Monthly Archives: January 2010

Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Step Up Ongoing Aid Efforts to Earthquake Disaster Zones in Haiti

Properties Sent Immediate Aid after Disaster Struck;
Now Providing Additional Services and Monetary Donations Including $4 USD Donations per Night per Room Derived from Group Sales Revenue

Miami, FL (January 29 , 2010) Immediately after news broke of the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this month, three Sol Melia properties located in Haiti’s neighboring country, the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana), began providing aid to victims. The Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Punta Cana, and Melia Caribe Tropical resorts all organized caravans that transported volunteers, food, water and clothing donated by guests and staff to the affected region. Now, the properties have added programs to increase monetary aid by donating funds from their group and meetings sales income. This program is in addition to the fundraising efforts from Sol Melia properties worldwide.

The three Sol Melia properties in Punta Cana will automatically donate $4 USD per room per night to either the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund (www.ClintonBushHaitiFund.org) or to a local charity of the group?s choice. Qualifying groups must have a minimum of 15 rooms and are valid for all existing or future bookings made through August 31st, 2010. Travel must take place by December 31st, 2011. Consumers can learn more about this fundraising opportunity by visiting www.solmelia.com or by calling one of the properties directly:

– Paradisus Palma Real: +1 (809) 688-5000
– Paradisus Punta Cana: +1 (809) 687-9923
– Melia Caribe Tropical: +1 (809) 221-1290

Worldwide, Sol Melia is also giving the option for their valued guests to donate on site to the brand’s “Solidarity Fund,” from which 100% of the proceeds are provided to UNICEF (www.unicef.org). Additionally, the company will donate $1 Euro per booking for all reservations made through www.solmelia.com by February 15th, 2010. Finally, guests enrolled in the Sol Melia loyalty program, “Mas,” have the option of redeeming 500 points in exchange for 2.5 Euro donations through UNICEF.

All employees at Sol Melia are deeply concerned about the situation for the survivors in Haiti and will continue to provide aid to the region to the best of the corporation’s ability.

About Sol Melia
Sol Melia was founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and is the world’s leading resort hotel chain, as well as Spain’s leading hotel chain in both the business and leisure markets. It currently provides more than 300 hotels in 28 countries on 4 continents under its brands: Gran Melia, Melia, ME, Innside, Tryp, Sol, Paradisus and Sol Melia Vacation Club. www.solmelia.com.

Sol Melia is the hotel company with the greatest number of properties in the exclusive club of “The Leading Hotels of the World” (seven hotels). In 2006, the “Corporate Reputation Institute” of New York ranked the company amongst the corporations with the best reputation in the world, the leading hotel company and the second highest ranked company in the travel industry. Sol Meli? is the only travel company included in the exclusive “Footse4Good Ibex” Spanish stock market index, and is the third ranked company in Spain amongst companies which generate the greatest degree of confidence and in the top three hotel chains for reputation.

The company currently employs more than 34,000 people worldwide with staff from over 80 different countries.

Visit Fairfax and Reunions Magazine Present 2nd Annual Family Reunion Workshop on February 20th

Edith Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Reunions Magazine, to Give Keynote During Free One-Day Event

Fairfax County, VA ? January 27, 2010 ? Are you in charge of planning your family?s reunion? If so, you won?t want to miss Visit Fairfax?s second annual Family Reunion Workshop on Saturday, February 20th at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner. Co-hosted by Reunions Magazine, the complimentary workshop will feature a presentation by Editor-in-Chief Edith Wagner, as well as helpful tips in planning the ultimate family reunion.

?This workshop is designed in such a way that each participant can walk away with a wealth of knowledge, including new contacts and the tools they need to plan a fabulous reunion for family and friends in Fairfax County, Virginia,” says Dean Miller, National Sales Manager for Visit Fairfax.

The all-day event, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Premiere hotel (8661 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182), will offer participants access to family-reunion experts who will provide meaningful, useful information on the planning process, activities to add to the event, how to negotiate rates and contracts with vendors, and much more.

