Incentive Newsline: Chain Gets the OK for U.S. Groups
An overseas hotel chain that has been off-limits
to U.S. groups for nearly 20 years is now courting U.S. incentives.
Prior to this year, planners could not use Malta-based
Corinthia Hotel Group, as it would have been in violation of U.S.
Department of the Treasury sanctions against conducting business
with firms that had ties to, or were owned by, the country of
Libya. Corinthia Hotels, although owned by a Maltese family, is
known to have Libyan investors.
But this past April, the U.S. government reversed the sanctions
affecting commerce with the North African nation. As a consequence,
the 22-property chain, with a number of four- and five-star hotels
in cities including Antwerp, Budapest, Lisbon, Malta, Prague and
St. Petersburg, is eyeing a potentially lucrative new market.
“We’ll spend the rest of this year getting to know the U.S.
market,” says Geoff Andrew, Corinthia’s Malta-based group director
of sales and marketing.“These are early days; we are just putting
our feet into the market.”
Andrew expects at least 10 Corinthia properties will prove to
be of interest to incentive planners. Preparatory to marketing
them, the chain has become a hospitality partner of the Scottsdale,
Ariz.-based site-selection firm HelmsBriscoe.
“In 2005, we will really kick in in earnest, with a lot of
sales trips to companies and incentive firms,” said Andrew. “Our
goal is to eventually have our own office and personnel in the