Current News

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Current News

February 07, 2023
Porter Airlines soars coast-to-coast with first Embraer E195-E2 flights connecting Vancouver and Toronto Pearson

Route includes debut of enhanced in-flight catering menu

Toronto—Porter Airlines is celebrating its first flights with the new Embraer E195-E2 between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Vancouver International Airport (YVR). For the first time in its 16-year history, Porter is bringing its distinguished approach to service to Western Canada, while also debuting a remarkable new concept for economy air travel.

Hospitality and generous service are staples of Porter’s distinct offering. This signature service features complimentary beer and wine served in glassware, along with a selection of premium snacks on every flight. The introduction of longer routes to Porter’s network, starting with Toronto Pearson-Vancouver, now also include enhancements of these perks. Fresh, healthy meals, pre-mixed cocktails and additional snack options are included on the menu. These additional features are available as an all-inclusive fare with PorterReserve or may be purchased a la carte with PorterClassic fares. PorterReserve also includes dedicated airport check-in, early boarding, enhanced legroom, two checked bags and the ability to change flights without a fee.

Sustainability is at the heart of the new menu design, with a priority on reducing and eventually eliminating single-use plastics onboard, providing biodegradable cups and cutlery, and eco-friendly packaging. Catering partners also feature high-quality Canadian brands.

“Today’s flights between Toronto Pearson and Vancouver are the first opportunity for passengers to experience what Porter is offering for the economy traveller,” said Michael Deluce, president and CEO, Porter Airlines. “It’s a level of service that is unheard of for North American airlines. It will appeal to business and leisure travellers who appreciate an elevated level of service at a reasonable price.”

The E195-E2 is another important part of the overall product, with its 132-seat, all-economy, two-by-two configuration. This ensures that every passenger enjoys more personal space, thanks to Porter being the only airline with no middle seats on every flight. Up to 100 E195-E2s are on order, including 50 firm deliveries scheduled to arrive over the next two years.

The introduction of the E195-E2 also brings all passengers free, fast WiFi, with full access to web surfing or streaming favourite entertainment platforms.

“We are proud to welcome Porter Airlines to the YVR airport community as part of its service to Western Canada,” said Mike McNaney, vice president and chief external affairs officer, Vancouver Airport Authority. “Both Vancouver and Toronto are home to Canada’s largest airports and major regional hubs. This service further strengthens our connectivity while providing our travellers with greater flexibility and choice.”

Service on the Toronto Pearson-Vancouver route begins with one daily, non-stop return flight, increasing to three daily roundtrip flights by March 22.

Additional flights at Pearson begin this month connecting with Edmonton (Feb. 14), Calgary (Feb. 22) and Halifax (Feb. 23). More destinations will be announced throughout the year. The E195-E2 can reach every key market in North America, including the west coast, to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Flights and Porter Escapes vacation packages are now available for booking at www.flyporter.com and with travel agents.

Porter Airlines provides a warm and effortless approach to hospitality, restoring glamour and refinement to air travel. Porter is an Official 4 Star Airline® in the World Airline Star Rating®. Visit www.flyporter.com or follow @porterairlines on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Details of Porter's North America-wide service plans are available at flyporter.com.

Source: Porter Airlines

January 31, 2023
Langdon Hall Partners with The Keep Refillery, Becoming the First Hotel in Ontario with an In-House Refillery

Cambridge, Ontario—Langdon Hall Country House, Hotel & Spa and The Keep Refillery today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to launch the premiere hotel refillery in Ontario. Langdon Hall, a Relais & Chateaux property known for being one of Canada’s most pre-eminent luxury hotels, is tapping into the expertise of The Keep Refillery, a one-stop plastic-free refillery, to overhaul its in-room amenities and move towards an even more sustainable and low-waste system. 

By transitioning to a sustainable and circular refilling program for all in-room amenities, Langdon Hall and The Keep will save over 2,000 plastic bottles from finding their way into landfills and waterways. Refilling stations will be the source for housekeeping staff to refill all the in-room essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, shower steams and bath bombs, all without creating any waste. 

“Globally, every year, the hotel industry produces an average of 289,700 tonnes of waste,” said Jacquie Rushlow, founder of The Keep Refillery. “Langdon Hall is an innovative hotel and a leader in the hospitality industry. With this latest move to become the first hotel in Ontario to have an in-house refillery they are taking meaningful action to reduce the property’s waste footprint.”

“Our clientele are smart and worldly people who want a luxury hotel experience without feeling like their impact is detrimental to the health of the environment. Langdon Hall recognizes that in order to remain at the forefront of sustainable hospitality, we need to constantly move toward offerings that are both luxurious and ecologically sound,” said Jennifer Houghton, Director of Langdon Hall Country House, Hotel & Spa. “We’ve done this with our kitchen, and now, with the help and knowledge of The Keep Refillery, we were able to seamlessly convert to a system that meets this criteria. This has resulted in a low-waste, highly elevated guest amenity experience. We know our guests will enjoy the products, and we hope to inspire other hotels to move in a similar direction.”

All products that Langdon Hall will stock from The Keep Refillery will meet Langdon Halls’ high standards while also being sustainably sourced from small businesses across Canada and the United States and are all-natural, cruelty-free, and ethically made. Like all products in store at The Keep Refillery, everything is thoroughly researched and tested to ensure they’re highly effective and the brand is closed-loop sustainable. 

For high-res images, please click here. To learn more about the refillery within Langdon Hall, please visit langdonhall.ca/the-property/sustainability. Follow Langdon Hall on Instagram @langdonhall and The Keep Refillery @thekeeprefillery_creemore

About Langdon Hall 
Follow the winding road nestled in the Carolinian forest and escape into a world of luxury with Langdon Hall, a 60-guestroom Relais & Chateaux property located in Cambridge, Ontario. Prepare to recharge with gracious hospitality, to reacquaint with nature, and to rejuvenate with Five-Diamond cuisine, expert spa treatments and lavish comfort.

About The Keep Refillery
The Keep Refillery was co-founded in early 2020 by wife and husband duo Jacquie Rushlow and Andrew Murray, to rid the world of single-use plastic one community at a time. Jacquie decided to leave her thriving career in television production to open the first location of The Keep Refillery in the height of COVID-19 in Creemore, Ontario. The Keep Refillery offers a wide range of locally sourced, all-natural, organic, cruelty-free, biodegradable, and microplastic-free products for personal and home care that eliminates plastic waste and refills daily essentials. Today, The Keep Refillery has expanded to include four brick-and-mortar locations: Creemore, Meaford, Kingston and the newest location Toronto, as well as an online shop at  thekeeprefillery.com

January 31, 2023
IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference Recognizes thought leaders and long time supporters of the IMPACT conference

IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism ConferenceRecognizes former Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, pioneers in sustainable tourism, Frontiers North Adventures and leaders in tourism and hospitality education, Toronto Metropolitan University, Ted Rogers School of Management, with a 2022 IMPACT Award

Traditional territories of the Lekwungen peoples, Victoria, BC—The founders of the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference are pleased to recognize thought leaders and long time supporters of the IMPACT conference; Lisa Helps; Frontiers North Adventures; and School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ted Rogers School of Management,Toronto Metropolitan University. 

Presented during the annual IMPACT conference, the awards recognize individuals and organizations who lead and inspire others to foster positive impacts for communities, our economy, and the environment. They also seek ways to support the revitalization of our wildlife, cultures and natural spaces whether through education, leading by example and empowering others to commit to climate action. 

Former Mayor Helps has been a champion of local businesses and the tourism industry over her eight years of tenure. A popular and inspiring IMPACT speaker, she empowered delegates to focus on their relationships with their local government, balance tourism’s relationships with residents and highlighted the importance of good governance in developing sustainable tourism initiatives with cities and communities.

A Certified B Corporation®, Frontiers North Adventures’ purpose is to share in the stewardship of the communities and environments in which it operates. “We are honoured to be recognized in this manner by our Canadian tourism industry peers and are proud to have contributed to the IMPACT community since its inception,” says the company’s President & CEO John Gunter.

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management  Ted Rogers School of Management,Toronto Metropolitan University has had a significant presence at IMPACT every year. Dr. Sonya Graci has been a presenter at three IMPACTS and professor Dr.Rachel Dodds honoured us by being our co-chair in year one. 

The award recipients each received a limited edition silkscreen print by Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas, entitled Serpent Cycle from Mark Loria Gallery in downtown Victoria. 

About the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference
IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference was created with the goal of aligning the Canadian tourism industry, as well as stakeholders and communities touched by tourism, behind a vision to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability. Co-founded by Synergy Enterprisestartanbond Communications, Starrboard Enterprises, and Destination Greater Victoria, it is held annually at the Victoria Conference Centre, a certified carbon neutral facility in Victoria, BC. Destination Greater Victoria is also the first destination management organization in Canada to become fully accredited as carbon neutral, a significant feat accomplished during the last 18 months.

IMPACT’s focus is on creating a collaborative space to to learn, innovate, and discover valid and practical solutions toward the positive legacy we want from the tourism and travel industry in a modern and progressive Canada. It is a safe place where theory meets practice, and where all voices and levels of expertise are welcome. Having strong Indigenous and new Canadian voices at the conference is also a critical component of the discussion.

Media Contacts:
Deirdre Campbell
, President,tartanbond 
C: 250.882.9199
E: deirdre.campbell@tartanbond.com

Jodi Westbury, VP Marketing Communications, Destination Greater Victoria:
C: 250.836-8317
E: jodi.westbury@tourismvictoria.com

January 31, 2023
The Parkside Hotel & Spa Joins Beyond Green and Receives Carbon-Positive Certification

A pioneer in sustainability, the hotel expands its focus on delivering intentional meetings and events

Victoria, BC/PRNewswire/—Situated in the heart of Victoria, just steps from the inner harbour and conference centre, The Parkside Hotel & Spa offers inviting meeting venues with multi-sensory experiences including expansive green areas and natural light, accessible indoor and outdoor spaces, and unique floor plan options. "We're excited to not only be the first urban hotel in the world to join Beyond Green, but also its first member hotel in Canada," shares General Manager Trina White. "Beyond Green is a global portfolio of hotels, resorts and lodges that represent sustainability in action and impact which aligns with our core commitment to sustainability, treading as lightly as possible on the environment."

Since opening in 2009, The Parkside Hotel & Spa has been a pioneer in promoting sustainable tourism in Victoria. A Green Key Global leader and Biosphere Certified, all elements of the hotel have been carefully thought out with a sustainable mindset. From diverting waste from landfills to partnering with local organizations like Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island, The Parkside was the second Carbon Neutral hotel in British Columbia's history and recently received Climate Positive certification, continuously building on each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Parkside Hotel & Spa works with many like-minded Victoria partners and suppliers. From Truffles Catering, and their commitment to innovation in environmental stewardship, to eco-friendly Silk Road Tea and fair trade, organic coffee by Level Ground, the hotel strives to source locally.

ABOUT THE PARKSIDE HOTEL & SPA 
The Parkside Hotel & Spa is committed to supporting a sustainable urban lifestyle, exploring, and adopting more sustainable practices to enhance the guest experience and ensuring the operation is treading as lightly as possible on the environment.