A variety of vendors and sales representatives, including hotels, transportation companies, attractions, caterers, and even t-shirt designers, also will be on-hand to speak with attendees to start the planning process. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all attendees.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to take a complimentary tour of George Washington?s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, if they desire (complimentary transportation will be provided).

To participate in this free workshop, attendees must register in advance by emailing Visit Fairfax?s Dean Miller at dmiller@fxva.com.

Visit Fairfax is the official tourism organization for Fairfax County, Virginia. Charged with destination marketing and tourism promotion, it is directed by many of the County’s top tourism and hospitality leaders. For more information, please visit www.fxva.com.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Slated to Open 80-100 Hotels in 2010

Hospitality Giant Focuses on International Growth and Conversion Opportunities

SAN DIEGO (January 27, 2009) ? From the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in San Diego, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announces it expects to open another 80-100 high quality new-build and conversion hotels in 2010, coming off of the 83 opened and 77 new deals signed in 2009. Of these new hotels, roughly 70 percent will be outside of North America, with the majority in Asia Pacific. And Starwood?s upper upscale and luxury brands are leading the charge, representing more than 60% of the new openings. Among these hotels and resorts is expected to be its 1,000th property globally.

?Over the past two years Starwood has opened more than 160 new hotels, and we are well positioned for another year of meaningful growth with 80-100 new hotels that will be representative of our best,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood. ?In 2010 and beyond, we will continue to focus on opening great hotels, signing high quality new projects and conversions, and taking critical steps to ensure Starwood and our development partners are positioned to own the upswing as we increasingly see the global market turn into positive territory.”

Asia Pacific Represents Unprecedented Growth Opportunity for Starwood?s Brands

To meet the growing demand for high quality lodging in China, Starwood plans to double its portfolio there to 100 hotels by 2012. In 2010, Starwood is slated to open approximately 30 hotels in the market, including both The Luxury Collection and W brands? first hotels in mainland China. The St. Regis, Westin, Le Meridien and Four Points by Sheraton brands will also increase their Chinese presence in 2010, while the Sheraton brand is experiencing the most robust growth and represents half the year?s total openings.

?China is expected to be one of the world?s largest outbound tourism markets by 2020, with a predicted 100 million outbound trips a year,” said Simon Turner, Presided of Global Development for Starwood. ?As the Chinese travel, they are going to stay with the brands they know from home, which will have a meaningful effect on our business globally and underscores our focus there.”

As a global pioneer, Starwood was the first international hotel chain to enter China. And today it is the country?s largest international upscale hotel operator.

Growth is also fertile in India, where Starwood has already opened 25 hotels and plans to increase its portfolio roughly 60% by the end of 2012. Starwood?s steady expansion in India is fueled by several of its brands including Westin, which will open two new hotels this year. And last year?s debut of the Four Points by Sheraton brand in India will soon be followed by the upcoming launch of the Aloft brand, which is set to open three hotels there by the end of 2010.

?When you take a look at India and China combined, you have 40 percent of the world?s population, and between them, they are averaging 8 percent growth in GDP,” added Turner. ?By working to further establish relationships with travelers in these critical, high-growth markets today, we are ensuring the success of Starwood tomorrow”

North America and Europe Provide Strong Platforms for New-Build and Conversion Opportunities

Today, Starwood?s North America and Europe, Africa and Middle East divisions are the company?s largest in terms of hotels, and Starwood continues to see strong growth opportunities within them. In 2010, Starwood will introduce several of its brands to new markets ? including the debut of the W brand in London ? while also furthering its leadership in markets where its brands are already established ? such as the addition of two new Sheraton hotels in New York City. Critically, the hotels opening in these divisions will represent both new-build and conversion properties.

?Starwood has a high quality and large enough footprint to enjoy the benefits of critical mass in North America,” said Paul Sacco, Senior Vice President of Development for Starwood?s North America. ?However, there are numerous key markets in the vast North American landscape that represent strong growth potential for our nine well regarded and innovative hotel brands. We anticipate transaction activity will increase in 2010 with added focus on conversion projects, as well as select new build hotels. With our group of conversion-friendly brands, in addition to new build opportunities, we are well positioned to execute more than our fair share of opportunities in 2010 and beyond.”

