Πέμπτη, 27 Ιουλίου 2017

Davidson Hotels & Resorts announces the sale of the Iowa City Sheraton


Iowa City Sheraton

ATLANTA - Davidson Hotels & Resorts announces the transition in ownership of the Iowa City Sheraton, a property formerly owned by RockBridge and managed by Davidson for nearly 10 years. AJ Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, has acquired the property while retaining Davidson Hotels & Resorts as the management company.
The Iowa City Sheraton is conveniently located on Iowa City's Pedestrian Mall District which offers an eclectic mix of culture, arts, entertainment and dining options and only steps away from the University of Iowa, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The nine-story, 234-room hotel will undergo an expansive renovation in 2018, culminating with a relaunch to the Graduate Iowa City by summer 2018. Renovations will touch all aspects of the property including more than 13,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, as a well as guestrooms, restaurants, pool and the hotel lobby. Additionally, Graduate Hotels will bring a creative, contemporary, locally driven food and beverage program with the desire to cultivate relationships among hotel guests and locals. Upon conversion to a Graduate Hotel, the property will operate under Pivot Hotels & Resorts, Davidson's lifestyle and luxury operating division.
Graduate Hotels are synonymous with creating a unique environment for travelers, aiming to create lasting memories through adventure and exploration, and are part of a well-curated, thoughtfully crafted collection of hotels. Each property exudes dynamic energy, supporting its local community, as Graduate Hotels are located in university centric cities across the country.
"AJ Capital has created one of the most exciting new concepts in lodging with Graduate Hotels. We have operated in over ten university markets ourselves, so the combination of our experiences will be highly strategic as we grow together," said John Belden, president and CEO of Davidson. "We are thrilled to become part of the AJ Capital family and look forward to presenting the Iowa City community with an exciting new chapter for the hotel."
"It is with great pleasure that we announce the acquisition of the Sheraton Iowa City," says Tim Franzen, President of Graduate Hotels. "This acquisition exemplifies our strategy of investing in ideally located assets in multi-dimensional university-anchored markets. We look forward to expanding our footprint within the Big Ten Conference with Graduate Iowa City's opening next year. We look forward to growing with Pivot Hotels & Resorts as they've quickly established themselves as one of the most creative and innovative lifestyle managers in the industry."
Davidson Hotels & Resorts, and its lifestyle and luxury operating division, Pivot Hotels & Resorts, is one of the industry's preeminent hotel operators, specializing in branded and lifestyle full-service and upscale urban select-service hotels.
Davidson Hotels & Resorts Serves Up Michelle Engstrom As Corporate Director Of Venue Marketing & Programming For Pivot
Also, Davidson Hotels & Resorts introduce Michelle Engstrom as the new corporate director of venue marketing and programming for its lifestyle and luxury division, Pivot Hotels & Resorts. With dual reporting to Patricia Davis, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management and Caroline Dyal, vice president of operations, Engstrom will drive venue marketing and activation efforts for all Pivot hotel venues, while providing a consistent brand voice amping up venue marketing objectives to support overall venue strategy.
Engstrom joins Pivot with more than 10 years of venue marketing experience, most recently from SLS Las Vegas, where, during her tenure, she was the opening director of nightlife marketing before taking on the role of director of business affairs for nightlife, with venues including the The Foundry, Foxtail Nightclub & Pool and The Sayers Club. Following her start in the entertainment industry, Michelle developed an interest in event marketing, kicking off her career with Bolthouse Productions/SBE. Occupying a utility role at Bolthouse allowed Engstrom to gain extensive experience in venue marketing and promotions, entertainment relations and corporate red carpet events, which led to her next marketing role with the TAO Group in Las Vegas, overseeing efforts for TAO, LAVO, TAO Beach, and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub. Engstrom sees her new role as one that will not only impact brand awareness and community engagement but truly increase growth opportunities for Pivot Hotels & Resorts by creating partnerships that elevate and maximize potential of each venue from a branding and revenue perspective.
"We welcome Michelle's passion and drive to help create and promote our venues' unforgettable food and beverage experiences," said Albert Smith"The Pivot team believes inspiring food & beverage programming gives credibility and cache to travelers looking for unique experiences while staying at our hotels. Fresh, local ingredients in engaging settings is one of our signatures and our venue marketing role was created to help bring that to life by driving awareness, ensuring on-going programming to keep our venues relevant and help us establish partnerships we can leverage across the portfolio."
Davidson Hotels & Resorts, and its lifestyle and luxury operating division, Pivot Hotels & Resorts, is one of the industry's preeminent hotel operators, specializing in branded and lifestyle full-service and upscale urban select-service hotels.

