News briefs, week of Dec. 12, 2016

Baha Mar will open by '18, Bahamas PM says

The Bahamas' Baha Mar beach resort will open its first phase by June and be finished by the end of 2017, more than two years after its originally scheduled completion date, Bahamas prime minister Perry Christie said. Baha Mar's primary lender, the China Export-Import Bank, will fund the construction, which is estimated to be about 97% complete. Hyatt Hotels, SLS and Rosewood all plan properties there.

Sandals to build more overwater suites
Sandals Resorts opened five overwater suites at the Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and has plans to build more at select resorts in 2017 and 2018. Sandals is already constructing 12 additional units at the Sandals Royal Caribbean, due to open next March. The overwater suites are the first of their kind on a Caribbean island. El Dorado Maroma, a Karisma resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, opened its overwater bungalows in October.

Celebrity to give agents cash back
Celebrity Cruises' new cash-back loyalty program, the Celebrity Rewards program, gives agents 500 points per booking on a spending card. Starting Jan. 1, every 2,500 points gives them $25 on the card. Bookings made in January and February on ChoiceAir will also earn 500 points. The program is open to agents in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.

Cunard will skip Turkey calls in 2017
Cunard Line will not stop in Turkey in 2017 because of ongoing security concerns. Turkish ports have been replaced with either Greek destinations or Sarande, Albania.

JFK terminal hotel will use TWA name

The hotel being built into the old TWA terminal designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen at New York JFK Airport will be called the TWA Hotel; it is slated to open by the end of 2018. JetBlue has a 5% stake in the 505-room hotel, expected to cost $265 million and include the restoration of the 54-year-old terminal with up to eight restaurants and bars, meetings space and an old Lockheed Constellation plane parked outside.

Princess guarantees best excursion prices
Princess Cruises will refund 110% of a shore excursion's price if a passenger finds an equivalent one for less. The line's best-price guarantee applies to excursions booked before sailing and only to competing excursions advertised with prices. Carnival Cruise Line has had such a program since 2014.

Etihad partnering with TUI on LCC
Etihad Airways purchased Air Berlin's 49.8% share in Austrian low-cost carrier Niki for $319 million. It plans to use it as the foundation for a leisure-focused airline group formed with European travel industry conglomerate TUI for travel from Swiss, German and Austrian markets to destinations such as the Canaries, mainland Greece and Spain and the Balearics, Etihad said.

Hilton reflags Bali cliffside hotel
Hilton reflagged the former Grand Nikko Bali, a cliffside resort above Nusa Dua Beach. The 389-room Hilton Bali has 19 villas with private plunge pools, four swimming pools, a 100-foot-high waterslide and six restaurants and bars, including Japanese and seafood restaurants.

Friends & Colleagues
Sabre Corp. has appointed Traci Mercer senior vice president of hotel, car, cruise and rail. Mercer's industry experience includes more than 10 years at Expedia Inc. in various leadership roles. Most recently, she was global vice president for online revenue and growth at Hootsuite Media. • • • The Lufthansa Group has chosen Tamur Goudarzi-Pour to be its vice president of sales for the Americas, effective Jan. 1. Goudarzi-Pour joined the Lufthansa Group in 1998 and since 2014 has served as vice president of sales in the Middle East and Africa for Lufthansa German Airlines. • • • Carl Pratt has been appointed vice president and general manager of the Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz. Pratt comes to Miraval with more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and wellness industries, most recently serving as an executive consultant for premium hotel, destination resort and health and wellness brands. Prior to that, he served as the president and general manager of the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, Mass. Pratt's resume also includes a stretch as general manager at the Hanover Inn at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. • • • John "Ned" Walker will become Delta's chief communications officer, effective Jan. 1, replacing Kevin Shinkle. Walker previously held the post from 2008 to 2014 and upon retiring continued as a senior adviser to the Delta executive team.


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