May 14, 2008

Foxwoods Resort Casino in southeastern Connecticut opens its new 825-room MGM Grand at Foxwoods this weekend. The $700 million hotel has 115,000 square feet of meeting space, giving the resort a total of 170,000 square feet; a 21,000-square-foot spa with 12 treatment rooms; a 4,000-seat theater; multiple restaurants, and a 50,000-square-foot casino.

The Philadelphia mayor's office is considering a 1 percent increase to the city's hotel tax, according to published reports. Philadelphia's hotel tax currently stands at 14 percent, which includes a 7 percent occupancy tax, 6 percent sales tax and 1 percent city tax. The increase would generate an additional $5 million to $6 million, to be split by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.

Last week, in response to the increasing cost of oil, Delta Air Lines raised fuel surcharges on domestic tickets to $65 per flight, an increase of $10. Roundtrip fuel surcharges now stand at $130. Within days, the increase was matched by American, Continental, Northwest, United and US Airways.

The Green Meeting Industry Council has hired Tamara Kennedy-Hill as its new executive director. Kennedy-Hill has worked in the meetings and hospitality industry for 10 years, most recently as convention sales manager for Travel Portland (Ore.), with a focus on the green meetings market. She also served as program chair for the last two "Greening the Hospitality Industry" conferences, hosted by the GMIC.

Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, announced grand plans for increasing his company's room count and convention space in Las Vegas. According to a transcript of Wynn's first-quarter earnings call, posted at, the company is planning to build two hotel towers, with approximately 2,600 rooms each, in the area currently occupied by the Wynn golf course. The hotels would share about 1.6 to 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space, and easy access to both the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Sands would be provided by a free underground tram. Planning still is in the preliminary stages, and no dates have been announced for construction or opening.