June 27, 2007

The Dutch half of the island of St. Maarten has introduced an initiative making international travel to meetings and conventions 100 percent tax deductible. This follows the signing of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the United States by island officials; U.S. taxpayers can claim the same type of tax deduction for expenses associated with holding or traveling to a meeting on the Dutch side of the island, as if the event were held in the States.

A $200 million Museum Hotel is planned for Austin, Texas, with groundbreaking scheduled for the first quarter of 2008. Developed by the group that created the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Ky., the Austin property will offer 209 rooms, 202 residential units, a spa, a pool, a museum and restaurants. The hotel will be a block from Congress Avenue and a block from the Austin Convention Center.

MGM Mirage is forming a joint venture with Kerzner International to develop a 40-acre, multibillion-dollar resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The design process is expected to take a year, and construction should take an additional three years. It has not yet been determined whether the resort will bear an existing MGM or Kerzner brand, or if a new brand will be created.

Cambrian Development will construct a $160 million resort designed to attract luxury clientele to Wisconsin Dells, Wis. The first phase of the Grand Cambrian Resort, to be completed by late spring, will be a condo-hotel with 258 rentable units and 19,100 square feet of meeting space. When finished, the property will include four restaurants, a spa, retail and recreational facilities, and possibly as much as 35,000 square feet of meeting space.

A $150 million guest room renovation at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is nearly complete, the hotel announced this week. All but two floors have been refreshed with high-tech amenities, new decor and bathroom fixtures. Opening soon will be a climate-controlled poolside gaming venue, the first in the city, according to the hotel.

Annette Choynacki has been named director of the Belgian Tourist Office for North America. Prior to her appointment, she served as deputy director of the organization for 15 years.