As a carbon-positive, all-suite hotel, accommodations at The Parkside feature fully equipped kitchens and kitchenettes, washers and dryers, private balconies, gas fireplaces, separate sleeping areas and plenty of space to relax and unwind.

Amenities include various meeting and event spaces, a wellness centre (featuring an onsite spa, 25-metre indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness centre), a private movie theatre, a rooftop patio with fire pits, along with Tre Fantastico Bistro. Uniquely Parkside—and fondly referred to as the heart of the hotel—the atrium is home to hundreds of plant species and koi.

The Parkside Hotel & Spa is a member of the Beyond Green collection. Learn more by visiting https://www.parksidevictoria.com.

ABOUT BEYOND GREEN
Guided by a passion to embrace travel as a force for good, Beyond Green is a global portfolio of planet earth's most sustainable hotels that represent sustainability leadership based upon action and impact. Offering travellers a more intuitive way to find and book authentic, conscious hotel experiences, each of Beyond Green's member properties is required to adhere to more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, all while delivering an exceptional guest experience. To learn more about Beyond Green and how the brand's member properties are working to protect biodiversity, celebrate cultural heritage, and improve local people's livelihoods in destinations around the world, visit www.StayBeyondGreen.com

SOURCE The Parkside Hotel & Spa

January 30, 2023
THE SUITE LIFE: W Toronto Debuts Suite Portfolio

Toronto, Canada—Ready for an upgrade? W Toronto today announces the unveiling of three premium suite categories, joining the Yorkville hotspot’s sophisticatedly playful guest room lineup. Designed by global creative agency, Sid Lee, the new suites at W Toronto continue the hotel’s celebration of the city’s iconic street and performance art scenes, cultural diversity, and legacy of non-conformity.   

“Since our debut last summer, W Toronto has been welcoming guests from all over the world who are in search of the unique and unexpected when it comes to a luxury-lifestyle hotel stay,” said Perry Pisani, Director of Sales & Marketing. “From our striking guest rooms to our wildly popular rooftop bar, we have delivered and are now raising the stakes even higher with a collection of suites that will take a stay at W Toronto to the next level.”

Design That Takes a Bow
Perfect for entertaining or simply an extraordinary hotel stay, the six new suites at W Toronto are available now for booking. All offer a nod to old Toronto glamour while celebrating the neighbourhood’s counterculture past and modern day, illustrious theatre district. Dripping in jewel-like tones of magentas, purples and mauves, each suite features theatrical design elements - from shimmery tassel curtains and up lighting adorning each plush, velvet bed frame to make every guest feel as though they are centre- stage.

Other touches include artwork and biophilia inside each room that embrace the city’s juxtaposition of nature with the man-made metropolis. Examples include fashion-forward 3D black and silver metallic faces and painted panels inspired by nature in hues of light pink and purple. Each bed also features “I Miss You”, a pillow featuring original art by local artist Julia Mercanti, illustrating the desire for human connection. Lastly, all suites feature spacious living spaces for gatherings, intimate events (or a good old private dance party) as well as a fully stocked MIXBAR (minibar) flanked by a gold orb designed to showcase drinks for guests.

W Toronto Suite Categories
Extreme WOW Suites (Presidential) - Two, 1,765 square foot bi-level suites featuring a bedroom, workspace and spacious, spa-inspired bathroom on the second level with round soaker tub and a shower for two. With city views, the E-WOW Suites include an expanded living room space, a dining table for eight and a full kitchenette complete with an oversized MIX Bar for entertaining.

WOW Suites (Vice Presidential) - Facing both the city and the courtyard (for prime people watching), the two, 1,090 square foot WOW Suites feature an expansive entertaining and dining space; a separate bedroom where the bed is flanked with dramatic, shimmery tassel curtains for peek-a-boo style privacy and a spa-inspired bathroom with jet and rainfall showers (with one WOW featuring a soaker tub).

Amplified Studio Suites - Featuring a large, open-concept bedroom and living space with plenty of plush seating - perfect for a cocktail hour with friends - the two, 667 sq. ft Amplified Studio Suites also feature workspaces, bathrooms with dual vanities and rainfall showers.

For more information or to book, please visit W Toronto and follow along via Instagram.

About W Hotels Worldwide
Born from the bold, 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels has redefined hospitality for over two decades, breaking the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With nearly 60 hotels around the globe, the detail-driven design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing, signature Living Rooms create an experience that is often imitated but never matched. Dynamic and invigorating, the brand celebrates each travellers’ desire to uncover the destination through a lens that is distinctly W. For more information on W Hotels, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. W Hotels Worldwide is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including complimentary nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.marriott.com.

About Marriott Bonvoy®
Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, gives members access to transformative, eye-opening experiences around the corner and across the globe. Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands offers renowned hospitality in the most memorable destinations in the world. Members can earn points for stays at hotels and resorts, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, as well as through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, members enjoy a level of personalization and contactless experience that allows them to travel with peace of mind. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit marriottbonvoy.com. To download the Marriott app, go here. Travellers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Media Contacts:
Rachelle Stark OR Naomi Strasser
Aerial Communications Group for W Toronto
rachelle@aerialpr.com / naomi@aerialpr.com

January 27, 2023
Explora Journeys announces its new ‘Journey Together Gatherings’ Programme

Geneva—Further to the two existing Journey Together programmes, Explora Journeys now introduces another group travel programme - ‘Journey Together Gatherings’ designed to expand travel opportunities for extended families or friendship groups.

Thanks to excellent collaboration with the travel advisor community, this builds on the Journey Together and Journey Together+ programmes, making planning and payment even more seamlessly convenient for ocean travellers, and offering benefits to travel advisors. 

The benefits of Journey Together Gatherings

Explora Journeys suites have been designed as ‘Homes at Sea’ with spacious living areas. When booking a minimum of three/maximum of four suites, with one suite required to be an Ocean Penthouse or Ocean Residence groups can enjoy this space together as a social hub, to gather, relax and enjoy each other’s company in a private setting. This is perfect for a gathering of friends or an extended multi-generational family. In addition, travellers with children will benefit from one under-18 in each suite sailing for free as well as complimentary transfers to the ship for all guests booked on the Journey Together Gathering programme. Travel advisors can benefit from Explora Journeys` rewarding commission payments.

Cindi Occhuizzo to lead Journey Together programmes, charter and incentive groups

The programme will be headed by newly appointed Charter and Journey Together Lead, Cindi Occhuizzo. After 30 years in the luxury travel industry including reputable brands such as Kuoni, Disney Cruise Line, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Cindi brings her global travel and hospitality industry experience to Explora Journeys. Over the years, she has developed strong relationships with third party event planners, incentive houses and corporate meeting planners throughout the world, and accumulated vast knowledge of the industry. Cindi will be supported by newly appointed Journey Together and Charter Operations Expert, Vilma Moutsatsos, who brings more than 24 years’ experience to the role, with a deep background in managing luxury travel groups and other large-scale events.

Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer, of Explora Journeys, said, “I am delighted to welcome Cindi and Vilma to our global charters and incentives team and I know they will be great assets for us in this important market. They will work closely with the MICE market as we roll out our Journey Together programmes to our luxury travellers. Designing our Journey Together Gatherings programme has been a highly collaborative process with the travel advisor community.  We are proud to launch this programme targeting gatherings of friends and multi-generational families.”

Bold Commercial Terms

Explora Journeys bold commercial terms are reflective of its collaborative approach with the travel advisor community. It has listened and responded, leveraging their many years of experience.  The ongoing terms include industry first rolling commission programme, generous levels up to 18% on Journeys and 10% on add-ons with commission being paid following receipt of deposits, no non-commissionable fares (NCFs) and commission paid on cancellation fees.

Journey Together

Designed for travel advisors to book small groups, extended and multi-generational families.  The new offering starts with five suites and a minimum of 10 guests.  Travel advisors can benefit from a complimentary host berth, rewarding commission payments and each suite reserved comes with a complimentary Journey Experience credit to use onboard.

Journey Together +

The programme starts with a 10 suite, 20 guest minimum and offers travel advisors a complimentary host suite, rewarding commissions and a value fare to significantly increase their profit potential. 

Full ship charter, meetings and incentive group requests can also be submitted by travel advisors and shipping brokers and are negotiated independently of the Journey Together programmes.  Full ship charter quotes are based upon the length of the customised journey and time of year.

For easy and efficient Journey Together Programmes bookings, travel advisors can choose one of the following seamless options: Contact Explora Journeys’ Journey Together Ambassadors via journeytogether@explorajourneys.com or use the Travel Advisor Only By-Appointment service www.explorajourneys.com/traveladvisors. Additionally, advisors can contact their local Business Relationship Leads. For more information visit the Explora Travel Advisor Centre.

In addition to English and German, www.explorajourneys.com is now available in French, Italian and Spanish.

For media inquiries please contact
explorajourneys@luchford.com / 0207 631 1000

About Explora Journeys  
Explora Journeys is the privately-owned luxury lifestyle brand of the MSC Group, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created at the heart of Swiss luxury hospitality. The brand stems from the long-held vision of the owners’ family to redefine the ocean experience for a new generation of discerning luxury travellers, drawing on the Aponte family`s 300 years of maritime heritage. The brand’s aspiration is to create a unique ‘Ocean State of Mind’ by connecting guests with the sea, with themselves, and like-minded people, while remarkable itineraries will blend renowned destinations with lesser-travelled ports, for a journey that inspires discovery in all its forms.  

 A fleet of six ships, two of which are under construction, will be launched from 2023 to 2028. Equipped with the latest environmental and marine technologies, Explora Journeys will introduce a modern style of transformative ocean travel. EXPLORA I offers 461 oceanfront suites, penthouses and residences designed to be ‘Homes at Sea’ for our guests, all with sweeping ocean views, private terrace, a choice of nine distinct culinary experiences, ten indoor and outdoor bars and lounges, four swimming pools, extensive outdoor decks with private cabanas, wellness facilities, and refined entertainment. Inspired by the company`s European heritage, Explora Journeys will provide guests with an immersive ocean experience and respectful and intuitive hospitality.  

To learn more about Explora Journeys, visit explorajourneys.com or follow us on  Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.   

Giorgia Martelli
Account Manager
LUCHFORD

51 Wells Street
London
W1T 3PP
T: +44 (0)20 7631 1000
M: +44 (0)7376 970409
W: www.luchford.com

January 24, 2023
Four Seasons Marks the Start of 2023 with New Leadership, Brand Extensions and Strategic Portfolio Growth

Under leadership of new President and CEO Alejandro Reynal, iconic luxury brand continues to drive global growth and strategic development across new and existing lines of business

Toronto, ON—Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons continues to expand its development pipeline, elevating its experiential offerings and accelerating bold new ventures that capitalize on the company’s strong business foundation and singular focus on the luxury segment. Through the lens of unmatched guest-centricity and personalization, Four Seasons is investing in a robust commercial strategy, enhancing its ability to meet the growing demand for travel and luxury experiences.

In October, the company appointed Alejandro Reynal as President and CEO, marking a new chapter that builds on Four Seasons renowned legacy and leadership position within the luxury hospitality industry.