In North America, which represents half of Starwood?s current portfolio, the company is slated to open approximately 30 hotels in 2010. Among these best-in-class properties are Aloft Brooklyn, New York; Element New York-Times Square; Sheraton Tribeca New York; and St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico. Growth in the New York City market is a key focus in 2010, with Starwood opening six hotels there and introducing its two newest brands ? Aloft and Element.

Building on the 244 existing Starwood properties in Europe, Africa and Middle East, Starwood and its development partners are slated to open approximately a dozen more in the division, including Europe?s first Aloft. The St. Regis Mauritius Resort, which is on track to open this fall, is a conversion property, and will be the company?s fourth hotel on the island nation.

Starwood Primed for Growth in Latin America?s Emerging Markets

In Latin America, Starwood and its development partners see continued long term opportunities as demand growth significantly outpaces supply. And with low presence of international brands, particularly in the luxury segment, Starwood is poised for expansion throughout Latin America. In 2010, Starwood will debut the Westin brand in Peru ? The Westin Libertador, Lima ? and open the country?s second property under the Luxury Collection brand ? Tambo Del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel. The Westin brand will also open its fifth hotel in Mexico and its first in Mexico City with The Westin Santa Fe.

New Additions to the Dubai Skyline

A diverse range of new properties was added to the Dubai portfolio during 2009, expanding the choice available to visitors both in terms of location and star- rankings. New openings include a second Ibis at the Mall of the Emirates on Sheikh Zayed Road with 204 rooms , as well as the region’s first Suite hotel by Accor in the same area, offering 185 large rooms, while Premier Inn has opened a further two properties – one, a 230-room hotel at Silicon Oasis and the other, a 281-room hotel at Dubai International Airport – and easy Hotels has promised opening of its first 200-room Middle East property at the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai by year end.
In addition, Holiday Inn Express will be adding a 381-room hotel opposite Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport to its network in February 2010.

In the four-star category, the 184-room Gold Swiss-Belhotel has opened in Bur Dubai, the first for the brand, while in Media City, a new independent will offer a minimalist take on business travel accommodation – the 260-room Media One Hotel opened in early November and features a gym, outdoor pool and terrace, a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants, plus seven meeting rooms with capacity for up to 120 and a unique ‘creative thinking room’ as well as a fully-equipped business centre.

Upscale accommodation is being augmented with the addition of The Address hotels at the Dubai Mall and the Dubai Marina – the former opened in October adjacent to the Dubai Mall with 244 rooms while among its meeting facilities are a 576 sq metre ballroom with capacity for up to 650, as well as six meeting rooms that can accommodate between 15 and 40 guests plus a large pre-function area. The Address Dubai Marina, now opened, located by Dubai Marina Mall, offers 200 rooms, plus 442 serviced apartments, as well as five restaurants and lounges, a spa with 12 treatment rooms, the 900sq metre Constellation Ballroom with floor to ceiling windows and accommodation for up to 1,000 guests and 15 additional rooms for meetings and events.

At the beachside, Sofitel will open a 438-room resort within the Jumeirah Beach Residences complex, offering five meeting rooms and a 400 -capacity ballroom, while Movenpick will open a resort in the same location be year end – the group also launches its first hotel, Royal Amwaj, on The Palm Jumeirah in June as well as the five-star Ibn Battuta Gate hotel near the mall of the same name, while its new Deira property will debut in February and a second Palm resort opens in summer 2010.

Top of the range, Armani Hotels & Resorts will showcase its first property in Dubai, with completion scheduled in January 2010. The 160- room hotel, with rooms designed by Giorgio Armani, is located at Burj Dubai between the concourse and level 8, as well as on levels 38 and 39, and is expected to become an icon for the global hospitality industry.

It will feature Armani/Events, a specialized events service that will complement the hotel’s 3,300 sq metres of conference and banqueting facilities that includes a ballroom, spacious outdoor area with capacity for up to 350 guests, plus multi-function meeting rooms, boardrooms and lounges.

