September 08, 2004

In the aftermath of Hurricane Frances, the Boca Raton Resort & Club reopens today at noon but with limited service. Farther inland, Walt Disney World's theme parks were closed Saturday and Sunday but partially reopened on Labor Day and were fully open yesterday. Visitors are urged to check city websites for the latest information, although Internet servers also have been affected by the storm. The official website for the state of Florida has information on the cleanup; visitors also can call (800) 287-8598 for updates. Weary Floridians have to batten down again quickly, however, as a new storm, Ivan, might hit Cuba and move on to Florida by Sunday or Monday.

Hotels in Nassau, the Bahamas, were only lightly damaged from Hurricane Frances, according to the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Local newspapers reported hotels on Grand Bahama Island were hit very hard; however, because of downed electricity and telephone wires, official information was not yet available as of press time.

The labor dispute between hotel union employees and 14 major downtown hotels in San Francisco is heating up. A spokesperson for the union, formerly known as the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and now known as Unite HERE, said the organization will decide Sept. 9 whether to authorize its members to strike on Sept. 14. Unite HERE, which represents some 4,000 union employees in the city whose contracts expired on Aug. 14, remains in talks with representatives from the hotels. On Labor Day, thousands of protesters marched through San Francisco's Union Square to draw attention to their dispute; several were arrested for blocking traffic and disturbing the peace. Hotels involved in the talks include the Crowne Plaza Union Square, Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt San Francisco, Hilton San Francisco, Mark Hopkins InterContinental, Omni San Francisco and Westin St. Francis.

Meeting Professionals International is expanding its Institutes program with a third session, geared for people with six or more years' experience who also have leadership responsibilities. To be held Oct. 23-27 in Tampa, Fla., Institute III will cover procurement trends, the shifting planner role, financial issues and supply chain management. For registration information, visit the organization's website. MPI also now offers online content from its ROI Summit, held during the 2004 World Education Congress in Denver in July. The information is available here.