Cobh gets nominated as top cruise destination by Tripadvisor’s Cruise Critic



Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Cobh gets nominated as top cruise destination by Tripadvisor Cruise Critic

As per Cobh, a small settlement in Ireland has won for the second consecutive time ‘Western Europe’s top cruise destination’ title respectively. The Cork stopover has been nominated as number two cruise destination in ‘British isles and Western Europe’, according to the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.
This award was given on the basis of reviews posted to CruiseCritic.com; named the best cruise destinations for 2017 across 15 regions worldwide.
In Western Europe, Amsterdam claimed the top spot jointly with Cobh defeating Lisbon, Guernsey’s St. Peter Port and Greenock (Glasgow) to maintain their second position respectively.
For 2017, Budapest was ranked overall best cruise destination whereas Dubrovnik and Villefranche took the Eastern and Western Mediterranean awards, respectively.
To much surprise, Dublin, the biggest cruise destination of Ireland did not feature in the list.
To quote Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager with the Port of Cork, “Obviously we’re delighted. This is hugely rewarding, because we’ve put a lot of time and effort into promoting the south of Ireland through Cork.”
If we look back, in the year 1912, Cobh was the last port of call in terms of RMS Titanic.
To quote McCarthy, “It’s not a big city, so people feel very comfortable. There’s time to stop and chat, and the passengers really appreciate that bit of Irish friendliness and banter.”
To quote jlmack70, one Cruise Critic member, “Love this port. This little town is amazing. We visited the Titanic museum, cathedral and a few gift shops. The people were warm and friendly and made me feel like I had lived there myself.”

Barcelona is the UK’s most searched holiday destination



chart

Growing trend in interest for European cities, with locations such as Reykjavik, Budapest, and Dubrovnik all becoming attractive locations to the public.
  • Interest for Magaluf and Amsterdam have fluctuated over the past four years
  • Long-haul destinations, including Bali and Cape Verde, are also on the rise
Barcelona tops the list as the UK’s most favoured holiday destination, with a massive 522,800 searches per month, new research has revealed.
This was closely followed by long-haul destinations Bali and Cape Verde, which are becoming increasingly popular amongst the UK public.
Conducted by UK cruise agent Bolsover Cruise Club, the research analysed over 50 locations around the world. Focusing on which holiday destinations the UK public were searching for, the study looked into which locations have been increasing and decreasing in popularity over the past four years.
It showed that UK travel enthusiasts might be searching for something a little different now than in previous years, with the search volumes of various destinations increasing drastically.
The top 5 destinations that saw the biggest increase in Google searches between 2013-2017 were:
1. Barcelona – 166,000- 552,000 (231% increase)
2. Bali – 47,900- 131,000 (179% increase)
3. Cape Verde – 94,100-230,000 (144% increase)
4. Budapest – 64,300-154,200 (140% increase)
5. Santorini – 59,600- 142,000 (138% increase)
On the other end of the scale, once popular winter get-away location Amsterdam appeared to take a hit, with a 15% decline over the years - this was the biggest decrease out of all the destinations that were examined.
This was followed by another previous favourite for the UK party-goer, with the Spanish resort Magaluf appearing to be a quieter clubbing scene than in previous years, with a 4% dip since 2013.
However, central and eastern European cities appeared to be on the radar of Brits up and down the country, with the following locations all seeing substantial rises over the past four years:
  • Budapest (140%)
  • Reykjavik (106%)
  • Dubrovnik (49%)
While Barcelona has remained in the top spot since 2013, the research has shown where the different peaks have been for other destinations:
  • In 2013, Malta had a high average monthly search volume (92,200)
  • During 2014, it was the Maldives taking peoples fancy, with an average of 93,800 monthly searches
  • 2015 was the year that saw Dubai rise in online interest, averaging 175,300 searches per month
  • One thing that is apparent, when comparing the beach locations against the city locations it’s most definitely the lure of clear blue sea and white sand which is proving to be the people’s choice.
Research was also broken down to highlight the favourites from five major UK cities, and revealed the following:
  • Manchester- 1st Barcelona, 2nd Amsterdam, 3rd Santorini
  • Leeds- 1st Barcelona, 2nd Budapest, 3rd Malta
  • Birmingham- 1st Barcelona, 2nd Amsterdam, 3rd Lanzarote
  • London- 1st Barcelona, 2nd Bali, 3rd Budapest
  • Cardiff- 1st Barcelona, 2nd Amsterdam, 3rd Cape Verde
Michael Wilson, Managing Director of Bolsover Cruise Club, said: “At Bolsover, we were keen to get an insight into where the UK public are wanting to travel to. We’re often aware of travel trends amongst our friends and family, but we wanted to see how these look on a larger scale.
“It appears that some of the UK’s typical getaway jaunts have paved the way for these vibrant cities with glorious beaches to match, signifying that some of the UK’s favourites might not be as appealing as they once were.
“Not only did we want to see which locations rose over the years, but also which destinations did the opposite and started declining. We didn’t expect Barcelona to receive as many searches per month as it did, but it’s clear that with its beach close to the city centre people are wanting the best of both worlds.
“The research reflects the changing trends for UK travellers and proves that people are always looking for new places to visit. It is interesting to think that a go-to destination one year could be a ghost town the next”.