Associated Luxury Hotels Launches The ?ALHI Level 5 Collection”

. . . Collection Within ALHI?s Portfolio Features Over 12,500 ?Level 5″ Rooms & Suites

WASHINGTON, DC (January 2010) ? To make it easier for meeting professionals, incentives specialists and association executives who wish to conduct a program at one of North America?s very highest rated hotels or resorts, Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has launched the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” within its distinctive portfolio of hotels and resorts. This collection consists of ALHI?s 14 member hotels and resorts which have earned the highest and most distinctive recognitions of the prestigious AAA Five-Diamond rating, and/or the esteemed Forbes (Mobil) Five-Star rating, and ALHI?s newly-opened hotels that are designed to achieve one of these ratings when they ultimately become eligible for the ratings following their first year of operations.

The ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” features a total of more than 12,500 ?Level 5″ rooms and suites, and over 1.5 million square feet of meeting space, making it one of the largest ?Level 5″ collections available to meeting professionals and incentive specialists in North America.

As part of the launch of this collection, ALHI has added an ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” Quick Reference button to its home page at www.alhi.com to provide fast, one-stop access for planners seeking to research and conduct a program at one of the world?s highest-level meeting resorts or hotels. On the site, planners can quickly see and compare details of the ALHI Level 5 properties? meeting, accommodation, recreational and dining offerings, as well as identify destination information and select ?Luxury On Sale” value opportunities. A large photo gallery, meeting floor plans and specs, and a location map for each property are also easily accessible on the ALHI site.

?We established the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection? to applaud these members? achievements at the highest level, and as a means for planners and incentive specialists to easily recognize and access our variety of options available at that high level,” said David Gabri, president and CEO of ALHI. ?These prestigious designations distinguish these properties as among the very finest hotels and resorts in the world for meetings.”

Gabri continued, ?While ALHI has a vast and incredible overall luxury portfolio worldwide, these members are recognized as being among the ?best of the best? ? not just by our word, but by their earned ratings of AAA and Forbes/Mobil.”

For nearly 25 years, ALHI has served as a dedicated dues-based National Sales organization for its exclusive membership, to enable planners to gain reliable and local one-call, experienced national sales professional access and support to its outstanding member hotels and resorts worldwide which all specialize in meetings and incentive programs. ALHI?s portfolio of more than 125 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide features nearly 100,000 rooms and suites, and over 10 million square feet of meeting space.

North America Collection Includes Landmarks

The ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” provides extraordinary facilities and services for program options from one U.S. coast to the other, plus locations from northern cities down to the resort shores of Mexico. Options in the collection range from an exclusive 40-room resort to an impressive new 4,004-room resort, as well as properties with meeting space ideal for smaller groups, and hotels that can accommodate groups requiring up to 300,000 square feet of meeting space.

California
Three options in the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” are in California, including the 295-room Island Hotel Newport Beach, the 220-acre charming Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, and the world-class Grand Del Mar in San Diego.

Island Hotel Newport Beach provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, offers 30,000 square feet of meeting space, is adjacent to famed ?Fashion Island,” and is situated midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.

The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa features 308 luxurious guest rooms and suites, the popular-with-the-stars Spa Ojai, a PGA Tour championship-level golf course, a full tennis center, and 16,000 square feet of first-class meeting space.

In Southern California, in San Diego County, the new Grand Del Mar is amazing, nestled amidst the picturesque Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, providing 249 impressive guest rooms and suites, a world-class championship golf course, award-winning spa, outstanding dining, and over 20,000 square feet of meeting space.

Western U.S.
Other Western U.S. ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” options include famed destinations and resorts including The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, the incomparable Bellagio in Las Vegas, The Skylofts at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the impressive Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. ALHI is also including in the collection two remarkable new properties which just opened in December 2009 in the impressive $8.3 billion CityCenter development on the Strip in Las Vegas: the amazing 4,004-room ARIA Resort & Casino, and the first Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Nevada, the distinctive Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

The Broadmoor is a trifecta ?Level 5″ award winner member, with the resort having achieved and sustained 50 consecutive years of Level 5 excellence by Mobil and AAA, and Level 5 status with its signature Penrose Room restaurant, and also distinguished recognition of The Broadmoor Spa. This spectacular Colorado resort is nestled in the foothills of the incredible Rocky Mountains, and features 185,000 square feet of meeting space, 744 guest rooms, suites and cottages, as well as 18 restaurants and lounges, and three championship golf courses.