“Since joining Four Seasons, I have seen firsthand the company’s clear competitive advantage: unparalleled service excellence, a renowned brand and a corporate culture powered by the genuine heart of its people,” says Reynal. “Four Seasons business is stronger than ever. Our experienced leadership team is well positioned to take advantage of the myriad opportunities ahead, focusing on an evolved growth strategy that continues to generate value for our hotel owners, employees, guests and residents.”

Reynal continues: “True luxury should always represent the authentic expression of personalization. At Four Seasons, this has always been our brand promise, and it inspires our people in every interaction. We continue to invest in our capabilities, empowering our teams with the tools they need to enhance the guest experience and elevate the genuine service that has always been our hallmark.”

A Growing Portfolio of Award-Winning Luxury Properties

For more than 60 years, Four Seasons has been defining the art of luxury hospitality, with an enviable global portfolio of 126 luxury hotels and resorts and 53 branded residences. In 2022, Four Seasons opened seven exceptional new properties, including new hotels and residences in Fort LauderdaleMinneapolis and Nashville, as well as two new resort experiences in Mexico, in Tamarindo, and with the opening of its first tented-resort in North America at Naviva, Punta Mita, A Four Seasons Resort. The company also expanded its growing collection of standalone Private Residences with new offerings in Marrakech and Dubai, providing discerning homeowners the opportunity to live with Four Seasons outside of a hotel or resort.

Four Seasons has more than 50 new projects under planning or development, including in Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Belize and many more, expanding and strengthening relationships with new and existing owner partners with each new property it opens. In the year ahead, the company will expand its offerings with two new planned hotel openings in China in Suzhou and Dalian; and projects in the Middle East including new residences in Bahrain Bay, a second hotel in Doha, and a new hotel in Rabat, Morocco.

Four Seasons recently announced upcoming projects that will further distinguish its global portfolio, from a historic legend in Venice to soaring new towers in Melbourne and Xi’an. In addition, the Middle East continues to be a market of key growth, with upcoming projects in Jeddah at the CornicheDiriyahNew Cairo Capital at MadinatyLuxor and Muscat.

Four Seasons Residential Business Drives Strategic Growth

Four Seasons Private Residences have been a natural extension of the brand since 1985, when the company’s first residential project opened in Boston. Almost 40 years later, Four Seasons achieved a milestone moment with the opening of the 50th Four Seasons Private Residences in Fort Lauderdale, with further additions welcomed to the portfolio by the end of 2022.

Residential continues to be a significant driver for Four Seasons strategic growth, with a robust five-year pipeline comprising more than 30 projects worldwide.

Central to Four Seasons residential growth strategy is the expansion of its standalone offerings. Since the first standalone opening in London in 2018, the offering has expanded to Los AngelesSan FranciscoMarrakech, and Dubai, the latter selling out prior to going to public sales. Upcoming openings are slated in Lake Austin and beyond.

Taking to the Skies, Seas and Roads with Four Seasons

In addition to new hotel and residential openings, Four Seasons has expanded its experiential offerings to provide guests new and distinctive ways to engage with the brand, including the Four Seasons Private Jet ExperienceAt Home Collection, and the recently announced Four Seasons Yachts. A collection of nearly 600 restaurants and bars worldwide and 126 spas also extends the Four Seasons experience, welcoming a growing segment of repeat local guests. Four Seasons restaurants and bars are built upon best-in-class, innovative concepts that are brought to life by craftspeople who share a passion for incredible service and exceptional culinary offerings.

In the skies, guests can experience the brand’s legendary service aboard the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience. Late last year, an all-new jet – designed with input from past guests – took flight, taking guests on bespoke journeys around the globe. With 2023 itineraries nearly sold out and a full calendar of 2024 journeys just announced, the program continues to grow.

In September 2022, Four Seasons announced the introduction of Four Seasons Yachts. With the first vessel anticipated to embark in 2025, the 679-foot (207 metre) yacht will offer an unprecedented level of personalized service, with a 1:1 guest to staff ratio, and expansive, residential-style suite accommodations among many other on-board amenities.

Following the success of the inaugural Beyond by Four Seasons driving journey in Tuscany in 2022, new and exciting itineraries will be unveiled later this year giving travellers the opportunity to explore exceptional destinations behind the wheel of a classic or modern luxury sportscar.

Across every touchpoint, on the ground, in the sky and soon on the seas, guests will enjoy the genuine, personalized service and care delivered by Four Seasons more than 60,000 employees worldwide, and for which the brand has been renowned for more than 60 years.

Source: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

January 23, 2023
Porter Airlines launching redesigned VIPorter loyalty program

Program offers new benefits and enables frequent travellers to quickly earn valuable perks

Toronto—Aligned with the start of Porter Airlines’ new Embraer E195-E2 jet service on February 1, 2023, the airline is relaunching its VIPorter loyalty program. The program's new structure expands membership levels, adds benefits and makes it easier for frequent economy travellers to earn the perks they value faster than with any other Canadian airline.

“As we expand our network across North America and introduce amenities for all our passengers that create an elevated economy travel experience, we are also offering our VIPorter members new benefits and bringing frequent travellers perks that other airlines typically only provide to their most elite passengers,” said Kevin Jackson, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Porter Airlines. “VIPorter enables members to earn valuable benefits with fewer flights and less annual spend, further elevating the experience for economy travellers.”

VIPorter members earn a minimum of five VIPorter points for every dollar they spend with Porter, including on airfares, checked bags, flight changes and seat selection. Points can be redeemed for flights across the growing Porter network using either points-only or a combination of points and cash. VIPorter plans to introduce the ability to earn and redeem points on other services and airline partners as the airline grows.

Members may redeem as few as 5,000 VIPorter points for a one-way short-haul flight, and as few as 8,500 VIPorter points for a long-haul flight. A combination of points and cash enables passengers to discount their air fare. There are no capacity limits - if a seat is available for sale, points may be used to purchase the seat.

“Other airline programs make earning points and redeeming benefits overly complex, and typically don’t provide full earning power at lower fares. We value the loyalty of all of our passengers. That’s why our members earn 100% of their points on all Porter fares, including Basic economy. That’s just another way we respect economy travellers,” said Jackson.

Once members reach $2,000 in qualifying spend in a calendar year, they become an Avid Traveller. This provides more benefits, which increase as they move through the four Avid Traveller membership levels. Additional perks include faster points accumulation, dedicated airport services, complimentary seat assignments, complimentary PorterClassic Stretch seats with more legroom, complimentary checked baggage and travel flexibility. Members can access these perks sooner than with any other Canadian airline. 

With the the relaunch of the program, VIPorter is adding a number of new member benefits, including: 

  • Earning a minimum of 5 points per dollar on Basic economy fares, up from 2 points per dollar.
  • The expansion to five published membership levels from three, including the introduction of four Avid Traveller categories, with increasing benefits as members move through the levels based on their accumulated annual spend.
  • Introduction of Head Start, which enables Avid Travellers to carry over any qualifying spend above the minimum required to qualify for an Avid Traveller level into the next calendar year. This feature gives members a head start on maintaining or growing their valued Avid Traveller perks. Head Start ensures members are fully recognized for every dollar they spend with Porter.
  • Members with at least $3,000 in qualifying spend receive a PorterReserve certificate, giving them a confirmed PorterReserve all-inclusive travel experience. Unlike other airlines, the PorterReserve experience is fully confirmed at the time of booking a PorterClassic fare. Members earn more PorterReserve certificates for every additional $2,000 in qualifying spend within the year.
  • Extension of Avid Traveller benefits for up to 18 months due to parental leave.
  • VIPorter members enjoy Porter’s free, fast WiFi onboard its new E195-E2 fleet without advertising interruption. Members simply login to the onboard WiFi portal with their VIPorter number and password.

A complete overview is available on Porter’s website. Existing members will also receive an email by February 1, confirming the updated program level they qualify for.

Registration in VIPorter is free and new members earn a 500 VIPorter point bonus after their first flight.

Porter is elevating economy air travel for everyone, with its signature free beer and wine in glassware, free premium snacks for all passengers, plus free, high-speed WiFi and in-flight entertainment for every passenger on the E195-E2 fleet. Based on fare preference, passengers then select  their amenities or reserve them all, including freshly-crafted, healthy meals on longer flights, free check-in of an extra piece of luggage, and more.

Source: Porter Airlines

January 19, 2023
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Completes Multimillion-Dollar Renovation

Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, a warmly, inviting upscale hotel with 428 elegant guest rooms has announced the completion of their multi-million dollar renovation. Hilton Alexandria Mark Center's refresh included the debut of the new Sushi Bar and Marketplace, revitalized lobby and public spaces, guest rooms, and meetings and event rooms.

Host The Event of The Season in The Heart of Old Town…
With over 48,000 square feet of refreshed event space, it's no surprise that Hilton Alexandria Mark Center is the premier spot for hosting and toasting. With 37 meeting rooms, all inspired by Georgian and Victorian architecture and the styles of local artists, the iconic spaces create an unforgettable venue for attendees of conferences, industry events, black-tie galas, and more.

For those looking to tie the knot, there are plenty of options to choose from, including The Plaza Ballroom which serves as the largest event space at 10,200 square feet. Hilton Alexandria Mark Center has a dedicated team of specialists to offer well-rounded support, from overseeing rehearsal dinner festivities to wedding receptions. An on-site audio and visual company is conveniently available to assist with all events, and the airport shuttle can transport out-of-town attendees.

Perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing, is the hotel's public spaces. A relaxing patio, romantic gazebo, and evergreen gardens are there to greet travelers and locals alike. Convenience is one of the many perks of the hotel as guests can easily access the main Washington, DC monuments and attractions, and the quaint waterfront galleries and shops in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Break Away from the Sights and Retreat to Newly Renovated Guest Rooms…
Guests will revel in the all-new renovated, spacious guest rooms and one- or two-bedroom suites. Offering contemporary elegance with modern conveniences, the guest rooms have a refreshed color palate of calming blues and neutrals, complemented with warm wood tones, bringing a harmonious balance to the already beautiful setting. The expansive one-bedroom suites include a living area adorned with the signature rich blue color palette and calming wood tones. The Executive Level rooms are located on the top three floors of the hotel, offering panoramic views of Washington, DC and its monuments, Old Town Alexandria, and the National Harbor.

Sushi Bar Serves Exotic Sushi Creations from Award-Winning Chef Kim…
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center's premier Sushi Bar offers world class sushi in a warm, romantic setting. Previously located in the Finn & Porter Restaurant, the Sushi Bar now sits in the lobby hotel, adjacent to the bar, bringing more visibility to the fine art of sushi. Award-winning Chef Kim showcases his techniques by rolling out sashimi and exotic sushi creations, along with a newly added ramen counter where guests can customize their own ramen dish.

As one of the few sushi restaurants in Alexandria, highlights of the new Sushi Bar menu include Maki Sushi Rolls, Nigiri Sushi Rolls, and Chef's Specialty Rolls which include: The Rainbow Roll, South Pacific Roll, and Flying Dragon Roll. There will also be a high-end selection of Saké such as the Joto "The Blue One" Junmai Nigori or Fu-ki Junmai, along with Japanese beer options as well. A great addition to Finn & Porter, the hotel's in-house restaurant, known for its seafood and prime steaks, the Sushi Bar is famous for the freshest sushi with an upscale fusion style ambiance. Open daily.

