December 06, 2006

The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Hawaii's Big Island was forced to close indefinitely last Friday after engineers found unexpected damage from the earthquake that hit on Oct. 15. The hotel no longer is accepting reservations and is relocating current guests to the nearby Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Mauna Kea's Golf Course and clubhouse will remain open while the resort undergoes repairs.

Bob G. Vitagliano, CITE, has been named executive director of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives' new research arm, the International SITE Foundation. The new body replaces the SITE Foundation, which in May became an independent entity called the Incentive Research Foundation, serving the entire incentive industry. Vitagliano served as SITE's executive president and CEO from 1993 until 1999.

Spain is the top destination for meetings and incentives, according to the EIBTM 2006 Industry Trends and Market Share Report. The survey of 113 planners, conducted by Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in business travel and tourism at the University of Westminster in London, was released last week during the EIBTM trade show in Barcelona. In other findings, the respondents considered China, Vietnam and Croatia the top new destinations. In a separate survey conducted for EIBTM, Davidson queried 23 convention and visitor bureaus on their knowledge of major meetings and incentives held in their destinations. Nearly 70 percent of those polled believed they had accurate knowledge of the average length of the major events held in their cities; 57 percent said they had little or no knowledge of the number of delegates who spent extra time in their city before or after a meeting, while nearly 22 percent had no idea of the economic impact of the major conferences/incentives held in their city.

The contract for UNITE HERE Local 26 hotel workers in Boston, which was set to expire Nov. 30, was extended to Feb. 1, with a promise that new contracts will be retroactive to the original deadline. Negotiations continue between the union and representatives from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which is handling the talks on behalf of its Boston hotels and 19 other properties that have agreed to abide by the contract Starwood signs. According to a union spokesperson, current sticking points are a satisfactory guarantee to recruit and train more African-American workers and a reduction in the number of guest rooms some workers must clean each day, from 16 to 15.

The International Association of Exhibition Management has changed its name to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. The association's membership approved the change by nearly a four-to-one margin at its annual meeting held in San Diego last week. At the convention, the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, which consolidated with IAEE in March, announced it had received a $1 million donation from the World Shoe Association to fund industry research.

The Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired David DuBois as its president and CEO. Currently the vice president of sales and key accounts for Meeting Professionals International and executive vice president of the MPI Foundation, DuBois says he looks forward to bringing his more than 20 years of experience working for meetings organizations to a city whose downtown guest room inventory is scheduled to more than double in the next two years. DuBois takes over Jan. 2, replacing Douglas Harmon, who is retiring after serving the city for 17 years. Among the hotel projects under way in the city is the construction of a 604-room hotel with about 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Ground was broken in August on the $170 million property, which will be the headquarters hotel for the Fort Worth Convention Center.