The 3,933-room Bellagio is world-renowned for its magnificent ballet of dancing fountains, world-class service steps beyond excellence, and incredible hotel in the heart of Las Vegas. Bellagio serves meetings and events with its 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and provides guests 19 dining options including two ?Level 5″ AAA Five-Diamond restaurants, a 65,000-square-foot spa, a fine art museum, world-recognized casino, and is home to the critically acclaimed ?O by Cirque du Soleil” in its show theatre.

The Skylofts at MGM Grand is a luxury boutique hotel located on the top of the popular and premier MGM Grand, and thereby provides access to the elegant resort?s 600,000 square feet of meeting space (which includes the all-new 92,000-square-foot Marquee Ballroom), 18 restaurants, 8 bars and clubs, state-of-the-art spa, 6.6-acre pool complex, and 171,000-square-foot casino. The 51 lofts feature floor-to-ceiling windows that provide dramatic views of the famous Las Vegas skyline.

The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City is a fantastic discovery for many when they first experience the luxurious European charm and design of this city center hotel, which is set along side and convenient to the Rocky Mountains. Grand America Hotel features 775 beautifully appointed and large guest rooms, award-winning services, excellent dining and bar options, over 75,000 square feet of meeting space, impressive artwork throughout, and breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.

The contemporary ARIA Resort & Casino, which opened in the heart of Las Vegas? new CityCenter in December 2009, offers 4,004 new guest rooms and suites, 300,000 square feet of technologically advanced and magnificent meeting space, 16 restaurants, and a new ?Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil” show in its theatre. Featuring a sleek and striking modern design, ARIA boasts spectacular public spaces, scenic gardens, and a soaring three-story lobby.

The 47-story, non-gaming Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas debuted in December 2009, bringing the traditions and world-renowned Mandarin Oriental service and ambiance to the ?City of Lights” in an ideal location in CityCenter. The hotel offers 392 sophisticated guest rooms, 12,360-square feet of meeting space, an impressive 23rd floor Sky Lobby, a 27,000-square-foot spa, and an exceptional restaurant by Michelin-rated celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire. Both Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas and ARIA Resort & Casino are connected to the remarkable and unique Crystals at CityCenter shopping and entertainment district.

Across North America
Also garnering the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection” honor are such extraordinary properties as the famed Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia, the newly-constructed and extraordinary Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia, the elegant and world-recognized Peninsula Chicago in Illinois, The Greenbrier in picturesque White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and the newly-renovated multi-year Level 5 leader in Cancun, Mexico, the exceptional Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach.

Located along Southeastern Georgia?s scenic Atlantic Coast, the Sea Island Resorts (the incredible Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club and the new Cloister at Sea Island) provide a true touch of the south. The Lodge is reminiscent of an English country manor, and offers 40 spacious and luxurious guest rooms and suites that overlook emerald fairways of its championship golf courses and the St. Simons Sound. The stately and significantly larger Cloister at Sea Island offers 175 large guest rooms and suites, situated among hundred-year-old oaks, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and tidal Black Banks River. Offerings at Sea Island include a total of 17,000 square feet of meeting space, three championship golf courses, five miles of private beach, the 65,000-square-foot Cloister Spa and Fitness Center, a golf learning center, a tennis center with eight Har-Tru clay courts, a beach club, and the Five-Star Georgian Room restaurant.

The Peninsula Chicago was recently voted the #1 hotel in the United States by Cond? Nast Traveler and Zagat Survey, and offers 339 exquisitely-furnished and large guest rooms and suites. Located literally along the center of Chicago?s famed Magnificent Mile, this world-renowned hotel features 9,500 square feet of elegantly-appointed meeting space which includes a beautiful glass-enclosed ballroom that is connected to an outdoor terrace, providing spectacular panoramic views of the Magnificent Mile. The hotel offers four restaurants from which to choose, and is just steps from world-class shopping, entertainment, restaurants and parks.