Discover Old Town's Hidden Gems at the NewMarketplace…
Explore the newly opened Marketplace at Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, where guests can buy gifts from Alexandria Virginia's Old Town Shop, as well as find locally sourced products and treats for all. Travelers can stop by and discover all the Marketplace has to offer, whether it's Virginia wines, honey, fruit, popcorn, and other savory or sweet treats, all while supporting local businesses.

About Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
Located on the West End of Historic Alexandria, adjacent to the Winkler Botanical Preserve and minutes from Old Town Alexandria, on a serene lake surrounded by landscaped gardens, sits the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. Owned by a private investment fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital Partners, L.L.C and managed by Davidson Hotels, the recently renovated 35-story hotel is home to 428 guest rooms, a premier sushi bar, the fine-dining Finn and Porter lobby restaurant, the indoor-outdoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and the newly opened Marketplace, which features gifts, products and treats from local Alexandria Businesses. In addition, the hotel boasts 37,000 square feet of event space, with the largest room at 10,200 square feet, along with the stylish Plaza Ballroom, a relaxing patio, romantic gazebo, and evergreen gardens, providing the perfect ambiance for business conferences, industry events, black tie galas and intimate weddings.

Source: Hilton

January 19, 2023
TIAC Launches Tourism Town Halls 2023

Ottawa ON—The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is announcing the launch of its 2023 series of Tourism Town Halls, kicking off today in Saskatoon. The industry-wide event is delivered by TIAC to reach all tourism industry stakeholders from coast to coast to coast. It provides an opportunity to meet with TIAC and its partners to better understand efforts on national and local tourism issues, and offers a forum for open dialogue, discussion, and constructive debate.

“We are encouraging and welcoming businesses and organizations in all sectors of the tourism economy to participate in our Town Halls this year,” says Beth Potter, President & CEO of TIAC. “As we strive to rebuild the industry post-pandemic, the time to come together to discuss the challenges we continue to face and find solutions is now.”

Each Town Hall is a full-day event that includes a morning session focused on innovation and sustainability best-practices and the sharing of experiences, while also highlighting digitization, market-readiness, research and training. Following a complimentary lunch, the Town Hall session will give tourism stakeholders the chance to provide first-hand input on issues affecting their business.

Attendees will also get an overview of the plans to reposition and grow Canada's visitor economy, including all verticals from leisure/business travel, travel trade, meetings and conventions and sports tourism.

The Town Halls continue through April with the following schedule:
• January 19, Saskatchewan
• January 27, British Columbia
• February 1, Ontario
• February 21, Nova Scotia
• February 22, Quebec
• February 23, New Brunswick
• March 7, Manitoba
• March 15, Yukon
• March 17, Nunavut
• March 21, Newfoundland and Labrador
• March 30, Prince Edward Island
• April 4, Northwest Territories
• TBD, Alberta

The Tourism Town Halls series is made possible this year with the support of the Government of Canada and sponsors including Destination Canada, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Tourism HR Canada, and WestJet.

Visit here to learn more about the Town Halls and to register.

ABOUT TIAC
Founded in 1930 to encourage the development of tourism in Canada, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada serves today as the national private-sector advocate for the pre-pandemic $105 billion travel sector. Based in Ottawa, TIAC takes action on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses and promotes positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper. TIAC is responsible for representing tourism interests at the national level, and its advocacy work involves promoting and supporting policies, programs and activities that will benefit the sector's growth and development. TIAC's membership reflects partnerships among all sectors of the industry, and provincial, territorial and regional tourism associations, enabling the association to address the full range of issues facing Canadian tourism.

For more information, visit: tiac-aitc.ca.

Media Contact:
Director, Communications & Media Relations
Tourism Industry Association of Canada
t: 613-238-7887 ext. 8765
e: mwimmer@tiac-aitc.ca

January 18, 2023
Meliá Hotels International and Falcon’s Beyond Debut Falcon’s Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana

The new property brings “resortainment” to the Caribbean blending premium resort amenities with extraordinary entertainment

Meliá Hotels International (“Meliá") (BME: MEL), one of the world's leading leisure hotel companies operating more than 380 hotels throughout 40 countries, and its joint venture partner Falcon's Beyond (“Falcon's Beyond" or the “Company"), a global entertainment development company, today announces the opening of Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana. It is the first resort to open under the new leisure and entertainment-based brand, Falcon's Resorts by Meliá that offers a unique “resortainment" hospitality experience. 

The new brand seamlessly blends premium resort amenities with extraordinary entertainment experiences, including access to a new world-class theme park, Katmandu Park | Punta Cana, just steps away from the property. Now through March 15, 2023, resort guests will receive exclusive access to select attractions, as a sneak peek before the full park opens to the public. In the future, guests will also have direct access to vibrant and curated dining, shopping, and entertainment venues as part of a larger destination experience in development. 

Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana, a five-star all-inclusive resort located on the Dominican Republic's Bávaro Beach, is a multi-phase transformation of two existing Meliá properties, Paradisus Grand Cana and Garden Suites by Meliá, comprising 622 rooms. Phase one, has rebranded Paradisus Grand Cana and includes 432 luxury suites, three swimming pools, nine specialty restaurants and a world-class spa & fitness center. Phase two, the rebrand of Garden Suites by Meliá, will include 190 rooms, to be completed by late 2023. Incorporating the beauty of the Caribbean landscape, common areas are filled with bright, natural light, and designed to inspire vibrant, sophisticated fun that complement the property's bold details. 

“It is a sincere honor to welcome guests to the first Falcon's Resort by Meliá property in beautiful Punta Cana," said André Gerondeau, COO of Meliá Hotels International. “Meliá has deep roots in the Dominican Republic – with our first property opening in Punta Cana over 30 years ago. The development of Falcon's Resort by Meliá will add a new level of casual, sophisticated, and unexpected fun to the traditional vacation experience." 

Beyond Suites

Designed for every type of traveler, the property's suites range from 800 to 2990 square feet with spacious living areas, furnished private balconies and terraces complete with spectacular views of the garden or main pool. The spacious suites feature a dining area and bar counter for cocktails or morning coffee and a lounge area equipped with a smart TV and comfortable seating. Resort guests who book a standard suite will receive one 1-use pass to Katmandu Park, per guest. 

Guests can also upgrade to The Beyond Suite Experience, providing an elevated room and exclusive benefits to enhance their stay. These include a personalized Beyond Concierge, priority reservations for activities and restaurants, customized turn-down, a dinner experience around the Beyond Pool (one per stay) and a multi-day pass to Katmandu Park.With this upgrade, guests can also select from a variety of accommodation categories, including swim-up suites with a relaxing whirlpool bathtub on their private terrace. 

Global Cuisine and an Elegant Spa 

Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana will offer nine restaurant concepts providing a wide variety of global cuisine. Diners can indulge in culinary experiences from Asian, Latin, Mediterranean, and Caribbean menus offering international flavors using local ingredients. Top-shelf liquor and wines are available throughout the property's four bars.  

Discerning travelers can indulge in the services and treatments at MAIA Signature Spa by Natura Bissé. Setting the trend in combining avant-garde techniques with technological innovation and traditional therapies, MAIA Signature Spa provides peace, serenity, and total relaxation. 

Caribbean's First-Ever Theme Park: Foundation of Resortainment

Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana is one component of a new $350 million entertainment destination called Falcon's Beyond Destinations that will feature three distinct guest experiences: the resort, a new theme park and a retail, dining, and entertainment district called Falcon's Central. Through the property's “resortainment" offering, guests can complement their beach vacation in the Caribbean with a theme park experience at the all-new Katmandu Park | Punta Cana.  

The state-of-the-art Katmandu Park | Punta Cana will transport guests through immersive storytelling experiences, including four marquee attractions and the use of several proprietary never-before-seen ride technologies. Additional attractions include 36-holes of mini golf, an outdoor ropes course and Katmandu-themed carousel among others.   

“We are thrilled to bring one-of-a-kind 'resortainment' experiences to the Caribbean with the opening of Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana and Katmandu Park | Punta Cana," said Cecil D. Magpuri, CEO of Falcon's Beyond. “Our distinctive big experience and small footprint theme park concept provides our guests with access to innovative ride technologies, immersive experiences and other day and night entertainment. This combination creates an extraordinary beach getaway with endless thrills and adventure for families, groups, couples and travelers of all ages." 

Going Beyond with Innovative BeyondME™ Technology 

In early 2023, resort guests can also access BeyondME™, a new fan loyalty and online game platform that will enable individuals of all ages to connect, personalize, and be rewarded for their engagement across both digital and real-world experiences. The BeyondME smart wearable technology provides access to rooms, Katmandu Park | Punta Cana rides, park passes and individual profiles, and enables guests to conduct cashless transactions and interact with various attractions and immersive touch points across the properties.  

BeyondME encourages players to gain “experience points," called XP, by participating in a variety of real-world experiences across the resort, park, Falcon's Central and virtual experiences within the BeyondME web app, and by playing BeyondME-enabled online games. XP points can be redeemed for various discounts and upgrades. MeliáRewards members will soon be able to link their account to unlock higher BeyondME status tiers and convert MeliaRewards points to XP. Guests staying in a Beyond Suite will receive extra XP points and higher tiered status during their stay.   

“This new type of 'resortainment' experience will change the way we think about the traditional beach vacation," said Scott Demerau, Executive Chairman of Falcon's Beyond. “Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana and Katmandu Park | Punta Cana is redefining the tourism experience in the Dominican Republic. We are thrilled to partner with Meliá Hotels International to bring this entertainment destination to life."  

Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana also features two offerings for kids: the Habitat Club and BLAST! Waterpark. Habitat Club is a modern and spacious kids club that encourages children of multiple age groups to explore their many curiosities through creative activity programs. At the resort's BLAST! Waterpark, kids can enjoy multiple attractions and water slides to cool off from the Caribbean heat. 

Meliá and Falcon's will develop multiple Falcon's Beyond Destination locations across the globe in the upcoming years, including sites in Tenerife, Canary Islands, and Mexico. 

Falcon's Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana opening rates start at $420 per night for standard rooms and $700 per night for Beyond Suites, all-inclusive at double occupancy. 

On July 12, 2022, Falcon's Beyond announced plans to become a publicly listed company on Nasdaq through a definitive merger agreement with FAST Acquisition Corp. II (NYSE: FZT), a special purpose acquisition company founded by Doug Jacob and headed by Sandy Beall. Upon the closing of the transaction, the new combined company will be named “Falcon's Beyond Global, Inc." and is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “FBYD." More information about the transaction can be found in the Investor Relations section of Falcon's website. 

Source: Meliá Hotels International

January 18, 2023
Marriott International Announces Instant Booking Solution for Meetings and Events With Groups360

Marriott International now offers online instant booking for group guest rooms and meeting space through GroupSync Marketplace at properties in the U.S. & Canada

Bethesda, MD—Marriott International and Groups360 today announced the launch of Instant Booking for Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada. Marriott International is the first brand to have a direct integration with Groups360 to offer the “Instant Book” functionality for both guest rooms and meeting space at scale on GroupSync Marketplace, providing planners with a streamlined booking process at the click of a button.

