Jordy Tollett, president and CEO of the Greater
Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, has taken a leave of
absence, probably until sometime in August, according to a bureau
spokesperson. While the official statement refers to giving Tollett
the opportunity to address some personal issues, his leave comes
three days after an expose on Houston's KPRC (Channel 2), which
aired July 10, showed Tollett apparently spending extended lunch
hours in a bar. Tollett has been the head of the CVB since 1997 and
has been working to bring visitors and conventions to the city in
some capacity for about 35 years.
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has closed
indefinitely the I-90 Connector Tunnel following a fatal accident
on July 10, and safety inspections of surrounding tunnels and
bridges are causing delays around the South Boston waterfront
district, site of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. A
message posted on the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
website warns attendees that "as the inspections continue
throughout the summer...convention guests should be prepared for
longer than usual drive times." The Ted Williams Tunnel between the
South Boston waterfront district and Logan International Airport is
closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles and the Silver Line
bus, which has increased service on the route. In a note sent to
members of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
yesterday, Larry Meehan, vice president of media and tourism for
the bureau, said visitors should be reminded that the city is open
and events are not being canceled. The Turnpike Authority (http://www.masspike.com), the Massachusetts Port
Authority (http://www.massport.com), and the Greater Boston CVB
(http://www.bostonusa.com) all have travel advisories
on their websites that provide information about tunnel closures
and suggested alternate routes.
Phase One of the Phoenix Convention Center expansion,
the West Conference Center, opens this weekend. The new facility
offers more than 156,000 square feet of space, including a
62,000-square-foot exhibition hall, 16 meeting rooms and an
additional 16 rooms approved by the International Association of
Conference Centers. The old North Building was demolished last week
to make way for Phase Two, during which a four-level facility will
be constructed. The $600 million project will bring the center's
footprint to more than 900,000 square feet of space when the dust
settles in 2009.
Serge Dive, who founded the International Luxury
Travel Market, which he eventually sold to Reed Exhibition
Companies, is organizing a new show, Beyond Luxury, for the luxury
travel, goods and services markets. The inaugural invitation-only
exhibition will be held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes,
France, next June, and attendees will network and pursue business
opportunities during pre-arranged appointments.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will build a
new W Hotel in downtown Philadelphia, scheduled to open in 2009.
The W Philadelphia Hotel & Residences will be in Center City,
across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The
hotel will feature 250 guest rooms, including 26 suites, plus a
6,500-square-foot spa, a signature restaurant and bar with outdoor
garden space, and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. will open a 275-room resort
with residences on Half Moon Bay, on the southern coast of St.
Lucia, in 2009. The Caribbean resort will offer a
20,000-square-foot spa, two golf courses and 7,000 square feet of
meeting space, including a 5,000-square-foot ballroom.