August 08, 2007

Jorge Pesquera has accepted the position of president and CEO of the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau. He has agreed to a four-year contract that starts Nov. 1 and includes an $185,000 compensation package with a $10,000 bonus and a chance for another 5 percent bonus in the first year. Pesquera previously was president and CEO of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, and before that he served as president and CEO of the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau for more than 10 years. He replaces Jim Stuber, the interim administrative director.

With contract negotiations stalled, the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 in Las Vegas, has announced its members will vote on Sept. 12 to authorize a strike at certain hotels. The union said more than 30,000 of its members currently are working under extended or expired contracts at MGM Mirage properties and 18 other hotels, including the Las Vegas Hilton and the Four Seasons Las Vegas. Since June, only Harrah's Entertainment has inked new contracts with the union, which represents cocktail waitresses, cooks, bellmen, kitchen workers, housekeepers and other service workers.

Meet Minneapolis, the city's convention and visitors bureau, offered condolences to the families and friends of victims of last week's fatal bridge collapse but stressed that "visitors and attendees should encounter relatively little inconvenience" when traveling to city. "The core of Minneapolis's convention and visitor product remains relatively unaffected," the organization stated in a press release. The bridge collapse, which occurred north of the city, more than two miles from the Minneapolis Convention Center, had no effect on the highways connecting downtown to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to the south, and only issues with Northwest Airlines pilot absenteeism are causing some sporadic delays and cancellations at the airport, the bureau said.

A $27 million renovation has been completed at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld. All 778 guest rooms were redone, a Starbucks and a sushi bar were added, two of the four ballrooms were upgraded and the Tradewinds restaurant was renovated. The health club also was expanded to 2,500 square feet, and the atrium was enhanced with a video wall of life under the sea. Featuring five restaurants, a pool and tennis courts, the tropical-themed resort offers 185,000 square feet of meeting space. A spa will open later this year.

Mary Power, who resigned her position as president of the Convention Industry Council on May 29, will become executive director of the Human Resources Certification Institute, beginning on Aug. 27. HRCI is an independent certifying body for the human resources industry.