July 13, 2005
Last Thursday's terrorist attacks in London will not cause long-term damage to U.K. tourism, according to a HotelBenchmark Survey, a monthly report of the hospitality industry from consulting firm Deloitte and Touche LLP, the U.K. division of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Alex Kyriakidis, the firm's global head of tourism, hospitality and leisure, said, "While it is too early to predict the full impact on tourism of the attacks, increasingly, the recovery period post-terrorist attacks is getting shorter." Kyriakidis cited Madrid, which bounced back six months after the terrorist attacks of April 2004. London has seen record visitor levels from January to April, up nearly 10 percent over 2004, he added. "Last Thursday's attacks will cause a slowdown in that growth," Kyriakidis said, "but there should be every confidence in London's recovery as a world-class tourism destination." Inbound travel from Europe is unlikely to be affected, but U.S. inbound visitor numbers might take longer to recover, he predicted. The effective response from London's emergency, health and transport services to the crisis was encouraging for the tourism industry, he added. A spokesperson for VisitLondon told M&C, "We are currently collecting information from our partners to determine how the events impacted their business in the short term. We are basically expecting a short-term dip in travel for business and leisure, but so far, we have very few reported cancellations from the U.S. market."

The Baltimore City Council has delayed taking a formal vote on the proposed $305 million convention center hotel, which would be owned by the city. Amendments to the proposal currently are being drafted in committee to address such issues as more accountability for the board that would oversee the hotel, and better wages for the hotel workers. A spokesperson for the city council said a vote has been delayed at least until after the next work session, which takes place July 27, when the proposal might make it out of committee. The full council would then vote on Aug. 15.

Starting Oct. 5, low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways will begin service to six destinations from Newark (N.J.) Liberty National Airport. The carrier will offer flights to San Juan, P.R., and five Florida destinations: Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Tampa and Fort Myers. Introductory fares start as low as $69 each way.

The Convention Industry Council, in partnership with software company OfficeReady, has released APEX OfficeReady for Meeting and Event Planning, a collection of customizable templates and checklists. The package costs $100 at www.conventionindustry.org and includes templates from the three APEX panels that have been completed (the glossary, post-event reports and event specifications guide). When the remaining panels are finished, updates to the package will be available free of charge. Users must have Microsoft Office to use the software. All of the information included in the program is already available for free, but "this has more bells and whistles," said Mary Power, president and CEO of the CIC. "It really tailors the templates to what your needs are."

Donald Trump's first Las Vegas development broke ground July 12. The $500 million, 64-story Trump International Hotel & Tower, a nongaming condo hotel, will have 1,282 rooms, as well as a spa and an upscale restaurant. No opening date has been announced.

On July 5, the 220-room Miri Marriott Resort & Spa opened on the Malaysian island of Borneo. Overlooking the South China Sea and close to the independent state of Brunei, the 20-acre hotel has a restaurant, a pool, a spa and six meeting rooms.