With renowned first-class service, and new ownership and excitement, The Greenbrier features 634 exceptional guest rooms and suites, and 85,000 square feet of conference space (with more than 35 meeting rooms). Tucked among 6,500 majestic acres of the truly picturesque Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, the famed resort offers more than 50 recreational options, which includes three championship golf courses, a 40,000-square-foot spa, a culinary arts center, and the Golf Digest Academy, as well as eight restaurants and lounges including the exceptional new Hemisphere restaurant.

The all-suite Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, which is Mexico?s longest standing recipient of the AAA Five-Diamond award, is ideally situated opposite the Convention Center and within walking distance of malls, dining, shopping, recreation and nightlife. Providing 602 newly renovated oceanfront suites which offer panoramic views of the Caribbean from large balconies, the hotel also features 85,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and function space, a world-class spa and fitness center, marina, poolside/beach activities, and five dining options including the AAA Five-Diamond Le Basilic restaurant.

Associated Luxury Hotels has 16 professionally staffed National Sales Offices to serve, with locations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, North Carolina, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, and Toronto. Go to www.alhi.com to identify the ALHI sales professionals in your area.

Gabri added, ?The ALHI National Sales team consists of trained sales professionals who know all of the details of the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection? hotels and resorts, as well as ALHI?s entire impressive worldwide portfolio. So they?re ready to be great resources for meeting and incentive specialists, and can help identify the best venues for your specific programs and objectives. And since there is no cost to planners? organizations to utilize the National Sales services of ALHI — since ALHI is funded by members? dues — a call to ALHI makes planning programs so much quicker and easier.”

For more information on the ?ALHI Level 5 Collection,” or for a copy of ALHI?s 155-page ?ALHI National Sales Guide To Meeting Facilities 2009-2010,” contact your nearest ALHI National Sales Office, call the ?ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com .

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PR Contact: Karen Lamonica at (407) 788-7070, ext. 207 or klamonica@chisano.com
Note: High-resolution photos of ALHI member properties, including those referenced, are available by contacting Karen Lamonica.

Roadhouse CEO Honored with PCMA Chairman’s Award

2009 Meetings Industry Advocate Accepts Award at the 2010 PCMA Annual Meeting

Dallas, TX, January 2010 – In recognition of his encouraging voice during a difficult time for the meetings industry, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) selected G.J. Hart, Texas Roadhouse Director, President and CEO, to receive the prestigious 2009 PCMA Chairman’s Award. Hart was honored in person during today’s General Session at the 2010 PCMA Annual Meeting in Dallas.

In 2009, the travel and meetings industry was hit hard by the “AIG Effect,” after the insurance company received public bailout money and continued to hold high-end incentive programs. When most companies were canceling conferences and trimming meetings expenditures, Hart was championing the value of meetings and supporting the use of incentive travel programs as cost-effective and important business investments.
Texas Roadhouse hosted a multi-million dollar week of meetings in San Francisco. For five days, 1,000 managing partners and their spouses gathered at the Fairmont and Ritz Carlton for an all expense paid reward and recognition program. During the conference, Hart appeared on CNBC in an iconic interview focusing on the value of meetings during difficult times.

“The PCMA Chairman’s Award is the highest honor PCMA bestows each year to someone who has been important to the industry,” said 2009 PCMA Chairman, John Folks. G.J. proved an important voice and advocate for the value of meetings at a crucial time and deserves to be recognized for his bravery and eloquence in the face of an anti-meetings media firestorm.”

Hart was named Chief Executive Officer of Texas Roadhouse in October 2004. He has served as President of Texas Roadhouse since May 2000. Hart has over 25 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry.
By accepting this award at today’s general session, Hart joined an impressive lineup of previous award winners including former Delta Air Lines CEO Gerald Grinstein and Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels.

For more information on the 2010 PCMA Annual Meeting visit pcma2010.org.

