Kevin Forde, a former manager for the Switzerland Incentive
& Convention Bureau in North America, died Friday following a
long battle with brain cancer. A statement released by Urs
Eberhard, vice president Switzerland Tourism, and Barbara Albrecht,
manager of the Swiss Incentive & Convention Bureau, said,
"Kevin became part of the MICE team North America in 2002 until he
had to discontinue working for us late last year due to health
reasons. We will miss him as a wonderful colleague with a positive
spirit, a great passion for Switzerland and an enormous courage in
fighting his disease."
On Saturday, 280 workers, mostly housekeepers and kitchen staff,
went on strike at the 605-room Hyatt Regency Montreal and are still
out as of this writing. A letter from the general manager, placed
in all guest rooms, said room service and pool services had been
suspended. The hotel, which remains open, is one of several in the
city that currently are negotiating with Quebec's Confederation of
National Trade union. The heart of the issue is the working
conditions of housekeeping employees, who are asking that the
number of rooms to be cleaned daily per chambermaid be reduced from
14 to 13. Other sticking points include wages and pension plans.
The workers' current contract expired June 30.
Aramark employees at Boston's two main convention centers, who
have been working without a contract since October, might never get
one -- at least not from Aramark. James Rooney, executive director
of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, indicated last
week that the MCCA will consider terminating its $27 million-a-year
catering contract with Aramark early next year and will seek a new
food-service provider or will choose to handle F&B internally.
Rooney continues to push Aramark to reach an agreement with its
workers and expects to make a recommendation to the MCCA's board of
directors this fall about retaining the supplier. According to an
MCCA spokesperson, the decision to explore new options was
influenced, in part, by the failure of Aramark to settle disputes
with Unite HERE Local 26, the union that helped the workers stage a
three-day strike against their employer last month.
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has announced the creation of a
joint board of directors that will provide oversight to the
Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association and the
Baltimore Convention Center. Tom Noonan, president and CEOæof the
BACVA, and Peggy Daidakis, executive director of the BCC, will
report to the new entity, which will be known as the Baltimore
Convention & Tourism Board. Chairing the board will be Edwin F.
Hale, chairman and CEO of 1st Mariner Bank, and a former chair of
the BACVA's board of directors. Noonan and Daidakis each will
continue to run their organizations independently, and their staffs
will remain separate. The board's mission will include destination
sales and marketing, as well as the maintenance and operation of
the BCC. The 2008-2009 board's term begins Aug. 1.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation Friday
transferring control of the Atlantic City Convention Center and
Boardwalk Hall from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
to the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. Under the
new legislation, the ACCVA now will oversee its own marketing and
operating finances, as opposed to having to work through the Sports
and Exposition Authority. The ACCVA expects to officially take
ownership of the two venues in 2009, following bond-holder
An opening date of Oct. 10, 2010 (10/10/10), has been
established for the 100,000-square-foot convention center being
built in Irving, Texas. The $137 million facility, part of a
mixed-use entertainment development, will offer 50,000 square feet
of exhibit space, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom and 20 breakout
rooms of about 1,000 square feet each. Visit irvingtexas.com to view renderings of the
angular, three-story building. For phase two of the project, a
proposal from the Watermark Hotel Co. is under consideration by the
city council and includes development of a 400-room conference
center hotel, a 100-room Watermark Hotel, 30,000 square feet of
meeting space, two hotel restaurants, a 15,000-square-foot
Watermark spa, 200,000 square feet of retail space and more. Also
being considered is a 3,500-seat concert venue.
Ritz-Carlton will take over management of the 220-room St. Regis
Fort Lauderdale Resort effective Aug. 11, renaming the property The
Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which
owns the St. Regis brand, announced last week that it was
de-flagging the resort in August. According to the South
Florida Business Journal, Starwood canceled the contract
because of undisclosed disputes.
Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd. and Qatari Diar Real Estate
Investment Co. plan to develop a historical building in Paris into
a Peninsula hotel. The building, near the Arc de Triomphe, was
formerly the Centre International de Conferences. The property,
Peninsula's first in Europe, is expected to open in 2012. Room and
meeting space details have not yet been determined.