As the meetings and events landscape becomes more dynamic, many planners are currently challenged by the lengthy sourcing and contracting process, especially for smaller events. The need to book meeting space separately from guest rooms only adds complexity. GroupSync’s direct integration with Marriott now offers planners access to real-time best available group rates and inventory at over 1,500 Marriott properties across the United States and Canada, with additional growth expected throughout 2023. Once the instant booking is completed on GroupSync, hotels receive instant notification for faster handling and execution of small meetings.* This new capability significantly reduces planning time and directly addresses the needs of Marriott’s group customers.

In addition, planners now have the benefit of viewing inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events at all Marriott hotels globally. The combination of these new capabilities turns the “sourcing” process into the “shopping” or “buying” process, simplifying the way planners book meetings.

“Through our collaboration with Groups360, we can now deliver real-time instant booking through GroupSync Marketplace at hotels in the U.S. and Canada,” said Drew Pinto, Global Officer, Global Sales, Distribution and Revenue Management, Marriott International. “This offers our group customers what they have told us they are looking for, which is a much more seamless and efficient booking experience. Our industry-leading integration with Groups360 will also allow all Marriott hotels globally to receive and respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently through a two-way response process. This will be a win-win for both planners and hotels.”

“We are thrilled to have Marriott International join GroupSync Marketplace. Event organizers benefit not only from instant booking for rooms and space but from à la carte catering and equipment ordering, too,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360. “Their involvement is a testament to the commitment to reduce friction in group travel planning and help hoteliers, like Marriott, enhance their customer relationships. With the addition of Marriott International, we anticipate that over 20,000 leading hotel properties will be equipped to offer online group booking in the months ahead.”

Marriott is celebrating the GroupSync Marketplace launch by giving away 1 million Marriott Bonvoy® points with the Plan to Win Giveaway. To enter the giveaway, instantly book your small event for the chance to win 30,000 points, or book a larger event using GroupSync's streamlined RFP process at one of Marriott’s extraordinary hotel brands for a chance to win 20,000 points. Visit Marriott-GroupSync Giveaway for complete details and rules.

*A small meeting is defined as 10-25 guest rooms on peak and/or events for up to 50 attendees, starting 4 days out and up to 1 year out with a maximum length of stay of 7 days.

Groups360, LLC
Groups360 was created with a singular goal — to empower meeting planners by bringing innovation, transparency, and simplicity to the decades-old problem of booking groups. The company’s technology, GroupSync™, enables suppliers to distribute inventory, engage with planners, and optimize group revenue. GroupSync also equips planners to search and shop hotels worldwide and book rooms and space directly, online, or through a simplified RFP process. GroupSync is the first distribution channel to offer online booking for both group hotel rooms and meeting space. Groups360 has offices in Nashville, London, and Singapore. Learn more at groups360.com.

Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc., (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of nearly 8,200 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.Marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.MarriottNewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact 

Noelle Perillo
Sr. Director, Public Relations, U.S. & Canada
Marriott International
Noelle.Perillo@marriott.com

Hal Hassall
VP Marketing
GROUPS360
+1 (615) 972-5119
hal.hassall@groups360.com

January 17, 2023
Sport Tourism Canada Issues RFP for Event Management Contract

Proposals being accepted for Sport Events Congress 2023 Event Production

Sport Tourism Canada (STC) invites Proponents to submit a formal proposal in response to this Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide event planning and management services to support the coordination and delivery of the 2023 Sport Events Congress (SEC23).

SEC23 is scheduled to occur June 6-8, 2023, in Richmond, British Columbia, at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel and the Vancouver Airport Marriott. The RFP will be available for interested parties to make submissions until Friday, January 27, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

STC is hosting SEC23 in partnership with Richmond Sport Hosting, Tourism Richmond, and the Richmond Hotel Association. Originally the Richmond Congress was contracted to take place in 2021, but due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, was postponed to June 2023.  As a result, initial planning deliverables of SEC23 have been secured with event space and room blocks contracted at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel and the Vancouver Airport Marriott.  An initial program schedule has been drafted with further input and securing of speakers to take place over the next 5 months with the successful event management coordinator.

More than just a conference, SEC23 includes both education and business development opportunities that are all presented in a fun and experiential manner. SEC focuses on delivering a high-quality delegate experience that integrates best practices such as diversity, inclusion and equity and sustainable event hosting practices.

All interested applicants can submit questions or request points of clarification in advance of submitting their proposal.  Questions must be sent electronically to sec@sporttourismcanada.com and will be accepted until 5:00pm PT, Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and a contact from STC will work to the best of their ability to respond electronically.

January 16, 2023
Hard Rock® Completes Acquisition of The Mirage Hotel & Casino®

Las Vegas, NEV.—Hard Rock International (HRI) on Friday received regulatory approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for its acquisition of The Mirage Hotel & Casino from MGM Resorts International. HRI assumed operations control of the property as of 6 a.m. Monday, December 19. Under terms of the transaction, HRI paid $1.075 billion in cash for the operating assets of The Mirage Hotel & Casino. HRI entered into a long-term lease agreement with VICI Properties Inc. for the real estate property of The Mirage.

The 3,044-room casino resort will continue to operate as The Mirage Hotel & Casino until the renovation and rebranding of the property to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is complete. The process is anticipated to take an extended period, but ultimately will dramatically reimagine every aspect of the resort and change the Las Vegas skyline with the addition of a Guitar-shaped hotel tower adjacent to Las Vegas Blvd.

“Today, we’d like to officially welcome the 3,500 team members at The Mirage to the 45,000 global Hard Rock family and express our gratitude to the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission for approving the gaming license for us to operate The Mirage Hotel & Casino,” said Jim Allen, Chairman, Hard Rock International. “We are excited to create an integrated resort on The Strip that will make this legendary entertainment community proud.”

Daily operations of the famed Las Vegas resort are set to continue under The Mirage brand for the foreseeable future, and all room reservations and group bookings will be honored with no action required by guests or group organizers. The Mirage will continue to offer world-class entertainment and dining options including, Cirque Du Soleil’s The Beatles™ LOVE™ through 2023. There are no plans to close The Mirage or to lay off any of the team members as one media outlet incorrectly reported recently.

Casino players and guests will now enjoy Unity™ by Hard Rock, a global loyalty program unlike any other that will enable patrons to earn and redeem rewards at participating Hard Rock Hotels, Cafes, and Casinos around the globe.

Prior to 2020, Hard Rock International had no previous operational involvement with the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas at the off-strip location. HRI purchased the licensing and naming rights for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in May 2020 and vowed to bring the iconic brand to the Las Vegas Strip when the right opportunity presented itself.

Hard Rock expects to release details of the rebranded and reimagined resort, its new features and attractions, and development timeline at the end of 2023. Barclays served as exclusive financial advisor to Hard Rock International in connection with the transaction, and Jones Day served as legal advisor to Hard Rock International together with Fox Rothschild LLP and McDonald Carano LLP as special gaming counsel.

About The Mirage®:
The Mirage’s iconic history began as the Strip’s first megaresort and continues to offer guests an exotic world-class destination unlike any other. The resort features contemporary accommodations; dynamic entertainment including The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, Shin Lim: LIMITLESS and the Aces of Comedy series; tantalizing restaurants created by the world’s most renowned chefs including Tom Colicchio, and a luxurious spa and salon. As of December 19, 2022, The Mirage Hotel & Casino is owned and operated by Hard Rock International (HRI) as it transitions into an era with refreshed energy. Mirage guests and visitors can earn and use points on Hard Rock’s global platform, Unity™, at more than 150 participating Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels and Casinos anywhere in the world. For more information and reservations, visit mirage.com, call toll free at (800) 374-9000, or find us on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

About Hard Rock®:
Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in over 70 countries spanning 265 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 86,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. In 2022, Hard Rock was once again named Land Based Operator of the Year at the Global Gaming Awards, a designation the company has received three times in five years. Hard Rock Hotels was honored as the number one brand in Outstanding Guest Satisfaction for the second year in a row among Upper Upscale Hotels in J.D. Power’s North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study. This designation is the fourth consecutive year the iconic brand has been among top brands in this category. HRI is the first privately-owned gaming company designated U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal for the second year. Hard Rock was also honored as one of Forbes’ Best Employers for Women, Diversity and New Grads and a Top Large Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. In 2021, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos received first place ranking in the Casino Gaming Executive Satisfaction Survey conducted by Bristol Associates Inc. and Spectrum Gaming Group for six of the last seven years. Hard Rock International currently holds investment grade ratings from primary investment rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB) and Fitch Ratings (BBB). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com or shop.hardrock.com.

January 16, 2023
Pickering Casino Resort Hotel NOW OPEN

275-Room Hotel Newest Venue to Open at Great Canadian Entertainment’s New $500M Pickering Casino Resort

Toronto, ON—Great Canadian Entertainment, Canada’s leader in gaming and hospitality, today announced that the brand new 275-room Pickering Casino Resort Hotel is now open and accepting reservations

Located east of downtown Toronto, Pickering Casino Resort Hotel is located within the Pickering Casino Resort, the newly opened $500M premier entertainment destination which features a 96,000 sq. ft. casino, Great Canadian Sportsbook, exceptional dining venues, a 2,500-seat theatre and event space, and flexible meeting space.

The brand-new hotel’s 275 well-appointed guest rooms range from 388 sq ft to 775 sq ft, including 33 elegant and spacious suites with separate living space and 22 accessible rooms with thoughtful and convenient adjustments. All rooms and suites were designed with a residential feel and conveniences, sweeping city or lake views, and superior amenities including free Wi-Fi, fridge, safe and 55-inch smart TVs, as well as complimentary enclosed parking. As a special introductory benefit, until January 31, 2023, Great Canadian Rewards members receive 25% off the Flexible Rate for stays booked through December 30, 2023. Resort fees are waived for all hotel stays through February 28, 2023.

A short drive from downtown Toronto, the resort is a perfect destination for business and leisure, offering premier accommodations alongside flexible meeting and event space for up to 2,500 guests, catering, state-of-the-art technology and multiple entertainment options that are perfect for conferences, corporate meetings and retreats. The resort will also debut a host of new amenities such as a motion pool, health and fitness club, and a 24-hour business centre in the coming weeks. 

“We are committed to offering the very best in entertainment to destinations across Canada and continually heightening the experience for our guests while investing in the communities in which we operate,” said Matthew Anfinson, Chief Executive Officer, Great Canadian Entertainment. “Pickering Casino Resort is a great example of our vision to introduce multi-venue attractions that anchor the very best in hospitality, dining, and entertainment, while allowing us to create over 1,000 meaningful jobs and provide significant economic benefit for Durham region. 

Great Canadian Entertainment, along with our partners, are very excited to invite everyone to experience this very special resort and look forward to sharing more news as even more dining and amenities open over the coming weeks.” 

RESORT HIGHLIGHTS

Casino
Equipped with the latest in gaming technology, the casino features 2,200 slot machines, over 90 “live” table games and approximately 140 “live dealer” stadium gaming terminals, and the Great Canadian Sportsbook, a dedicated lounge where fans can watch their favourite teams compete and live domestic and international sporting events, enjoy their favourite game-day food and beverage options and place bets at one of several kiosks. 

The Arena at Pickering Casino Resort
A highly anticipated 2,500 seat entertainment venue will host its first live event on January 28th and continue to feature the best in concerts, sports action and special events. 

