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Monthly Archives: September 2005

Hyatt Place – Hyatt;s answer to upscale technology in Hotel Rooms

Hyatt’s recent purchase of AmeriSuites has allowed them to test a new concept in hotel rooms. The new Hyatt Place properties will feature rooms 25% larger than the normal sized hotel room. It will feature 42” plasma televisions, high speed internet, and and upscale environment.

Press Release:

CHICAGO, IL — (MARKET WIRE) — 09/28/2005 — Hyatt Place, Global Hyatt Corporation’s new entry into the select service segment, is releasing more details and unveiling the first prototype guest room featuring the exciting design elements of the new product. The first prototype is at AmeriSuites in Scottsdale, AZ, with additional model rooms to follow in Lombard, IL (outside Chicago), Atlanta, GA and Dallas, TX.

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Virgin Island Summer Travel Down dute to Reduced Cruise Ship traffic

The decision to redeploy Cruise ships to Asia from the Caribbean has reduced the volume of cruise passengers by 25% in the Virgin Islands and most noticeably St. Thomas. Overall airplane traffic remained steady for the summer, and the hotels are showing an occupancy for St. Thomas and St. John at 73%, great numbers for the off season.

The biggest increase in travelers is from Europe as they are taking advantage of the weak US dollar.

via Travel Weekly

Talk About a Delay

This is a horrible situation, but unfortunately with union rules and circumstances, terrible delays like this can occur.

via Online Travel Review:

Have you been stuck on a delayed flight lately?  Were you annoyed?  Well, you got nothing compared to the poor schmucks flying on last Thursdays flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo.  The passengers endured a, get this, 43 hour delay because of crew and mechanical problems.  To add insult to injury, the normally nonstop flight had to stop in Anchorage to refuel.  Northwest gave passengers food & lodging, as well as $700 travel vouchers.  That wouldn’t make me feel any better.

Aloha Air Buyout Approved By Bankruptcy Judge

Since filing for bankruptcy on December 30th last year, the future of Aloha Airlines has been in question. Well, it looks like a billionaire and a football star may be the saviors of this airline.

The USA Today reports:

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved Aloha Airlines’ plan to be bought out by California billionaire Ron Burkle and former pro football star Willie Gault.

But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris also left room for a group led by former Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Bruce Nobles to submit a competing bid.

Last week, Aloha said two California investment companies headed by supermarket chain owner Burkle and Gault would invest more than $100 million in the airline.

The deal would allow Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. LLC and Gault’s Aloha Aviation Investment Group LLC to acquire a majority stake in the airline and enable Aloha to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year.

However, private-equity firm Perseus LLC, teaming with Nobles, proposed to Faris that it be allowed to buy Aloha’s assets out of bankruptcy for $120 million rather than take the carrier through reorganization.

Under the Perseus proposal, Nobles would become the chief executive officer and replace Aloha’s CEO, David Banmiller.

 

George Bushes Call for Conservation Has Some Tourist Destinations Nervous

There is fear out there by the areas of the country are concerned about President Bushes call for fuel conservation. Locations from Maine to Michigan to Myrtle Beach are fearful that the high price and difficulty getting fuel will hurt their prospects for tourism.

So the dream that a Republican President could call for conservation has led to a huge outcry by the NIMBY crowd. States like Maine that have opposed any business that is not green, now is in a panic.

The Kennebec Journal is nervous, as the state of Maine loses all of the manufacturing and professional business, they are so reliant on tourism to support the state, they are getting nervous. Even their license plates have changed from the pine tree state to vacationland.

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India Launches New Campaign “Inclredible India”

India’s Union Ministry of Tourism has launched a new campaign to promote travel in India. The Incredible India campaign will feature a sightseeing package produced with Microsoft, and branding on Air India Jets.

From The Hindu:

New Delhi, Sept. 28 (UNI): India on Tuesday launched a slew of new initiatives on the occasion of World Tourism Day to give further momentum to the booming “Incredible India” campaign which targets five million foreign tourist arrival next year.

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Las Vegas Hotel on the Sea. Royal Carribean Comes out with the “Freedom of the Seas”

Shp_freedom_rend_img_151Imagine having a boat that can hold 4000 people, with rock climbing walls, a surfing pool, and an ice rink. Well we have found it with the new “Freedom of the Sea” from Royal Caribbean International. This 1,100 foot long vessel will have its first departure on June 4th, 2006 and is planned to sail from Miami to the Western Caribbean.

From the LA Times:

The ship will have more of everything: shopping, pools, restaurants and entertainment. Pricing seems to be similar to that of other ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, with rates starting at $699 per person, double occupancy, for off-season cruises.

Why should anyone build such a large ship? Although many Americans prefer smaller vessels — those carrying only 700 or 800 passengers — it is obvious that the small-ship crowd (of which I am a member) is out of step with Americans. Year after year, the bigger the ship, the greater its popularity.

Much has to do with the facilities aboard. Larger ships have such things as rock-climbing walls, mini golf courses and ice-skating rinks.

In a carefully calibrated campaign to whet the public’s appetite, Royal Caribbean has been doling out small announcements of the enhancements that Freedom of the Seas will have.

From Royal Caribbean International:

Ship Highlights
Rock-climbing wall
Ice-skating rink
Royal Promenade
Extensive WiFi capabilities and connectivity for cell phones
Full-size, flat-screen TVs in every stateroom
Themed bars and lounges
Adventure Ocean® youth facilities
ShipShape® Day Spa and Fitness Center

Casino RoyaleSM

 

Ship Facts
Passenger Capacity: 3,600 double occupancy 
Gross Tonnage: 160,000
Length: 1,112′
Beam: 126.64′
Draft: 28′
Cruising Speed: 21.6 knots

It looks Like Carnival is getting rewarded for its good deed.

