April 05, 2006

On Tuesday, a 95 percent majority of Delta Air Lines pilots represented by the Air Line Pilots' Association voted to authorize a strike against Delta if their contract is rejected. According to the union, 15 months ago Delta's pilots gave back 50 percent of their contract, including accepting a 32.5 percent pay cut; now, the union says, Delta is requesting a further 18 percent salary reduction without acknowledging the value of the pilots' past concessions.

A survey released on March 31 by TSN Canadian Facts and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada reveals widespread misconceptions about the documents required for travelers to cross the United States-Canada border. Currently, a driver's license and a birth certificate are necessary; however, 32 percent of Americans and 29 percent of Canadians believe a passport is needed. In the States, 24 percent admit they do not know what documents are required. In all, less than half of the U.S. population has a clear understanding of the needed paperwork. (Passports or other secure documents will be necessary for air and sea crossings between the two countries beginning Dec. 31, and one year later for land crossings.) "In combination with other factors, such as the rising Canadian dollar and the increased cost of gasoline, there is little doubt that misconceptions about travel ID requirements are having a negative impact on travel from the U.S. to Canada," said Richard Jenkins, vice president of TNS Canadian Facts.

Plans have been announced for the $300 million, 172-room Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, a ski-in/ski-out resort at Northstar-at-Tahoe in Truckee, Calif. The resort will feature a full-service spa and meeting space. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this summer, with opening in late 2009.

The City of Atlanta filed suit March 29 against 17 online travel companies, including Hotels.com, Expedia and Travelocity, claiming that the companies pocket the portion of the occupancy tax collected on the markup of the room price. This lawsuit is not the first of its kind; Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Diego are in the midst of similar cases.

StarCite Inc. launched on Tuesday a new tool that will allow planners to quickly compare the potential costs of holding a meeting at various locations. The tool, Meeting Estimator, primarily analyzes hotel and airline prices but also can calculate additional costs associated with attendees who do not need to fly or to stay overnight at the destination. Meeting Estimator can be integrated with StarCite's meetings solutions software packages or can be used as a stand-alone program.

A grand opening celebration was held last weekend at 21cMuseum Hotel, a 90-room boutique property in downtown Louisville, Ky. The hotel, which was built within five connected buildings, is on the National Register of Historic Places and features more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space, along with 80 works by established and emerging artists on permanent exhibit in the atrium lobby. The property also offers a spa, a fitness room, a videoconference room, a 24-hour business center, wireless and wired Internet access, and a new American cuisine restaurant, Proof on Main.

Carlson Marketing has opened its first office in mainland China. The branch, in Shanghai, is headed by Gabi Kool, managing director China and executive vice president Asia-Pacific.

Ground was broken on the 1,000-room Sheraton Downtown Phoenix on March 28. One block from the Phoenix Convention Center, the hotel will open in fall 2008 with 80,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 29,000-square-foot ballroom and 42 meeting rooms. The City of Phoenix owns the hotel, along with the convention center, which will increase its square footage of function space to 900,000 in 2009.