Dining (currently open)

Sun Sui Wah
Hong Kong’s heralded Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant has delighted discriminating palates in Hong Kong and Vancouver for over three decades. The legendary Chinese restaurant’s warm hospitality and elevated cuisine is now open at Pickering Casino Resort, offering authentic, refined Cantonese cuisine including handcrafted dim sum, premium live seafood, slow simmered soup, traditional Hong Kong style barbeque, and its world-renowned roasted squab. Reservations recommended. 

CA·SU·AL
Enjoy CA·SU·AL, a gastropub experience with an expansive local craft beer menu and robust menu featuring meat, fish, pasta and shared plates to satisfy everyone’s palate. 

Rock House Grill 
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Rock House Grill offers a variety of local café favourites from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. Whether you’re craving an omelet, salad, fried chicken or a burger with all the 'fixins’, Rock House Grill’s casual vibe and great food is the perfect spot all day. 

ZIOs
Whether you’re traditional and prefer classics like pepperoni pizza, fettuccini alfredo, a chicken parmesan sandwich or enjoy artisan offerings like truffle mushroom or gyro pizza, ZIOs is cooking up fresh Italian pizza, pasta and sandwiches Wednesday – Sunday until 2 a.m.  

Five additional restaurants, from quick serve and fast casual to fine dining - including Copperhorn Meet House - will open this winter, bringing nine distinct food and beverage concepts to the resort. 

Great Canadian Rewards
Great Canadian Rewards members can take advantage of exclusive offers, including the lowest available rates, free or discounted stays, and other valuable benefits at Pickering Casino Resort Hotel, and across the company’s 12 properties in Ontario.

To book a hotel room or learn more about Pickering Casino Resort, please visit: www.pickeringcasino.com

To learn more about Great Canadian Rewards please visit: www.greatcanadian.com/greatcanadianrewards

About Great Canadian Entertainment
Founded in 1982, Great Canadian Entertainment is Canada’s premier gaming and hospitality company with 25 gaming, entertainment and hospitality facilities in Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Great Canadian’s largest project in its history  is currently underway at Casino Woodbine in Toronto, Ontario, which once complete will include a 400-room hotel, 5,000-seat entertainment venue, new parkade, and multiple food and beverage venues. 

Committed to investing in and offering opportunity to those in the communities in which it operates, Great Canadian supports over 1400 charitable and non-profit organizations across Canada under its PROUD program; "PROUD of our people, our business, our community". A significant portion of gross gaming revenue from Great Canadian’s gaming facilities is retained by Crown partners on behalf of their provincial governments for the purpose of supporting programs that benefit healthcare, education, and social services in Canada. To learn more, please visit www.greatcanadian.com

Media Contacts:
Naomi Strasser or Mindy Cummings 
Aerial Communications Group 
naomi@aerialpr.com / mindy@aerialpr.com

Chuck Keeling
Executive Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement, Community and Social Responsibility
ckeeling@gcgaming.com

January 12, 2023
Amstar DMC joins the Select Group Marketing collection of DMC’s With the goal to grow the Canadian MICE market

Toronto, Ontario—It is with great pleasure and excitement that Select Group Marketing announces our appointment as representative for Amstar DMC Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Hawaii in the Canadian market.

Amstar is a full-service destination management company with a track record of over 30 years of delivering exceptional experiences in some of the world's most beautiful locations.

Amstar Meetings & Events Vice President, Michael Freedman, says “we are thrilled to have a solid organization like SGM on the ground in Canada doing the legwork for us and we are looking forward to welcoming many Canadian groups”.

Amstar has won numerous awards for their excellent work in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Hawaii.

Amongst them are:

  • The Stella Awards 2018, 2019 and 2020 for the best DMC Regional, International and U.S. Territories and
  • Site Crystal Awards 2016 and 2020 for the Most Impactful effort toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of an incentive program.

Select Group Marketing’s President, Jan Zandboer, says “Amstar is a great addition to our portfolio. Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Hawaii are solid destinations for the Meeting, Incentive and Group markets in Canada, providing many exciting historic and cultural venues. Lots of historical sites are available for off property events”.

For over 35 years, Select Group Marketing's specialist knowledge and experience has provided value to meeting, incentive planners and industry partners alike. Representing International Destination Management Companies, SGM continually strives to establish itself as the preferred supplier to buyers and sellers of worldwide products suitable to the Canadian group, meeting and incentive markets.

To learn more about Amstar and/or Select Group Marketing please contact
Jan Zandboer, President
Select Group Marketing
905-999-2604
jan@sgm-canada.com
www.sgm-canada.com

January 12, 2023
Four Seasons Announces Key Appointments to Operations Leadership Team

Promotions of Rainer Stampfer and Rami Sayess further strengthen Four Seasons global operations across new and existing hotels, resorts, residences and experiential offerings

TorontoFour Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, announces key appointments to its operations leadership team with the promotion of Rainer Stampfer to President, Global Operations, Hotels and Resorts, and Rami Sayess to President, Hotel Operations, Asia Pacific. Each brings widespread experience from longstanding careers with Four Seasons to their new roles, demonstrating the depth of talent that will help lead the organization into the future.

In his new role, Stampfer joins Four Seasons Executive Leadership Team, reporting to President and CEO Alejandro Reynal, overseeing a diverse and growing portfolio of hotels, resorts and private residences as the company continues to expand its global presence. Stampfer is focused on ensuring today’s luxury consumer – from travellers to locals alike – experience the highest levels of quality and personalized service that they have come to expect at every Four Seasons touchpoint. Stampfer succeeds Christian Clerc, whose career with the company spanned more than 20 years.

“Rainer’s thoughtful leadership style, strong relationships with our hotel owners, and track record for success, paired with his commitment to our company culture and values, will undoubtedly position him for continued achievements as he takes on this new global role,” says Reynal. “I look forward to working closely with Rainer as part of our Executive Leadership Team, where his strategic operations background will complement the breadth of expertise of our leaders, continuing to drive value to our guests, employees, residents and partners around the globe.”

Stampfer joined Four Seasons in 2001, growing his career with progressively senior hotel leadership positions, including several General Manager roles at properties across the Americas and Asia Pacific. In 2016 he was promoted to President, Hotel Operations, Asia Pacific, overseeing the operations for all properties across the region.

“I’m honoured to take on this new opportunity, and together with my fellow members of the Executive Leadership Team, help Four Seasons continue on its path of exceptional growth,” comments Stampfer. “As we open new hotels, resorts and residences worldwide, while expanding our experiential offerings and enhancing our existing portfolio, I am committed to supporting our teams in their pursuit of excellence – ensuring that no matter how you connect with Four Seasons, each interaction is defined by personalized, caring service and the highest levels of quality.”

New Leadership in Asia Pacific

Four Seasons veteran of 18 years, Rami Sayess, will assume the Asia Pacific operations leadership role in March 2023.

“It is a pleasure to promote Rami as President of Hotel Operations, Asia Pacific,” says Stampfer. “His tenure across Four Seasons properties around the globe will help lead our diverse portfolio of hotels, resorts and residences in the dynamic APAC region. I look forward to continuing to partner with Rami, and our world class operations leadership team, as we embark on this next chapter for Four Seasons.”

Most recently, Sayess held the position of Regional Vice President and General Manager based at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, with oversight of six properties in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA). Throughout his career with Four Seasons, Sayess has led properties throughout the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions as General Manager and Regional Vice President, including previous oversight of the Four Seasons Thai Collection. In his new regional leadership role, Sayess will be based out of Singapore.

“It’s been an honour to grow my career with Four Seasons, and I look forward to embarking on this next phase in a new leadership position overseeing such an important region, and one that is close to my heart,” notes Sayess. “I’m energized by the opportunities ahead, and to work closely alongside the operations leadership team, our owner partners, and our incredible property teams across Asia Pacific.”

Sayess will work closely with his leadership counterparts in hotel operations around the globe, including Simon Casson, President, Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa; Vince Parrotta, President, Hotel Operations, Americas West and Antoine Chahwan, President, Hotel Operations, Americas East.

Source: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

January 11, 2023
Nobu Hospitality Continues to Expand Global Footprint in 2023

New York/PRNewswire/—Nobu Hospitality will open five new hotels in 2023, including Rome, Marrakech, Atlantic City, San Sebastián, and Toronto. With recent announcements of Bangkok and Abu Dhabi, the 32nd property to join the portfolio, the brand continues to grow globally with a strong development pipeline.

This year will mark Nobu Hotels' 10th anniversary following the opening of Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2013. For almost 30 years the Nobu brand has been synonymous with modern luxury and instinctive design, a commitment to fine ingredients and incredible food, and an innate passion for service. Each of the existing 32 hotel destinations have been carefully selected based on the success of a Nobu restaurant, to reach 60 restaurants worldwide this year, creating a platform for locals and international travelers alike to create unforgettable memories around food. With the concept of Kokoro – the Japanese word for heartfelt – tying the portfolio together, Nobu has continued to maintain a strong family-feel over the last decade fueling its continued expansion.

Providing not just a place to stay, but a place to live, 2023 will also welcome the brand's first luxury residences in Toronto and Los Cabos, embodying the spirit of Nobu in both design and attitude. With six other residential projects in the pipeline, including Al Khobar, Danang, Abu Dhabi, Tulum, Orlando, and Punta Cana – Nobu is firmly positioning itself within the luxury lifestyle sphere by offering an exclusive curated experience for buyers. A place to relax in unpretentious luxury, while still feeling part of something special, the residences will provide purposeful design, elevated amenities including Nobu dining and room service for its residents and unparalleled access to the surrounding area through a dedicated team.

SOURCE Nobu Hospitality

January 10, 2023
PLAY launches in Canada offering low-cost tickets to Europe

Starting today, travellers can book $169 flights from Hamilton to 13 European destinations

Hamilton, ON/CNW/—PLAY, a low-cost airline operating flights between Iceland and Europe, announced today service in Canada, with the first flights to Europe taking off in summer 2023. Starting today, travellers can book tickets from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport to 26 European destinations including London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Brussels, Stockholm, Gothenburg and more. Flight service from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport will begin on June 22, 2023.  

To celebrate its inaugural flights from Canada, PLAY is offering travellers tickets for as low as $169 to 13 destinations across Europe, including Berlin Brandenburg (BER), Brussels (BRU), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), Göteborg Landvetter (GOT), London Stansted (STN), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and to Keflavik (KEF) for only $129. This deal is valid for the Canadian departing flight of a roundtrip booking for flights scheduled between August and October 2023. The $129 and 169 price is inclusive of all mandatory taxes, fees and carrier charges, and is available today through Jan 31 at midnight Eastern Time. Restrictions and baggage fees apply, additional details of this promotion are available at flyplay.com/play-to-europe.

"Travellers around the world are hungry to venture to new destinations and recent data shows that 73 per cent of global travellers want vacations outside of their comfort zone," said Birgir Jónsson, CEO, PLAY. "We're proud to expand PLAY service to Canada with service in Hamilton, offering both Canadian and European travellers a new way to reach iconic destinations. With our reliable and affordable flights, travellers can enjoy their destination rather than overspending on the flight to get there."

PLAY offers a streamlined, no-frills service without costly features such as magazines, Wi-Fi, and entertainment, allowing travellers to pay less and "play more." Rather than spending on travel extras, PLAY passengers can instead allocate their budget to the meaningful experiences, dining, and excursions that make a trip memorable — or even add a stop to another destination along the way.