Lufthansa is expanding its European network this winter



Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Lufthansa is expanding its European network this winter

Lufthansa is launching seven new winter destinations starting at the end of October: Pamplona, Genoa, Bari and Catania are the new destinations available from Frankfurt. The offer from Munich will be extended to include Nantes, Glasgow and Santiago de Compostela as further attractive city connections. 
Pamplona is on the Lufthansa flight schedule for the first time ever. From 6 November onwards, the city in northern Spain will be connected with four weekly flights from Frankfurt. Furthermore, Genoa, Bari and Catania will be new winter destinations available from Frankfurt. Lufthansa customers can reach all three Italian cities up to three times per week. The flights depart from 29 October and expand on the services already offered from Munich.
Due to high demand, Lufthansa will also fly to Nantes, Glasgow and Santiago de Compostela from Munich for the first time in winter.  There are daily flights to Nantes in western France, with flights to Glasgow four times a week. The Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela is on the flight schedule every Sunday and thus expands the services on offer from Frankfurt. 
The new winter destinations are now available to book. For more information and to book Lufthansa flights, go to LH.com or call the Lufthansa Service Center on +49 (0) 69 86 799 799 (fixed line rate). Flights can also be booked at Lufthansa travel agency partners.
The new connections at a glance
  • Frankfurt – Pamplona (PNA). Four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday) from 6 November 2017
  • Frankfurt - Genoa (GOA). Three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) from 29 October 2017)
  • Frankfurt – Bari (BRI). Three times a week (Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 29 October 2017)
  • Frankfurt – Catania (CTA). Twice a week (Wednesday and Sunday from 29 October 2017)  
  • Munich – Glasgow (GLA). Four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday from 29 October 2017)
  • Munich – Nantes (NTE). Once a day (from 29 October 2017)  
  • Munich – Santiago de Compostela (SCQ). Once a week (Sundays from 29 October 2017) 

Rwanda all set to draw wealthy visitors to boost tourism



Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Rwanda all set to draw wealthy visitors to boost tourism

Recently, Hernaldo Zuniga, Nicaraguan singer accompanies his whole family to trekking through the thick forests and misty volcanoes based in northwestern Rwanda. They were actually in search of mountain gorillas in this journey.
He narrated his experience and depicted their meet with the critically endangered primates as “an almost spiritual”. They further illustrated that it was one of the main reasons of stopping at Rwanda on a safari trip to Kenya, and a tour of South Africa.
However, Rwanda is no more satisfied in being a whirlwind stop for any travelers’ itinerary. At present, the country is working hard to expand its world appeal beyond its famous gorillas and tapering its niche market to the wealthy of visitors across the globe.
Zuniga considers himself to be lucky that his family secured the permits to witness the gorillas from close proximity before it becomes double the cost to $1,500 (1,300 euros) per person in May.
“I think that is going to be a drawback for many people. It is just going to be an elite group of people who can pay that,” said Zuniga, a famous star in Latin America. This increase in price for the government of Rwanda is a careful strategy to improve initiations of conservation at the same time placing itself as a luxury tourist destination.
To quote Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, “The idea behind (the increase) is that it is an exclusive experience which also needs to be limited in numbers. Our tourism is very much based on natural resources and we are very serious about conservation.”

