Spurgeon Richardson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention
& Visitors Bureau, will leave the bureau at the end of 2008
after 17 years of service.æUnder Richardson, Atlanta was the first
bureau to launch a destination website, according to the CVB, and
to open a corporate development department. "Right now, we are
forming our search, headed up by our previous ACVB chairman,
Michael Robison," Gregory Pierce, the ACVB's executive vice
president, told M&C. A firm will be hired to conduct a
national search, which is expected to take three to six months. "No
official candidates have been submitted, but we do believe there
will be at least one internal candidate," said Pierce.
A new $1.6 billion international terminal for Hartsfield-Jackson
Atlanta International Airport was approved Monday by the Atlanta
City Council. Despite opposition from Delta Air Lines over the high
cost of the 1.2 billion-square-foot terminal, the plan was passed
unanimously. The terminal will take about three years to construct
and will include 12 gates, a new parking garage and its own
entrance off I-75.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will build a 300-room St. Regis
luxury hotel in Bahrain. Set to open in 2011, the property will
have four restaurants, a large spa and more than 3,000 square feet
of meeting space.
In an effort to increase the attractiveness of Hong Kong as a
meetings destination, Hong Kong's financial secretary John Tsang
said last week in his annual budget speech that the hotel tax will
be waived for all travelers, a measure he estimates will cost the
government US$60 million annually. Next, Tsang said he would
earmark an additional US$19 million over the next five years to aid
efforts to book large international conventions and trade shows. He
also expressed a desire to upgrade the available hotel package in
the city and said the government would offer up 10 sites to
developers that were "restricted to hotel use."
Beijing Capital International Airport opened its gigantic new
terminal last week, part of the preparations for this summer's
Olympic Games. Three new concourses span more than 10 million
square feet, and flights from British Airways and Qantas Airways,
among others, already are operating out of the facility. At the end
of March, the terminal will be fully operational, handling flights
from many other international carriers, including Air China, Cathay
Pacific Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and United Airlines.
The historic 282-room Plaza Hotel in New York City reopened on
Saturday, following a two-year, $400 million transformation. The
hotel's Grand Ballroom, which seats 500 to 700 guests, reopened in
January, with its neoclassical features restored, a new kitchen
added, and revamped lighting and sound equipment. Included in the
unveiling last week were 21,000 square feet of new meeting space.
Amenities to debut later this year include a collection of
boutiques, the Caudalie Spa, a fitness center, a salon and the
reopening of the Oak Room and the Oak Bar.
During a Pinnacle Entertainment earnings call on Feb. 26,
chairman and CEO Dan Lee said his company's plans to build a $2
billion casino resort on the former Sands site in Atlantic City are
dependent on the improvements in the economy. "If credit markets
don't improve, we won't build," said Lee. He went on to say that
based on experience, he expects things to get better before
Pinnacle's anticipated groundbreaking next year -- but that he
isn't in any hurry. "If we have to wait a year until they improve,
that is OK," Lee remarked. "The land is not going anywhere."