September 26, 2007
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded two nonstop flights between the U.S. and China to Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The routes -- between Atlanta and Shanghai for Delta, and from San Francisco to Guangzhou for United -- will begin in 2008. Four more U.S.-China flights are on the way for the four other domestic "legacy" carriers: Awaiting final approval are a Chicago-Beijing flight for American; Newark to Shanghai for Continental; Detroit to Shanghai for Northwest, and Philadelphia to Beijing for US Airways. The announcement follows a flight-encouraging agreement signed by the U.S. and Chinese governments in July.

After years of negotiations, Washington, D.C., finally reached an agreement with Marriott International and RLJ Development for a $540 million convention center hotel. The 1,150-room property, which is 300 rooms fewer than originally planned, will be built across the street from the Washington Convention Center at Massachusetts and 9th Street NW and feature 100,000 square feet of meeting space. The compromise to build a smaller hotel gives the Washington Convention Center Authority the power to control close to 80 percent of the headquarters hotel's room blocks. The WCCA estimates it has spent $2.6 million to bring this project to fruition. Marriott hopes to break ground in the next few months.

Officials from the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City are investigating a fire that occurred Sunday at The Water Club, a second property currently under construction adjacent to the Borgata. According to a statement released by the hotel, it's still too early to estimate what effect the fire will have on the development timeline, if any. The $400 million, 800-room Water Club previously was slated for an early 2008 opening. The hotel and its construction company are currently assessing damages. The fire did not affect the Borgata itself.

Last week, one day after Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced a plan to develop three casino resorts in the state, the Illinois Senate passed a bill that would create three casinos in that state, including two riverboat gaming facilities and one land-based casino in Chicago. Revenue generated from the properties would help fund state construction programs. The bill has been sent to the Illinois House for approval.

The Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau has added a provision to its new contract with the county, which goes into effect Oct.1, preventing 49 non-Orange County member hotels from receiving convention sales leads. Sharon Donoghue, the Orange County deputy county administrator, said the decision was made because Orange County resort taxes go to the bureau, and those tax dollars should benefit hotels within the county. A spokesperson for the bureau said the CVB can ask the county to include noncounty hotels in certain cases: In requests for proposal for conventions with 50,000 attendees or more, and when multiple conferences or conventions are scheduled in the area at the same time. However, leads will be sent only to hotels that meet the meeting planner's specifications. "If we can't meet the planner's needs, we will go out of Orange County," the spokesperson said. According to the Orlando Business Journal, some non-Orange County hotels have threatened to cancel their memberships.

Riverhead Resorts LLC has been chosen to develop a $1 billion, 755-acre resort and recreation project in Riverhead, N.Y. Following a seven-month selection process, the town has accepted Riverhead's $155 million bid to purchase the municipally owned land and now will enter into exclusive negotiations with the developer. The project will feature eight resorts with a total of 1,970 hotel rooms, 2,025 time-share units, a 90-acre man-made lake, a 350-foot indoor ski slope, a year-round indoor water park, a spa, an equestrian center, a seaport, a farmer's market and a 100,000-square-foot exposition hall. Construction is expected to begin in 2010.

Exhibition and publishing company DMG World Media has acquired the trade show producer George Little Management, effective Oct. 1. Since 2000, DMG has owned a stake in George Little Management, which will continue to operate out of White Plains, N.Y., as a wholly owned subsidiary. DMG, which produces more than 300 trade shows, also announced its intention to sell its portfolio of 40 North American consumer home shows.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. will build its 10th Caribbean resort at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. The 220-room luxury property will be on Juanillo Beach and will feature a 16,000-square-foot spa, three golf courses and 8,000 square feet of meeting space. The resort is scheduled to open in early 2010.

Ground was broken Monday on a 240-room Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver. Also offering 102 residences, the tower's first 16 floors will be dedicated to the hotel. The property, scheduled to open in spring 2010, will have 16,000 square feet of meeting space, a Four Seasons spa and a rooftop pool with dining.