April 06, 2005

For the second year in a row, Comdex has been canceled. Last year, the Las Vegas-based IT show, which was the biggest trade show in the United States in the late 1990s, was called off after years of dwindling exhibitor participation and attendance. However, MediaLive International, the producers of Comdex, had promised to bring the show back in November 2005 and formed an advisory board of key vendors to find ways to enhance the event. That effort, however, now appears to be a bust.

Don Welsh took over as president and CEO of the Seattle Convention & Visitors Bureau on April 1. Welsh replaced bureau chief Steve Morris, who selected Welsh for the job and will stay on as a consultant until retiring at the end of 2005, after 18 years at the bureau. Most recently, Don Welsh served as the SCVB's senior vice president of sales.

InterContinental Hotels Group, in a continuation of its strategy to focus on management rather than ownership, has announced it will sell 10 hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. The properties, which represent several chains in IHG's portfolio, include the InterContinental Wellington in New Zealand and the Crowne Plaza Canberra and Holiday Inn Melbourne in Australia. IHG will retain management of all 10 properties.

The 14-member board of New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted unanimously to sell the West Side railyards to the New York Jets for the planned construction of a 75,000-seat stadium and convention hall. The board members said they chose the Jets' bid over the far more lucrative one from Cablevision because a stadium would be of greater benefit to the city, and because it would ensure that the city would pay for the extension of the Number 7 subway line.

The Convention Industry Council issued a statement April 1 condemning the practice of labor unions calling meeting planners to persuade them not to meet at boycotted hotels. "Such boycotts would violate federal law and cannot be supported," the statement read. On its website (www.conventionindustry.org), the CIC offers a list of recommendations for those contacted regarding a labor dispute.

Two conference centers, the 219-room Dolce Hamilton Park in Florham Park, N.J., and the 209-room Dolce Tarrytown House in Tarrytown, N.Y., have been sold. They will be renamed the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center and the Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center, and will be managed by Destination Hotels and Resorts. At the Hamilton Park property, meeting room renovations are scheduled, and at the Tarrytown property, guest rooms and meeting space will be renovated. Both conference centers are IACC-certified and have 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced Monday plans to build the 350-room Hyatt Regency Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino, which will include an 18-hole Pete Dye golf course and 28,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. The resort will break ground on the Caribbean island this summer and open in late 2007. Future plans call for additional hotel rooms, a second golf course and a marina.