The board of directors of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has announced that Jack Ferguson, currently executive vice president of the CVB, will become president and CEO when Tom Muldoon steps down on Dec. 31, 2010. Ferguson, who currently leads the CVB's sales and services team, will begin transitioning to the role over the next year. Ferguson's replacement will be named next summer. Muldoon previously announced he would step down at the end of 2010, shortly before the Pennsylvania Convention Center completes its expansion in early 2011.
Miami Downtown Redevelopment Project Settles on Blueprint
According the South Florida Business Journal, the Miami Downtown Development Authority has approved a blueprint for the city's downtown revitalization, after years of considering several proposals. The 2025 Downtown Miami Master Plan aims to transform the area into a thriving cultural and business center, with the addition of a new convention center, more complete use of its waterfront and boulevards, and improved transport links to other parts of Miami. The cost is expected to be $1 billion. The Authority will now form new committees and strategize on how to move forward with the plan. To download the plan it its entirety, go to http://www.miamidda.com/master_plan.asp.
CIC Announces CMP Global Exam Day
As part of an ongoing effort to globalize the Certified Meeting Professional designation, the Convention Industry Council has announced that additional exams will be held outside of North America on Feb. 20, 2010, the organization's first CMP Global Exam Day. Testing locations include South Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Italy. Testing in Cancún, Mexico, will be held in conjunction with Meeting Professionals International's MeetDifferent conference. The application deadline for the exam is Oct. 28, 2009.
New Peninsula Hotel Opens in Shanghai
The Peninsula Shanghai, a 235-room luxury hotel in Shanghai, China, opened last Sunday. The hotel's Rose Ballroom can accommodate 450 guests for a banquet or 1,000 for a reception. The signature restaurant, Yi Long Court, is helmed by chef Chi Keung Tang, China's first Michelin-star winner. The property also offers the Peninsula Spa by ESPA.
AirPlus Study Anticipates Declines in Business Travel, Meetings
AirPlus International Inc. released its fifth annual Travel Management Study, a survey of 1,500 travel managers from 15 countries conducted February through April, projecting trends for the following 12 months. This year, for the first time in the study's history, more respondents expected the number of business trips to fall (35 percent) vs. those who believed travel volume would increase (23 percent). Fifty-eight percent of respondents expected their travel policies would become more restrictive, and 70 percent were implementing stricter means of enforcing their policies. Only 17 percent believed they would hold more meetings, while 31 percent expected the number of meetings to decline. The 20-page report can be downloaded here.
IATA Presents Climate Change Goals to the U.N.
Last week, the International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 airlines around the world, presented its climate change strategy and goals to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York City. The group has three key environmental targets: improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 percent annually until 2020, stabilizing carbon emissions with carbon-neutral growth starting in 2020 and cutting carbon emissions in half (as compared to 2005 levels) by 2050. The approach by which IATA proposes to accomplish these goals has three primary components: that aviation's carbon emissions be accounted for at a global level, rather than by nation; that the aviation industry should be held fully accountable for its carbon emissions and be required to pay only once for these, and that the industry should be granted access to global carbon markets to offset emissions until technology can provide "the ultimate solution" to the problem.
Lufthansa to Relaunch Inflight Internet
Lufthansa is relaunching its inflight broadband Internet service, called FlyNet. The carrier was one of the first to provide inflight access, from May 2004 until the end of 2006, when its partner, Connexion by Boeing, withdrew the service. Passengers once again will be able to access the web with a computer or PDA, and send cell phone text messages. Pricing for the service has not been announced. Lufthansa hopes to equip a major part of its long-range fleet with FlyNet in the next 12 months.
Continental Adds Seasonal Service to Québec Ski Resort
Continental Airlines will start seasonal nonstop service between Newark, N.J., and Mt. Tremblant, Québec, that will run Dec. 17 through March 28.
MPI Expands Global Training Center Roster
Meeting Professionals International has added Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with its school of Hotel and tourism Management, as an MPI Global Training Center. Over the next two years, MPI plans to partner with about 15 educational institutions to teach globally recognized skills and competencies to local meeting professionals.
Starwood and American Airlines Launch Joint Meetings Promotion
On Monday, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and American Airlines Group & Meeting Travel announced a joint promotion for meeting and corporate travel planners. For meetings booked now through Dec. 31 that take place by June 30, 2010, planners will receive 4 percent off their master bill and one free room for every 25 booked at any of 380 participating Starwood properties in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Additionally, for every 25 American Airlines flights booked, planners will be credited one free flight for future use. For more information, visit starwoodhotels.com/valueaddedmeetings [http://starwoodhotels.com/valueaddedmeetings].
New Grand Hyatt Hotel Opens in Macau
The 791-room Grand Hyatt Macau, a nongaming property, opened last Friday in the Chinese peninsula city of Macau. The hotel is five minutes from Macau International Airport and has 15 different function spaces spanning a total of 968,000 square feet. The property features two main restaurants, including the 225-seat Beijing Kitchen, and also offers the 25,000-square-foot Isala Spa, with 15 spa suites.
First Doubletree by Hilton Resort Opens in Asia
The 487-room Doubletree by Hilton Resort, Wuxi-Lingshan, debuted in China last Thursday, the first Doubletree to open in Asia. The resort, which is a one-hour drive from Wuxi Airport and a two-hour drive from Shanghai, offers a 53,819-square-foot conference center with 18 meeting rooms. The resort also has two 6,243-square-foot banquet halls.
Hotel Development Pipeline Continues to Shrink
The total U.S. hotel development pipeline includes 4,218 projects, according to September's STR/TWR/Dodge Construction Pipeline Report. The 450,899 rooms in the pipeline represent a 31.1 percent decline over a year ago. The midscale (with food and beverage) segment reported the smallest decrease (down 19.1 percent), while the economy segment posted the largest fall (60 percent).
Disney Hilton Launches iPod App
The Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort has launched Notescast, a mobile marketing application, which can be downloaded for use on the iPod Classic and iPod Nano. The tool features 60 pages of information about accommodations, amenities, meeting space and dining at the hotel, in addition to 60 photos. To download the app, visit the property's website at hilton.com.
Incentive Federation Promotes Wellness Incentives to Congress
Yesterday, members of the Incentive Federation, the consortium of incentive industry associations, met with members of Congress to convince lawmakers that wellness incentives, such as gym reimbursement, must be part of health-care reform. In a statement, George Delta, the group's executive director, said the health-care package currently before Congress provides a perfect opportunity to use incentives as a way to reduce costs and improve the quality of life. "One of the best ways to encourage wellness incentives is to make them nontaxable to employees and deductible to employers," he said. The Federation is supporting a measure allowing tangible personal-property wellness awards valued at up to $400.
Dallas Considers Streetcars to Connect Major Districts
According to the Dallas Morning News, city officials are working on a plan to create a downtown streetcar system within five years, possibly using federal and state funds. The route would loop from the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park, past the Dallas Municipal Court building to the city's convention center hotel, which will open in 2012.