unlimited Internet service to all guests on its ships beginning with winter 2016-17 cruises. Unlimited Internet is currently free in top suite categories;, while other guests get 200 free minutes or more based on cruise length.

Southwest opens concourse at Hobby
Southwest Airlines opened a five-gate, $156 million terminal international concourse at Houston Hobby Airport, financed by the airline. It also houses Hobby's first customs facility as well as a Southwest ticket counter. The airline began service from Houston to Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Belize City and San Jose, Costa Rica, on Oct. 15.

Low fuel costs push Delta to profit
Delta reported income of $1.3 billion during the third quarter, up from $357 million a year earlier, as low fuel prices offset a decline in ticket prices and operating revenue. Capacity increased by 3% and revenue passenger miles by 4%, but the average per-mile price of airfare dropped 3%, and revenue per available seat mile dropped nearly 5%.

Rome's Spanish Steps closed for restoration
Rome's famed Spanish Steps closed to the public this month for a restoration project funded by luxury jeweler Bulgari, which is expected to last through spring. The 18th-century, Baroque-style stairway, which has 144 steps, was last restored in 1995. Rome officials cited heavy foot traffic as the reason for the deterioration.

US Airways flies final flight, livery lives
US Airways was to make its final flight last week with the completion of the carrier's merger with American Airlines. But planes stamped with the US Airways emblem will soar the skies for another few months. According to American, about half of US Airways' mainline fleet has been repainted with the American livery, and the remainder will be finished by mid-2016.

Friends & Colleagues
Maurice Zarmati has been engaged to consult for Carnival Corp.'s new social-impact brand, Fathom. Zarmati was the longtime vice president of sales for Carnival Cruise Line and was later CEO of Costa North America. • • • Travel Leaders Group has named Erick Rodriguez senior vice president of hotels. Rodriguez joins Travel Leaders Group from his role as founder and CEO of Happy Bookings, an online travel and technology company. • • • TripAdvisor has tapped Ernst Teunissen as the company's CFO. Teunissen, who has served as CFO of Vistaprint parent Cimpress NV since 2009, will officially take the job on Nov. 9. He will succeed Julie Bradley, who resigned in August. • • • Pleasant Holidays has named Jose Ruiz destination marketing manager, Mexico, for the Pleasant Holidays and Journese brands. Ruiz joined the company in 2013. • • • Alaskan Dream Cruises hired Alaska tourism veteran Michelle Glass as its vice president of sales.  Glass has spent nearly a quarter century in the tourism business in Alaska, most recently with Entree Alaska. • • • The Debut Hotel Group and Hampshire Hotels Management tapped David Kuperberg to serve as chief development officer for its lifestyle brands: Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, Night Hotels, Augustus Hotels and Resorts and Unscripted Hotels. Kuperberg has been working with the company since April 2013. Prior to that, he held roles with Virgin Hotels and Wyndham Worldwide.

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