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ABOUT PCMA
The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is the professional resource and premier educator for the meetings and convention industry. Founded in 1957, PCMA represents the interests of meeting management executives from associations, non-profit organizations, corporations, independent meeting planning companies, and multi-management firms who recognize the importance of meetings to their organization. PCMA empowers members with the tools they need to succeed as meeting professionals and to promote the value of the industry to their organizations and the general public. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 16 chapters throughout the United States and Canada. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at pcma.org.

North American marketing drive by The Dubai Convention Bureau

Following the appointment of New York-based Mondotels Inc as its North American representative, Dubai Convention Bureau has stepped up activities in the region.

“The appointment of Mondotels to represent DCB will go a long way in our efforts to market Dubai as a destination of choice for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions,” said Bachar. “We consider North America a region that holds immense potential for growth for Dubai’s fast-growing tourism sector, especially the business tourism and meetings industry.”

This past summer, DCB was in attendance at the 95th annual convention of the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) held in Atlanta, joining around 1,000 delegates from 275 destinations and 300 exhibitors and sponsors.

Head of Marketing, Natasha Tom?, accompanied Hamad bin Mejren and Jerad Bachar as part of the move by DCB to achieve CDME status (Certified Destination Management Executive), part of the convention programme that aims to promote professionalism and effective destination management.

According to Hamad bin Mejren, the DMAI annual convention is a must attend event for all professionals in the sector: “It is the gathering where destination marketing professionals connect with others who know and understand the industry – the leading event where the suppliers showcase their products and services and an essential professional development and networking opportunity.”

DMAI is the world’s leading resource for official destination marketing organisations and its CDME is recognised as the highest educational achievement for those involved in the sector, with an intense curriculum – DCB staff are expected to take two years to complete the full course.

ASAE & The Center Seeking Applications for 2010 DELP Class

WASHINGTON, DC?ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership is currently seeking candidates for the 2010-2012 class of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP).

Sponsored by the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, DELP supports individuals from underrepresented segments of the association community grow into the ranks of leadership in the association profession. DELP scholars participate in an accelerated leadership program of education and volunteer service in the association community.

Candidates who are members of a minority group or have a disability and have at least three years of association management experience or at least one year of experience as an association CEO (as of the date of their application) are encouraged to apply.

?We encourage all diverse association professionals to submit an application for the program,” said ASAE & The Center President and CEO John H. Graham IV, CAE. ?We are thrilled to be able to provide this opportunity to advance the role of diversity in association management and appreciate all of the support we have received from the community for this important program.”

DELP scholars receive membership in ASAE & The Center; registration to ASAE & The Center?s Annual Meeting and two other ASAE & The Center education programs selected by the DELP scholar, including travel and lodging; waiver of the CAE examination fee; and access to industry leaders who could serve as mentors.

The deadline for submission of applications and nominations for the next DELP class is March 26, 2010. For more information, visit www.asaecenter.org/DELP.

About ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is a membership organization of more than 22,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 11,000 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in 50 countries around the world. The Center for Association Leadership is the premier provider of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association profession. Together, ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association community. For more information about ASAE & The Center, please visit www.asaecenter.org.

IMEX 2010 On Target for Bigger Business

Four months out from the opening of the eighth IMEX in Frankfurt organisers, the IMEX Group, have announced that they are on course to deliver more business opportunities than ever when the doors open on 25 May.

The trade show’s performance to date confirms the results of the latest IMEX Global Insights Report (last quarter 2009). The Report asked a standing panel of 45 senior international meetings industry and corporate professionals for their views about the coming year. 57% expected the number of meetings, events and incentives they organised to remain the same. A further 33% confidently expected the number of events they held to be even higher in 2010.

Says Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group, “Our experience of both exhibitor and hosted buyer numbers upholds these findings. It suggests that the underlining fundamentals in our industry are robust, despite a changing global economic outlook. This bears out the fact that virtually every sector of our industry is consistently prepared to commit to IMEX knowing they have the opportunity of meeting the right people, doing good business and being assured of getting all the support they need.”

