News Briefs, Week of Sept. 17, 2012

Frontier restricts agent functions

Frontier Airlines has made its website the only distribution channel where passengers can get a seat assignment. Also, travelers who book the lowest economy fare at now pay a $50 fee if they need to change their reservation, vs. $100 if they book through travel agencies. Website users also pay lower fees for unaccompanied minors and pets in the cabin and earn twice as many miles as those who use travel agencies and online travel agencies. Frontier's website continues to be the only outlet for the carrier's Classic and Classic Plus fares.

Queen Victoria needs pod repair
Cunard scratched the Queen Victoria's Oct. 3 Mediterranean cruise from Southampton, England, because of a faulty propulsion pod that requires a visit to a drydock in Germany. Passengers were offered refunds or an alternate cruise plus a 15% credit on a future sailing. The next scheduled departure is an Oct. 19 cruise from Southampton to the Caribbean.

AMResorts brands come to Cozumel
AMResorts is gearing up to introduce its all-inclusive Secrets and Sunscape brands in Cozumel. The company will assume sales, marketing and management duties at four resorts where renovations are under way. Sabor Cozumel Exclusive and Aura Cozumel will be combined as the 174-room Secrets Aura Cozumel, opening in December. Sabor Cozumel Resort & Spa and Regency Cozumel will be combined to become the 330-room Sunscape Sabor Cozumel, opening in mid-January.

Ritz-Carlton eyes Tunisia for 2014
Tunisia's first hotel under Marriott's Ritz-Carlton badge will open in late 2014. The Ritz-Carlton Tunis, Carthage, will include 129 rooms as well as seven restaurants and bars. The beachfront hotel will be built next to the Presidential Palace in Tunis' Carthage-Sidi Bou Said district, under an agreement with developer Driss-Jenayah Group.

W hotel coming to Panama City
W Hotels plans to make its Central American debut in Panama City in 2016 with the opening of the W Panama. The 203-room hotel will be housed in the 50-story Evolution Tower, a mixed-use building in the city's financial district. Facilities will include two restaurants, a nightclub, pool, spa, workout center and nearly 22,000 square feet of function space.

Ramada Encore opens in Mexico
Wyndham Hotel Group opened the Ramada Encore Guadalajara hotel, its 100th property in Latin America. The 130-room Encore, located close to the Exposition Guadalajara Convention Center, features a public area called the Hub, the Encore brand's signature multipurpose lounge space.

Andaz reflags Napa property
Hyatt brought its Andaz lifestyle brand to Northern California by rebranding the former Avia Napa. The 141-room hotel in downtown Napa, which opened in 2009, is one of four Avia hotels that Hyatt earmarked for conversion through its acquisition of LodgeWorks last year.

Big plans at Turks and Caicos airport
A $10 million redevelopment of passenger facilities at Providenciales Airport in the Turks and Caicos will almost double the size of the existing terminal. The expansion will include larger check-in counter areas, self-check-in facilities, larger retail space and extensions of the departure lounge, international arrivals hall and domestic departures and arrivals areas. Work is slated to begin later this year, with completion scheduled for 2014.

Friends & Colleagues

Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, has been appointed to the board of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which does business as Brand USA, the U.S tourism marketing organization. In addition to Sorenson's appointment, three other board members were reappointed: Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California; George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company; and Roy Yamaguchi, owner of Roy's Restaurants. • • • Travel Leaders Franchise Group has promoted Darla Chartier to vice president. She will oversee its industry relationships with airline partners, GDSs and car rentals, as well as its Meetings and Support Services departments, retaining many of the responsibilities she had in her previous position as director. Chartier began her career with the company 25 years ago as a senior accounting clerk. • • • Former Royal Caribbean International marketing chief Betsy O'Rourke has joined Xanterra Parks & Resorts as its head of sales and marketing. Xanterra is the largest concessionaire to the U.S. national parks and also operates Windstar cruises. O'Rourke ran marketing and communications for Wyndham Worldwide for two years before joining Royal Caribbean in 2009. • • • The Acapulco Destination Marketing Office appointed Ruben Reyes Ramirez as executive director. Reyes formerly served as executive director of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Visitors Bureau. Prior to that, he headed the Veracruz Convention & Visitors Bureau.


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