April 28, 2004

London hotel occupancies have returned to boom levels, according to Deloitte, a financial services company. The company's latest Hotel Benchmark Survey shows occupancies in the U.K. capital averaged 74 percent in the first quarter of 2004, up 8 percent from the same period last year. Some of the boom is due to meeting and incentive business from North American firms. According to Chris Lynn, North American sales and marketing director for Visit London, "U.S. meeting and incentive business is definitely coming back. I just got back from sales calls [to clients and incentive houses in the Midwest and Canada], and out of the 20 I met with, 17 have programs going to London this year."

A team of investigators from the World Health Organization begins work in China today to examine the latest SARS outbreak. Of eight diagnosed SARS cases, six are in Beijing where the outbreak is believed to have originated. The remaining cases are in the eastern province of Anhui, where one fatality has been reported. According to the WHO, nearly 1,000 people who were in contact with the eight SARS patients are currently under observation, and there has been no evidence of a wider transmission.