Strong hotel representation
Hotel groups will continue to be represented strongly at IMEX with many of the larger global groups bringing in additional hosted buyers for 2010. Ritz Carlton, Moevenpick Hotels, Fairmont/Swissotel Raffles and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have all increased their stand space. Scandic Hotels and Albert Management of Latvia will exhibit for the first time and Warwick International makes a welcome return.

Other new exhibitors so far confirmed for 2010 include Columbia, Meeting Point International and Showcare. The IMEX Wild Card Winners for 2010 are also all first-time exhibitors in the international meetings and events industry. The Wild Card Pavilion will host one of the fastest emerging destinations in Africa – Uganda – together with the mountain town of Morzine in France and the new Hof Conference and Cultural Center, Iceland.

Demand for exhibition space has been particularly strong from Asian meetings and events industry suppliers with Macau, Sri Lanka and Indian Holiday all expanding their presence. US exhibitors have also confirmed their enthusiasm and commitment with Anchorage, Arizona, Chicago, Texas and New York City already contracted and all those who attended in 2009 expected to exhibit on the IMEX US Pavilion again in 2010.

The Spanish Tourist Office is now firmly established as the second largest exhibitor at IMEX with just over 800 square metres of floor space. Both Madrid and Valencia will be taking their own exhibition stands.

Other exhibitors who have also increased their exhibition sizes at the Frankfurt show so far include the Czech Tourism Authority; Luxembourg; Carat Tours; Liberty International and Discovery Jordan.

Visitor and hosted buyer registration is now open. For more information visit www.imex-frankfurt.com.

Give the Gift of Life at Paragon Casino Resort

Marksville, LA (January 20, 2010)- Paragon Casino Resort has partnered with Lifeshare Blood Center to conduct a blood drive on Thursday, January 28 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Paragon Casino Resort Chiqui Three Ballroom. Donors will receive a complimentary workout duffle bag.

The shelf life for blood is only 42 days and donations are needed on a continuous basis to replenish hospital blood banks. Statistics show that one out of every three people will need a blood transfusion during their lifetime.

?Since the casino opened in 1994, Paragon Casino Resort has hosted over seventy blood drives. We will continue our partnership with Lifeshare Blood Center to provide this vital service to the citizens in our community,” commented Chris Barbry, acting general manager for Paragon Casino Resort.

Donors must be between the ages of 17 to 75, weigh at least 110 lbs. and be in good general health. For questions about current medications or current health conditions, interested donors may call a representative at LifeShare Blood Center at 318-445-7439 or 800-256-7439. Donors should drink plenty of liquids and eat prior to donating blood.

For more information about the Paragon Casino Resort blood drive, please contact Mary Hooks Barbry, Public Relations Manager, at 800-946-1946 ext. 2035.
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About Paragon Casino Resort
Paragon Casino Resort, the Pearl of Louisiana, is the only casino resort destination in Central Louisiana. Paragon has been attracting gamers from across the country for 15 years. Paragon features an impressive lineup of luxury amenities and attractions including a new luxury hotel tower; Spa La Vie, a full-service spa and salon; an indoor tropical pool with swim-up bar; a soaring retail atrium with ?living” bayou; and three movie theatres. The new Mari Convention Center opened with a new Showroom, Grand Hall and Ballroom. Paragon?s Marketplace Buffet is Louisiana?s largest buffet, with 550 seats and live-action stations.

Additionally, Paragon features a 59,754-square-foot gaming floor offering approximately 2,200 slot machines with Las Vegas odds, 46 table games, including Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, various poker games, as well as a nine-table poker room. Other attractions include a 531-room hotel, five restaurants, a full-service RV resort, and the newly renovated Kids Quest child care activity center. The luxurious OTB adjacent to Roxy?s is open to the delight of racetrack enthusiasts. LA 1 Market was recently completed. It features a wide range of Louisiana products from art to cookbooks. The Pelican Stage in Big Daddy E?s restaurant features live music for dining pleasure.

Paragon Casino Resort is located on Highway 1 in Marksville, La. The casino is owned and operated by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.paragoncasinoresort.com or call 1-800-946-1946, ext. 2032.