The Carnival Cruise Line has chartered 3 ships to FEMA to assist in the relief effort for Hurricane Katrina. The contract was designed to be revenue neutral. Carnival would have made the same amount of money as if the ship was used for their cruises.

“As we have stated previously, the charter contract was priced to be profit-neutral to Carnival,” Jennifer de la Cruz, Carnival’s director of public relations, said this week.

 

“The contract price may or may not be adjusted as we continue to operate the three vessels under the charter agreement and gain better information as to our operating costs,” she said. “In the end, we will make no additional money on this deal versus what we would have made by keeping these ships in service.”

 

The contract calls for the payment of 192 million dollars, with 44 million for additional costs. These additional costs may be the refurbishment of the 3 ships that were lent to the effort.

 

The Travel Weekly Cruise email tells this tidbit.

 

* The Ecstasy, which also is under charter, will resume its four- and five-day schedule from Galveston on April 8. Carnival said its three chartered vessels would each receive a comprehensive refurbishment once the FEMA charter expires.

 

Would this be why the 44 million is needed? It would be interesting if the federal government would be paying the costs for a refurbishment of the ship. Or is the wear and tear so bad already that Carnival is already prepared for the worst.

The New Disney World , Hong Kong style

With 150 million people living within 300 miles of the new Disneyworld, Hong Kong offers a new and exciting challenge for the Disney organization. With the new theme park, this is Disneys first forey into China, a country whose standard of living is increasing exponentially and whose population  is growing just as fast.

The opening comes six years after Hong Kong’s government and the California-based Disney agreed to jointly develop the $3.5 billion project.

Hong Kong was in the doldrums at the time, and desperately wanted to add some glamour to its economy — known for banking, investment, shopping and shipping — now it was in Chinese hands.

To give Hong Kong a helping hand, China in 2003 allowed its nationals to travel to the city of 6.8 million people.

Since then, floods of mainland Chinese have flocked to Hong Kong picking up brand-name goods from its luxury malls, crowding to its jewelry stores and eating out at its myriad restaurants.

Hong Kong’s tourism board said it expects 27.14 million tourists in 2006, a 15.9 percent jump over 2005, and officials say they expect the park to bring in $19 billion over 40 years, and create 35,800 jobs over 20 years.

The world’s best-known entertainment company is counting on these increasingly affluent mainland Chinese tourists in its third international venture, and its second in Asia after Japan. It is also hoping it can export its magic to China, where there is no deep knowledge of its culture.

The Detroit Free Press explains one of the unique features of the park:

A heavy dosage of all things Disney aside, Hong Kong Disneyland offers a rare expanse of space and lush greenery in a densely populated territory better known for its towering skyscrapers than wildlife.

The park is a landscaping achievement, reproducing a slice of America with Asian accents.

The driveway leading to the park entrance is lined with tall palm trees, and Adventureland mixes palm trees with bamboo fences, torches, rock formations, straw-thatched roofs and a fake jungle river in what resembles the set of the TV show “Survivor.”

Long open-air shelters that make up the bus depot are decorated by old-style lamps and rotating fan blades hanging from the ceiling, creating the feel of a saloon in the old American West.

At 310 acres, Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disney park in the world, but Disney says expansions are planned. One addition already lined up is the Autopia car ride in Tomorrowland.

New Orleans Superdome and Convention Center: The Killing Fields?

The press has spent the last few weeks patting themselves on their backs regarding their coverage of the horrors of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Well, odds are these are the same reporters who hide out at the pool in Baghdad and report body counts in Iraq, but never get near the real news.

We were led to believe that there was wide spread carnage in these two shelters. They got things so riled up, the rescue workers had a morgue in an 18 wheeler to bring out the hundreds of bodies that were supposed to be in there.

Well the official count is in and the Superdome had 6 dead, the Convention Center 4. Of these deaths there were 6 of natural causes, 2 murders, 1 overdose, and 1 person fell to their death.

TEN DEATHS!

That is all. 50,000 people moved and amidst a horrendous storm, a city ravaged, and only 10 people died in these two shelters. All the while the reporters are repeating verbatim that these sites were full of the dead and the dying. The 7 year olds and the infants raped and left for dead.

These same self satisfied reporters who obviously never ventured into the shelters to see and god forbid report on the story. They took anecodotal evidence and ran with it.

So here we sit with a media that will not go back and self correct. Shepard Scott will not go on his newscast and admit he stayed outside of the fray and did not really go into the Superdome to visually report on the murders that he was so passionately telling America. Geraldo self satisfied smirking as he stood outside of the Convention Center screaming about the mayhem outside as he needed police protection himself. The Police Commander who went on TV screaming that they needed help and that the people were killing themselves in there.

The implied racism screaming from our reporters. The implication that the people of New Orleans were so savage, so untamed, and never said but always implied, oh so black. They were completely willing to believe the stories that America was racist, that blacks were being abused, and that the blacks were rebelling in this environment.

The truth is, the opposite occurred. And the reporters were so racist that they were scared to go into these shelters and report the story. Nope, instead they put on their bereaved faces, and never did their job.

You know, this may have been the day when we saw the true face of todays reporters. They themselves will tell us over and over this is the best they have to offer.

I will stick with blogs, thank you very much.