In 2022 PLAY flew 800,000 passengers across Europe and North America with an on-time arrival rate over 96 per cent. PLAY's pay-for-what-you-need model keeps its fares affordable. A personal item is included for the flight, and passengers can choose which upgrades they need for their trip, such as an in-flight meal, carry-on, checked bag, special bags for items such as golf sets, skis, strollers, and musical instruments, seats with extra legroom, cancellation protection and more.

With a PLAY account, travellers can book flights and have the peace of mind knowing that they can change flights when needed.

Learn more or book a flight at www.flyplay.com. See media assets here.

About PLAY
PLAY is a low-cost airline operating flights between Iceland and Europe, and North America as of 2022. Founded in Reykjavík in 2019 by a management team with significant experience in the aviation industry, the company operates flights on new Airbus A321NEO and A320NEO aircraft, offering streamlined, no-frills service that allows travelers to pay less and "play more." Safety comes first for PLAY. On-time performance, simplicity, happiness and low prices are the airline's core principles. The airline seeks to enable passengers to see the world, but not without considering its environmental impact. PLAY is being developed with sustainability initiatives and benchmarks in place to track and reduce fuel consumption, offset carbon emissions, and limit waste. Learn more or book a flight at flyplay.com or follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @PLAYairlines. For media resources, visit PLAY's online newsroom, flyplay.com/media.  

SOURCE PLAY

January 09, 2023
Homegrown Brand Draws on the Emotion of Travel

Winnipeg, MB/CNW/—As tourism destinations around the world seek to capture pent up demand for travel, Travel Manitoba wants to remind people that travelling in Manitoba is about more than just a place. Whether it's viewing the northern lights dancing in the sky, participating in an authentic Indigenous experience or visiting a world-class museum, Manitoba's refreshed tourism brand conjures up the emotions that these experiences create.

"Manitoba is open for business, and there is no better time to showcase Manitoba as a world-class destination of choice for travellers from Manitoba, Canada and around the world," Premier Heather Stefanson said. "With an abundance of outdoor recreation activities, a competitive and world-class sports and entertainment industry and a vibrant arts and culture sector, there is so much to explore in every community in our beautiful province. As our economy emerges into a new era of growth, this campaign will help ensure Manitoba's tourism industry continues to be a key contributor to our economy and the growth of our communities."

With the tagline Canada's Heart Is Calling, the brand focuses on the feelings we have when we see or do something amazing while on holiday. The refreshed brand builds on the success of the previous Manitoba, Canada's Heart…Beats, which redefined Manitoba in the eyes of visitors around the world.

"The Manitoba, Canada's Heart… Beats brand changed the way people viewed Manitoba as a travel destination. We wanted to tell the next chapter of that story," said Colin Ferguson, President and CEO of Travel Manitoba. "We know that travellers are seeking unique experiences that they can share with their friends and family. Manitoba is full of those experiences."

The brand and its launch campaign were unveiled through a series of videos, including new television commercials that will begin airing this month. They focus on how travel makes us feel rather than just the places we go.

"Travel calls to us. Some people seek adventure; some look for solitude and tranquility; others want to learn about history and culture. People want experiences that speak to their hearts," said Travel Manitoba's Brigitte Sandron, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.

The brand and its launch campaign were conceived by Winnipeg advertising agency UpHouse, which worked with Travel Manitoba and a team of local designers, illustrators, photographers, copywriters, videographers and musicians to tell the province's stories. UpHouse collaborated with Enjoy Creative and Wookey Films to produce the campaign videos. A new merchandise collection was created with Grape.Labs and Direct Focus that includes original creations from Patent 5, lot.ceramics and Wilder Goods. The work of local illustrator Jonato Dalayoan provided inspiration for supporting brand elements. Music came from a range of local artists including The Ripperz, Yes We Mystic and Ila Barker.

"We are proud of this campaign not just because it shows off our province so beautifully, but also because it was created almost exclusively with local talent," said Cody Chomiak, Travel Manitoba's Vice-President of Marketing. "That's just one more way we can show how special this place is."

"This campaign had to be made locally," said UpHouse co-owner Kiirsten May. "We all love this place. We know that Manitoba's stories are best told by people who live here. We're incredibly proud of the talented group behind this brand and campaign. We asked them to capture the feeling that comes from visiting new and familiar places, and they delivered."

The new brand has been enthusiastically received by local tourism operators, many of whom are still recovering from the pandemic that decimated global travel.

"The tourism industry was put to the test during the pandemic, but its resilience will pay dividends," Ferguson said. "The industry in Manitoba has adapted to meet changing visitor expectations, and they've created new and unique world class experiences that will draw visitors and that will live up to our brand promise."

The Manitoba Tourism Strategy targets to achieve visitor expenditures of $1.6 billion in 2024, and $2.5 billion by 2030.

Travel Manitoba is a Crown Corporation under provincial legislation that leads and stimulates sustainable tourism growth in Manitoba's $1.6 billion pre-pandemic tourism industry. In partnership with the tourism industry, the agency is responsible for tourism marketing, visitor information services, research and public information.

SOURCE Travel Manitoba

January 09, 2023
Creative Group Welcomes Kari Lynn Larsen, Account Executive, Business Development

Toronto/CNW/—Creative Group, a full-service meeting, incentive, and recognition company, announced today the hiring of Kari Lynn Larsen as Account Executive, Business Development.

"We are very excited that Kari Lynn is joining the business development team in Canada. Her depth of experience in the industry is a tremendous asset as she leads, guides, and consults clients looking for event and recognition solutions," said Manon Dicaire, Senior Vice President, Business Development.

"I'm thrilled to be joining a best-in-class, full-service agency," said Larsen. "I'm especially excited about the scope of new services I can bring to my clients with Creative Group's wide range of event and reward/recognition solutions."

Creative Group offers innovative sales and channel incentive solutions and reward and recognition programs, as well as experience design and event management for meetings, product launches, trade shows, user conferences and group travel incentives. As an integrated agency, they support production strategy, content management, venue design, talent booking, brand activations, plus event marketing and communications for all kinds of programs.  

About Kari Lynn Larsen
Kari Lynn Larsen has over three decades of experience in the meetings, events, and incentive industry. She has an extensive background in account and project management, working in both the corporate and agency environments for organizations across Canada. Her event management and business consulting acumen, coupled with her experience in production — both live and virtual — results in conceptual designs and execution that consistently transcends her clients' expectations.

She has a background in public relations, marketing, and promotions. Active in the industry, she is known for her creative passion and strategic approach. Kari Lynn was the previous president & CEO of Dragonfly Meeting Solutions and is an active member of (MPI) Meeting Planners International. She resides on the Board of Directors for (SITE) Society of Incentive Travel Excellence and belongs to both Travel Industry Council of Ontario and International Association of Travel Agents.

About Creative Group
Creative Group, a Direct Travel company, is a full-service performance improvement company that delivers results by inspiring people to thrive. The company specializes in engagement, incentive and recognition solutions, and end-to-end meeting and event management. An industry leader, Creative Group has been honoured with multiple SITE Crystal Awards and the CMI 25 Award, which recognizes the top 25 most influential meeting and incentive management companies in the U.S.

Creative Group was founded in 1970 and serves clients in technology, financial services, life sciences, insurance, manufacturing, retail, automotive, hospitality and more. Employing nearly 200 people, the company is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, and maintains offices in San Francisco (Emeryville), Detroit, Appleton, Wisconsin and Toronto, Canada. For more information about Creative Group, visit http://www.creativegroupinc.com

SOURCE Creative Group, Inc.

January 09, 2023
Destination DC Highlights Meeting with Purpose in the Nation’s Capital and What’s New in DC at PCMA Convening Leaders 2023

Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, provides an update on the benefits of meeting in DC and the organization’s convention sales and services strategies to attract events of all sizes to the nation’s capital.

Washington, DC welcomes 18 citywide conventions (defined as meetings, bringing 2,500 room nights to the city on peak), with an estimated 363,863 room nights, in 2023. Meetings and events continue to play a critical role in the city’s recovery from the pandemic.

Also supporting recovery efforts, on Jan. 3, 2023, the Council of the District of Columbia approved Tourism Recovery District legislation, a temporary 1 percent increase in the hotel tax that will go to DDC to market the destination and raise more than $20 million per year for four years. The temporary fee will make DC’s tax rate 15.95 percent from April 2023 through March 2027.

“As we compete globally with every other destination trying to regain market share, these dollars will give us the wherewithal to remain equally as competitive and enhance our marketing and sales efforts to draw meetings and events that leave a lasting impact on the local economy,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. 

The convention sales and services team continues to highlight resources for business event strategists only available in the nation’s capital under its “Connected” positioning. 

“There’s no place like Washington, DC to leverage intellectual capital and access leaders and policymakers,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services. “Between investment in sustainability and growing startups, the city continues to be a leader in innovation. It’s also dedicated to progress, diversity and inclusivity and has long been a place for people to put their power of free speech to work, where impactful demonstrations have shaped the future of the United States. Washington, DC is the country’s original meeting center to make positive social change.”

Development and Innovation in DC
With $9.3 billion in development, investment in the city continues:

  • The new Metrorail Silver Line connects Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC. Dulles airport will add a LEED Silver-certified, $675 million 14-gate concourse in 2026.
  • Phase two of the Wharf opened in October, expanding the sustainable waterfront area by a mile with public green spaces, a new Pendry hotel and two Gordon Ramsey restaurants. The Wharf is designed to achieve LEED ND Gold.
  • Part of the greater Southwest neighborhood, the waterfront area is designated the first-ever Mobility Innovation District (MID). The MID aims to “create a global innovation hub to show how mobility innovation can make a city more equitable, sustainable, safe, and prosperous,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. Circuit, a micro-transit company that works in all-electric, on-demand transportation solutions, will create a new mobility service.

Adding New Hotels and Venues
There are more than 26 new hotels or renovations in the pipeline, adding over 5,892 new or renovated rooms in eight neighborhoods. New:

  • The 247-room Holiday Inn Express, less than one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, includes a large living room-style lobby with daily hot breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • The new Morrow Washington DC in NoMa features 203 guest rooms, 6,000 sq. feet of light-filled event space, a 5,000 sq. foot outdoor terrace, a French restaurant and an expansive rooftop lounge with jazz performances.
  • The 234-room Washington Marriott Capitol Hill (opening January 2023) located near Union Station (Amtrak hub), offers a contemporary vibe with 13,000 sq. feet of intimately designed meeting and event space and an expansive fitness and wellness center.
  • The modern, glass-façade Royal Sonesta Washington DC Capitol Hill (opening April 2023) has 274 large guest rooms, 11,000 sq. feet of event space including a penthouse conference center with a wraparound terrace, and an onsite French bistro. The hotel will be LEED Gold certified and include a green-vegetated roof.
  • The new 445-room Arlo Hotel will incorporate a residential building constructed in the 1880s. Opening in 2023, the hotel will include a 12-story addition, a fitness center, a signature restaurant and bar, rooftop pool and lounge and indoor/outdoor event space.

