5 things to know: 19 March 2019
5 things to know: 19 March 2019
19 MARCH 2019 9:38 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Brookfield buys 100% of India’s Leela Palaces & Resorts
  • Security and Europe top Marriott’s to-do list
  • UK sees highest employment numbers since 1971
  • House of Commons Speaker blocks May’s Brexit plans
  • Hoteliers get break on caviar prices thanks to China

Brookfield buys 100% of India’s Leela Palaces & Resorts: Canadian asset management firm Brookfield has bought 100% of India’s Leela Palaces & Resorts, including four properties under the umbrella of Hotel Leela Venture, for 39.5 billion Indian rupees ($572.5 million), according to a news release.

Leela will continue to operate a hotel in Mumbai, although Brookfield will be given the right of first refusal over it. The four properties, all in India, are in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Udaipur, while Leela also has permission to develop a hotel in Agra, site of the Taj Mahal. Brookfield also has paid 1.5 billion rupees ($21.7 million) for Leela’s intellectual property rights.

Security and Europe top Marriott’s to-do list: HNN’s Stephanie Ricca reports Marriott International is focusing on Europe for growth as it rebuilds trust with its customers following last year’s data breach, according to Carlton Ervin, Marriott’s chief development officer for Europe, who spoke at the recent International Hotel Investment Forum.

Ervin said Marriott has made progress in Europe in regards to “soft branding at the high end of the scale, and in lifestyle brands, such as Moxy by Marriott.”

During a keynote speech on the IHIF stage, Liam Brown, Marriott’s president and managing director for Europe, said, “our mission … is to learn from (the data breach) to figure out where the opportunity is to have more robust systems and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

U.K. sees highest employment numbers since 1971: The latest report on the United Kingdom’s employment shows numbers reached 32.7 million, or 76.1% of those in the working age group. This marks a record since statistics were first kept in 1971, when Edward Heath was the U.K.’s prime minister and Richard Nixon was president of the United States.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, unemployment fell by 35,000 to 1.34 million, which is the first time that number has fallen to below 4% since 1975. Commentators still have mixed views on the strength of the U.K. in light of Brexit, with some stating that this shows the U.K. economy is growing above that of France and Germany and others saying that while the employment numbers are encouraging, the country is slowing in terms of other economic indicators.

House of Commons Speaker blocks May’s Brexit plans: The Brexit debacle continues, with the latest drama emanating from John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons who is responsible for making sure the rules and regulations of Parliamentary procedure are followed.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bercow blocked the Prime Minister Theresa May’s next attempt to pass her deal on Brexit, the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, saying there cannot be a third vote by Parliament on “substantially the same proposition as that of last week, which was rejected by 149 votes.” Bercow said parliamentary convention for his decision dates back to 1604 and is designed not to waste lawmakers’ time.

Hoteliers get break on caviar prices thanks to China: Caviar is becoming more available and more affordable for restaurants and hotels thanks to developments in aquaculture, the production of eggs, by Chinese entrepreneurs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Quoting numbers from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization, The Journal reports caviar is so readily available, the delicacy now sells for “an average price of $276.24 a kilogram in November, down about 13% from a year earlier.”

Compiled by Terence Baker.

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