News briefs, week of Oct. 24, 2016

American debuts Premium Economy

American Airlines will debut international Premium Economy service between Dallas and Sao Paulo on Nov. 3, the first premium economy-fare class by a U.S. airline. American's service, on reconfigured Boeing 787-9s, will offer seats that are wider and have six inches more legroom than in coach, priority boarding, two free checked bags, upgraded meals, amenity kits and complimentary alcohol.

Greece to get its first Marriott since 2013
The Metropolitan Hotel Athens will become the Athens Marriott after a $15 million renovation is completed in 2018. Marriott hasn't had a hotel in Greece since 2013, when the Athens Ledra stopped operating as a Marriott after an expired contract wasn't renewed. The Metropolitan, built in 1976, is near the city's waterfront and across from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center.

Tourists tone it down after Thai king's death
Visitors to Thailand were advised to dress and act respectfully during a monthlong mourning period in Thailand after the Oct. 13 death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Most tourist attractions are open as usual but entertainment venues were asked to not host boisterous shows.

Trafalgar's CostSaver line launches in U.S.
CostSaver added North American destinations for 2017, a first for Trafalgar's lower-priced brand, which it says has so far experienced double-digit growth in 2016. CostSaver will offer 14 tours in the U.S., Mexico and Canada in 2017, including New York, national parks and a cross-country U.S. tour.

Carnival to expand its Long Beach terminal
Carnival Cruise Line will nearly triple the size of its Long Beach, Calif., terminal to 142,000 square feet, enabling larger ships to use the port and making it one of the line's largest homeports. Construction is slated to be completed in late 2017. The Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Imagination operate Baja peninsula cruises year-round from Long Beach, and the Carnival Miracle sails to the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and Alaska from the port.  

Silversea to debut eateries on new ship
Silversea Cruises will debut four restaurants on the 596-passenger Silver Muse, arriving next spring: La Dame, a French restaurant; Kabuki, a Japanese eatery; pan-Asian Indochine; and Silver Note, a jazz club with tapas-style dishes. La Dame's menu, created by Relais & Chateaux, will feature ingredients locally sourced where the ship is sailing and wine pairings.

Marriott and Sabre team on booking tool
Marriott International launched the booking tool for wholesalers, destination marketing companies and tour operators, through a partnership with Sabre Hospitality Solutions. Through the Sabre-powered website, wholesalers can access hotel rates for vacation packages. All bookings are instantly confirmed online.

Viking to award $1M to one travel agent

Viking Cruises plans to award an agent $1 million in April. Agents get one entry in the sweepstakes for every qualified Viking ocean or river cruise booking they make before March 31.

Friends & Colleagues
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours named Joni Rein vice president of U.S. sales and marketing. The Australian company, parent of river cruise lines Scenic and Emerald Waterways, also hired Christine Sustreanu to be managing director of global river cruise operations for the lines. Rein most recently served as vice president of worldwide sales for Carnival Cruise Line. She has held executive positions in sales, marketing and business development at Costa Cruises, Renaissance Cruises and Certified Tours. Sustreanu previously held positions at Grand Circle Cruise Line and served as the managing director of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection in 2004. • • • Loews Hotels & Resorts chairman Jonathan Tisch will resume his role as the luxury hotel operator's CEO, as Kirk Kinsell has resigned for "personal reasons," the company said. Tisch stepped down as CEO in 2012 and was replaced by Paul Whetsell, who is currently Loews Hotels' vice chairman. Kinsell joined Loews last year as its CEO after serving as president of InterContinental Hotels Group's Americas region. Kinsell spent 19 years at IHG. • • • Travel Leaders Group, No. 9 on the 2016 Travel Weekly Power List, has appointed Shoeb Ansari as chief information officer. Ansari will take the place of Dave Zitur when he steps down at the end of the year. Ansari has previously held positions at PR Newswire, where Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko had previously recruited him to be the global chief information officer, as well as at RealPage, Microsoft and Thomson Reuters. • • • Alfred de Cardenas has been named the chief commercial officer of Sabre Corp.'s Travel Network. The Travel Network includes Sabre's GDS and Traveler Experience businesses. De Cardenas was previously president of global sales and customer service for Syniverse Technologies and had also acted as that company's COO and general manager in the Americas. Previously, he was the senior vice president of global operations at telecommunications firm Nortel Networks. At Sabre, he will lead global sales, sales operations and business development initiatives, based at Sabre headquarters in Southlake, Texas.


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