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UPDATE 1-Catalonia plans $6 bln tourist complex
Spain's heavily-indebted Catalonia region on Friday gave the green light for a 4.8 billion euros ($6.06 billion) hotel, mall and casino complex near Barcelona aimed at building on growth in tourism. Details of the project were scarce but the regional government, anxious to tap into a rare growth sector in Spain's struggling economy, said it would run "Barcelona World" in conjunction with La Caixa bank. The Catalan government, which lost out to Madrid in a battle to host a large casino complex being planned by Las Vegas Sands Corp, set a target date of 2016 for the completion of the project which it said would create 20,000 jobs. One in four workers in Spain is without a job. The Catalan government said "Barcelona World", to be built near the theme park of Port Aventura in Tarragona, would be 20 percent financed by real estate company Veremonte with the rest coming from unnamed investors such as hotel and construction groups. The tourism project would consist of six themed areas centred around Europe, the United States, China, Russia, Brazil and India. The regional government, which last week applied for just over 5 billion euros in state funding, said the complex would include hotels, shopping malls, casinos, and office space as well as tourist attractions but gave little detail. Catalonia is the most visited region in Spain, with close to 14 million people tourists last year. Official data showed visitor numbers increased to July by 2 percent on the same period a year ago.
With the opening of the ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan, Accor now operates over 100,000 rooms in the region.
“The Asia Pacific region is one of Accor’s strategic growth markets, and I congratulate the regional team and our partners on passing the key milestone of 100,000 rooms in the region,” said Denis Hennequin, Accor’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Asia Pacific presents tremendous opportunities for expansion, given the region’s dynamic economic development and rapidly growing middle class leading to many more people travelling today than ever before. We are committed to offering our customers more choice in consistently high quality accommodation in the region.” Accor Asia Pacific Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Michael Issenberg said, “Today, Accor operates 536 hotels in 16 countries in Asia Pacific and is the market leader in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam. I am proud to announce that Accor’s network has grown beyond 100,000 rooms in Asia Pacific, with the opening of ibis Hong Kong Central and Sheung Wan. It is only fitting that we celebrate this milestone at this stylish hotel, which represents a new flagship for the ibis brand in the region and emphasizes our commitment to offering our customers an exceptional economy hotel product.” Today, Accor operates 179 ibis brand family hotels in Asia Pacific, including 113 ibis, 42 ibis Styles and 24 ibis budget properties.
Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Benchmark Hospitality International Names Kirsten Andresen Regional Director of Public Relations ~ Northwest Collection. Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading US-based hospitality management company, has appointed Kirsten Andresen regional director of public relations for the company’s Northwest Collection of luxury properties. Ms. Andresen will be responsible for and oversee the public relations programming for Benchmark’s Seattle-based Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels, including Hotel 1000, Sorrento Hotel and Willows Lodge. John Davies, vice president marketing, made the announcement. “It is with pleasure that I welcome Kirsten to Benchmark Hospitality International,” said Mr. Davies. “She has produced outstanding results for our luxury properties in the Seattle market over the past years, and is a terrific addition to our company’s growing public relations programming.” Most recently, Kirsten Andresen was account director at GreenRubino, an integrated marketing firm based in Seattle, at which she spearheaded efforts in the public relations department. In this role, Ms. Andresen was highly successful in managing the press relations programming for Hotel 1000, Sorrento Hotel and Willows Lodge, as well as numerous other hotels, resorts and travel destinations that were clients of the firm. Previous to this, Ms. Andresen was a Principal in the firm, Bell + Company Public Relations, based in Seattle. In her 15-year career in the communications industry, she has worked for a variety of public relations firms, ranging from small regional companies to a signature global agency, and with an array of clients within the hospitality industry.
Cliff Atkinson has been appointed as General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, and Adriaan Radder as General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. Cliff Atkinson joins Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas from the group’s property in San Francisco, where, as General Manager, he oversaw the successful execution of a complete renovation to the hotel in May 2012. A veteran hotelier with 20 years of experience, Mr Atkinson first joined Mandarin Oriental in 1998 as Director of Revenue Management at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco and was later promoted to Corporate Director of Revenue Management. In 2003, he joined the opening team at Mandarin Oriental, New York as Executive Assistant Manager. Mr Atkinson also held roles as General Manager at Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel in New York and Ralph Burnet’s Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Adriaan Radder joins Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC from The Ballantyne Hotel in North Carolina, where he served as General Manager.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Hilton Worldwide signed a franchise agreement with GLP Hotels for a 154-key conversion project to be known as Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residence in Noumea, New Caledonia. The property, currently the La Promenade, opened in 2008 and will undergo a refurbishment before officially opening under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts banner in mid 2013. This will be the first Hilton Hotels & Resorts branded property in Noumea, and is located on popular Anse Vata Beach. "Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residence is a wonderful addition to our growing portfolio in Australasia,” said Robert Scullin, vice president, development, Australasia, Hilton Worldwide, “joining our three existing properties in the South Pacific -- Fiji Beach Resort & Spa managed by Hilton, Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa and Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa in French Polynesia." Hilton Worldwide currently has a portfolio of 15 hotels in Australasia, including eight properties in Australia, four in New Zealand and three in the South Pacific. The three-tower Hilton Noumea La Promenade Residence has uninterrupted water views from every room. The hotel will feature 154 keys, including 21 Junior Suites, 68 Deluxe Suites, 20 Executive Suites and 45 Royal Suites, as well as a restaurant, bar, health club and outdoor swimming pool.
Marriott International executive chairman J.W. Marriott Jr., and championship golfer Arnold Palmer helped open the 109-suite SpringHill Suites Pittsburgh Latrobe hotel here in Palmer's hometown, 40 miles from Pittsburgh. The new-build hotel is a joint venture between Palmer Hospitality, LP. and Concord Hospitality Enterprises Co. and private investor Keith McGraw. Raleigh, NC-based Concord Hospitality developed and will operate the hotel. Guests at the hotel are able to golf at Palmer's Latrobe Country Club, a members-only golf club located less than a mile from the hotel, where Palmer (left in the photo) learned to play. The hotel is decorated with numerous examples of Palmer's personal memorabilia collection. Launched in 1998, SpringHill Suites by Marriott, a mid-priced, all suite hotel concept, currently has nearly 300 hotels open in the U.S. and Canada. Another 75 are in the advanced planning stage or in construction.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., the leader in luxury hospitality, has announced the brand’s first hotel in Tunisia. The Ritz-Carlton Tunis, Carthage is owned by Companie Tunisienne de Development Touristique (CTDT), a subsidiary of the Driss-Jenayah Group, and a pioneer group in hospitality. Located in Carthage-Sidi Bou Said, a suburb of Tunisia’s capital city Tunis, the 129-suites resort is projected to open in late 2014. With interiors designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), the hotel will offer seven food and beverage outlets, an expansive ballroom and destination spa. Ideally situated on the Mediterranean Sea, “We are honored to have been selected by Companie Tunisienne de Development Touristique to manage this incredible property,” said Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. “We believe this stunning destination with its rich history and diverse culture will offer our discerning guests a unique and exciting new location to explore when it opens late 2014.” Mr. Omar Jenayah, Chief Executive Officer of Companie Tunisienne de Development Touristique, said “We are delighted to partner with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in its first endeavour into Tunisia. The long and storied legacy of The Ritz-Carlton is well-suited to Tunisia’s own historical heritage.”
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