Airports to charge more for US airline tickets



Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Airports to charge more for US airline tickets

According to advocacy groups, the latest Senate Appropriation Bill introduced will increase the cap on the airport passenger facility charge (PFC) from $4.50 per flight to $8.50.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the bill on Thursday. The $60 billion FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriation Act passed out of subcommittee on Tuesday.

The bill is still not declared on congressional website but the trade group Airlines for America (A4A) mentioned that the “airport sources” say that the PFC cap will be raised to $8.50.

The bill intends to provide greater flexibility for airports to make necessary improvements.

The proposal to increase the PFC cap was lauded by the Airports Council International- North America (ACI-NA) and the US Travel Association. It further mentioned that the increases will cater to the needs of rehabilitation projects and with growth in passenger and cargo traffic. The US airports require $100 billion in infrastructure work in the coming five years, the organisation mentioned.

The proposal was opposed by A4A that it was akin to the tax increase on US travellers of $3.2 billion and the airports are full of cash.

THUD would increase 2018 fiscal year funding for the FAA by $563 million up from the enacted 2017 level of $16.33 billion as per the Senate appropriation.
It will provide $1.1 billion for implementation of the NextGen GPS-based air traffic control (ATC) system. The privitaization of ATC is rejected and is under consideration in the House and President Donald Trump supported it.

The last PFC cap was raised by Congress and was assessed at the discretion of individual airports in the year 2000.

Malaysia’s cruise tourism shows growing trend


Αποτέλεσμα εικόνας για Malaysia’s cruise tourism shows growing trend

Brand new super luxury passenger vessel, Majestic Princess, made her maiden call at the Boustead Cruise Centre, Port Klang, bringing some 3,560 passengers from 41 countries and 1,350 crew members to Malaysian shores.

The cruise ship was on its “Silk Road Sea Route,” a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage, she visited a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China, in July. In Malaysia, she berthed at Port Klang and Penang.

Over the last few years, Malaysia has seen an encouraging number of cruise ships calling at the various country’s ports. In fact, Malaysia has welcomed guests on Cunard Line’s ultra-luxury Queen Mary II and Queen Victoria ocean liners, the UK’s Arcadia cruise liners, as well as passenger vessels such as Costa Allegra, Diamond Princess, Pacific Sun and Europa, among others.

Between January and May 2017, a total of 253 international cruise ships called at the country’s 11 ports indicating an increase of 9.48% compared to the same period in 2016. For the same period, the country received 405,554 cruise passengers compared to 330,473 passengers, signifying an increase of 18.51%.

Affordable exchange rates, modern infrastructure and facilities, warm weather, friendly people, a politically stable government, and numerous tourist attractions that are easily accessible from the ports make Malaysia the ideal stopover for cruise line operators.

Malaysia’s cruise terminals such as Langkawi, Penang, Port Klang and Melaka are located close to local attractions, offering cruise passengers the experience of a big-city atmosphere and easy access to ecotourism attractions, beaches, authentic culture and exotic cuisine. Food is a major attraction in Penang and passengers can not only sample the famous variety of cuisine but also enjoy cooking lessons during shore excursions. Meanwhile, the Kota Kinabalu port in Borneo is a gateway to the natural beauties of the rainforest and orangutan watching which are popular among many segments of the cruise market.

Meanwhile Malaysian ports are fully-equipped with extensive and state-of-the-art facilities, offering convenient berthing spots for cruise ships from all over the world.

It’s all part of the Malaysian Government’s recognition of tourism as a key economic area for the country’s growth, with cruise tourism being one of 12 focus areas for development over the next eight years.

Already, initiatives have been put in place – the government has set up the Malaysia Cruise Council (MCC), which is the governing body over all the major ports in Malaysia. The MCC is made up of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Ministry of Transport, and various representatives from the public and private sectors, and is the single body that coordinates efforts towards making Malaysia a cruise-friendly destination.

Another initiative to capitalise on a growing international cruise passenger market is the development of a Straits Riviera “cruise playground” comprising six primary ports and other secondary ports in Malaysia.

ASEAN member states have also recognised the potential of cruise as a driver of tourism growth for the region. At this year’s ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore, ASEAN Ministers came to an agreement to develop cruise tourism in the region, and committed to develop a Joint Declaration on Cruise Tourism that would set out principles to spur port and destination development in the region.

Globally, in the past ten years, the cruise passenger market has grown at an average of 14% annually. By 2035, 4.5 million cruise passengers are expected to sail through Southeast Asia.