Updated Attractions

  • The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum reopened in October 2022 with eight new galleries and interactive exhibits.
  • The Hirshhorn Museum broke ground on its new Sculpture Garden renovation.
  • The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens this fall after a $67.5 million renovation.  


Walter E. Washington Convention Center

  • In May 2022, the Convention Center received the WELL Health-Safety Rating from the international WELL Building Institute for their safety and wellness measures.
  • Exterior streetscape renovation includes new retail and an interior redesign has added furnishings adjustable for flexible seating arrangements allowing small informal meetings and networking in the lounge area.
  • A landscaped rooftop terrace is forthcoming.

Sustainability
Recognized as the 1st LEED Platinum City in the World, Washington, DC continues to develop and enhance green spaces helping push the city into the top percent for public parks and the top three percent of the country for renewable energy. Thirty-five associations, policy groups and advocacy organizations in the metro area focus on sustainability. Learn more about incorporating sustainability, from green hotels and eco-friendly attractions to climate and energy experts at washington.org/meetings.

Daily Dose of Vitamin DC
Balancing meetings with health and wellness comes with ease in DC with over 40 hotels downtown that are central to green spaces on the National Mall and nature-filled hikes in Rock Creek Park. Jogging from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is a bucket-list experience for business travelers. Electric and non-electric bicycles and scooters offer options for exploring the monuments and memorials or for riding on pathways along the Potomac River with views of Georgetown and the spires of the National Cathedral. DC’s hotels are rethinking fitness areas and offering greater wellness amenities and activations for meeting breakouts while restaurants feature locally sourced menus and non-alcoholic mocktails. DDC can help customize wellness activities like morning meditation and yoga with a backdrop of the Washington Monument.

About Destination DC: Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

Contact:
Susan O’Keefe, media relations manager, trade
202-789-7079; susan@washington.org

January 04, 2023
Coast Hotels to expand USA footprint, completes acquisition of master franchise agreement

USA expansion plan will see Coast Hotels target a mix of owned and franchised properties, aiming at exponential growth in North America by 2027.

Vancouver, B.C.—Coast Hotels Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of APA Hotel Canada, Inc. and one of North America’s fastest-growing and one of Canada’s largest hotel brands, today announced that it has completed the acquisition of a master franchise agreement inclusive of all existing franchised hotels from Coast Hotels USA, LLC.

The USA expansion plan will enable Coast Hotels to increase its footprint, particularly throughout the West Coast. Operating as Coast Hotels USA, Inc., a newly established subsidiary of Coast Hotels Limited, the company aims to achieve significant growth through a combination of new franchise and hotel management contracts, mergers and acquisitions and the purchase of hotel real estate in key locations by 2027.

Today’s announcement and our plans for the USA expansion represent one of the most important milestones in our 50-year history as a hospitality company. The opportunity to focus on USA’s most dynamic destinations and introduce our unique, localized approach and our unmatched dedication to our guests will present outstanding opportunities for expansion. We look forward to working with our parent company, APA Hotels, and all of our partners as we embark on a new era as a company. Mr. Jin Sasaki, President of Coast Hotels

The USA expansion plan represents the latest phase of Coast Hotels’ growth strategy. In 2022, the company added five hotels to its portfolio including the acquisition and conversion of the Regency Suites Hotel to the Coast Calgary Downtown Hotel & Suites by APA.

About APA Hotels
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, APA has a network of more than 620 properties and over 93,000 rooms in Japan making it the country’s largest hotel group. It also has one hundred percent ownership of Coast Hotels, the brand, and owns the six “by APA” hotels in Vancouver, Victoria, Chilliwack, Prince George, Edmonton, and Calgary. APA is known for their urban-style hotel concept that delivers high-quality, highly functional, and environmentally friendly hotels to the market.

About Coast Hotels
Each Coast Hotel property is as unique as the destinations they are located in, yet they all have something in common: friendly service and our always pleasant amenities. Coast Hotels offers properties throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Washington in cities large and small. As one of North America's fastest-growing hotel brands, Coast Hotels owes its continued expansion to its friendly service, prime locations, value, and guest satisfaction. Coast Hotels owns and franchises hotels under the Coast Hotels brand and manages hotels on both a Coast Hotels branded and independent basis.

Visit coasthotels.com or call 1.800.663.1144. 

Brigitte Diem-Guy
VP Revenue Strategies & Communication
Coast Hotels

December 20, 2022
MGM Resorts International Announces Completion of the Sale of the Operations of the Mirage

Las Vegas—MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) ("MGM Resorts" or the "Company") today announced it has closed on the sale of the operations of The Mirage Hotel & Casino ("The Mirage") to Hard Rock International ("Hard Rock") for $1.075 billion in cash.

Mirage employees have delivered unparalleled service and experiences over the past three decades, and we are forever thankful for their work to make The Mirage such an iconic, world-class destination. I'm excited for the opportunities that lay ahead for the property, its people and the entire Las Vegas Strip with this prime location now under Hard Rock's leadership. We're thrilled to welcome Hard Rock to the neighborhood and wish them all the very best. Bill Hornbuckle, CEO & President, MGM Resorts International

The closing of this transaction represents another important step in the pursuit of our long-term strategic objectives. We plan to use the proceeds from this transaction to further advance our capital allocation strategy which includes maintaining a strong balance sheet, pursuing targeted growth opportunities and returning cash to our shareholders. Jonathan Halkyard, CFO & Treasurer, MGM Resorts International

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, The Mirage reported Adjusted Property EBITDAR of $154 million. At the closing of the transaction, MGM Resorts' master lease that currently includes The Mirage property will be amended to reduce the annual rent by $90 million. The Company expects net cash proceeds after taxes and estimated fees to be approximately $815 million.

VICI, as the real estate owner of The Mirage will enter into a new lease agreement with Hard Rock.

Under the terms of the agreement, MGM Resorts will retain The Mirage name and brand, licensing it to Hard Rock royalty-free for a maximum period of three years while it finalizes its plans to rebrand the property.

BofA Securities and PJT Partners served as financial advisors and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel to MGM Resorts.

About MGM Resorts International
MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is an S&P 500® global entertainment company with national and international locations featuring best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. MGM Resorts creates immersive, iconic experiences through its suite of Las Vegas-inspired brands. The MGM Resorts portfolio encompasses 33 unique hotel and gaming destinations globally, including some of the most recognizable resort brands in the industry. The Company's 50/50 venture, BetMGM, LLC, offers U.S. sports betting and online gaming through market-leading brands, including BetMGM and partypoker, and the Company's subsidiary LeoVegas AB offers sports betting and online gaming through market-leading brands in several jurisdictions throughout Europe. The Company is currently pursuing targeted expansion in Asia through the integrated resort opportunity in Japan. Through its "Focused on What Matters: Embracing Humanity and Protecting the Planet" philosophy, MGM Resorts commits to creating a more sustainable future, while striving to make a bigger difference in the lives of its employees, guests, and in the communities where it operates. The global employees of MGM Resorts are proud of their company for being recognized as one of FORTUNE® Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies®. For more information, please visit us at www.mgmresorts.com. Please also connect with us @MGMResortsIntl on Twitter as well as Facebook and Instagram.

Source: MGM Resorts International

December 20, 2022
Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort Completes $40 Million Renovation

Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort is pleased to announce its reopening following a $40 million renovation, designed to enhance the guest experience throughout every area of the resort. Today, the resort unveils a reimagined resort with 596 newly designed suites including 58 swim-up suites, refreshed adults-only areas, new food and beverage concepts and extensive upgrades to the property's convention center. In addition to these enhancements, the property has launched new upgraded luxury services that will debut at each Paradisus location.

Located on the Dominican Republic's legendary Bávaro Beach, Paradisus Palma Real has been redesigned to further embrace the surrounding nature of Punta Cana. All 596 suites feature spaces bathed in bright, natural light, pairing rustic wood furnishings with earth tones, designed to exude relaxation and serenity as soon as guests enter. The new design celebrates the beachfront location by using natural materials and neutral browns and tans to emulate the feeling of sitting in the Caribbean sand. Suites range from 516 to 1614 square feet and feature spacious living areas, furnished balconies or terraces with garden or ocean views, rainfall showers, and bath amenities by Biology® Smart Skincare. Of these renovated suites, the resort will now offer 58 new swim-up suites. Guests can step outside and slip effortlessly into their own private pool or relax on a private fully furnished terrace, enjoying the pleasures of the Caribbean weather.

The resort has also unveiled nine newly designed restaurant concepts, providing guests with a wide variety of culinary experiences from Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other delectable cuisines. Of these nine concepts, the resort has introduced two new adults-only restaurants, Flora, offering artisan flavors, vegan delights, and local sustainable dishes, and Malva, a friendly and casual bazaar-style buffet where guests can sample flavor for local Dominican culture throughout breakfast, lunch, and à la carte dinner.

Paradisus Palma Real will reopen with several new elevated guest experiences that will also debut in Paradisus' four other resort destinations.

Among these, guests longing for a special touch throughout their in-room experience are invited to upgrade their stay with Nikté. Designed to satisfy guests seeking luxury and comfort, Nikté at Paradisus by Meliá provides an elevated suite experience through a series of exclusive services and perks including premium room categories, turndown service, a premium minibar, a personal destination concierge, priority dinner reservations, and a water ritual at the resort's YHI Spa.

For travelers looking for a more intimate stay, guests staying at any Paradisus by Meliá resort are welcomed to experience the adult-only oasis at The Reserve. The Reserve at Paradisus by Meliá offers guests access to the resort's adults-only secluded areas, including private beaches, pools, lounges, and a variety of elevated restaurant offerings. The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real has been completely renovated and offers guests 152 spacious suites, a private restaurant featuring Mediterranean cuisine, concierge and turn-down services and an exclusive private check-in and check-out.

Guests of both Nikté and The Reserve will also have the opportunity to experience Paradisus' new immersive program, Destination Inclusive®. Entirely new to the all-inclusive market, Destination Inclusive® is designed to connect guests to local communities and its surrounding nature. The experience, included in the daily rate of these categories, will immerse guests into the most remote areas and explore true local connections. Each Paradisus location will offer a unique experience to the destination.

Along with countless amenities available at Paradisus Palma Real including access to 11 swimming pools, a world-class YHI spa and fitness center, nearby Cocotal Golf & Country Club, the resort has also revamped its 42,000 square foot convention center. Featuring all new decor and design, the center offers 12 unique meeting rooms with a variety of facilities fit to accommodate groups of all sizes. Now offering indoor and outdoor function venues, meetings and events at the resort including 5-star catering, bilingual staff, hostess service, modern AV equipment, filming/recording by request, and new edge blending technology. With a maximum capacity of 1500 guests, Paradisus Palma Real is an ideal location for any meeting, convention, and leisure group.

Meliá Hotels International
Meliá Hotels International was founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and is one of the world’s largest resort hotel chains, as well as Spain’s leading hotel chain. It currently provides more than 350 hotels in 35 countries on 4 continents under its brands: Gran Meliá, Meliá, ME, Innside, Tryp by Wyndham, Sol and Paradisus. Its product and service portfolio is complemented by Club Meliá, the only vacation club operated by a Spanish company. In 2011, the family company founded by Gabriel Escarrer Juliá, that operated under the name "Sol Meliá" for decades, began a new stage in its development under the brand name that represents its present and its future: Meliá Hotels International.