5 things to know: 18 May 2017
5 things to know: 18 May 2017
18 MAY 2017 9:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • EU, US push back potential laptop ban expansion
  • Russian bank reportedly helped finance Trump Toronto hotel
  • Cuba: Open for US business, some restrictions apply
  • US, Canada hotel results for week ending 13 May
  • US travelers are more stressed, study finds

EU, U.S. push back potential laptop ban expansion: Efforts to widen a laptop ban preventing the carrying of laptops on aircrafts from Europe to the U.S. “appears to have been dropped” after a “high-level” meeting with European Commissioners and Homeland Security on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.

U.S. officials previously remarked they would look into expanding the ban to Europe on flights “originating from 10 airports in eight countries including the (United Arab Emirates), Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey,” the newspaper reports, alleging bombs could be disguised in the devices.

However, during the four-hour long meeting, there was no talk of applying the laptop ban to flights from Europe, according to The Guardian. “The American delegation, led by the deputy of secretary of homeland security, Elaine Duke, instead promised to keep Brussels informed if any alternative measures were to be put in place,” the newspaper reports.

Russian bank reportedly helped finance Trump Toronto hotel: President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, allegedly met with a Russian state-owned bank under U.S. sanctions in December to help finance the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, according to Business Insider.

The bank, Vnesheconombank, bought $850 million of stock in a Ukrainian steelmaker from billionaire Russian-Canadian developer Alexander Shnaider, who was building the hotel at the time, the article states.

“The money from the sale of that stock to the VEB—which The (Wall Street) Journal said went through while Russian President Vladimir Putin was chairman of VEB’s supervisory board—was used to help finance the construction of the Toronto hotel at a key moment for the project,” the article states.

The Trump Organization has stated President Trump had no financial dealings with the bank and the company only licensed the brand and manages the hotel and residences.

Cuba: Open for U.S. business, some restrictions apply: The number of inbound travelers to Cuba is increasing, and the Cuban government isn’t shy about its pitches for foreign direct investment for tourism and hotels, writes Hotel News Now’s Stephanie Ricca. That process, however, can be complicated.

Cuba Ministry of Tourism officials, developers and hoteliers attended the South American Hotel Investment Conference Cuba this week to outline the country’s plans for promoting tourism

“Tourism is one of Cuba’s strategic sectors for development, and the primary objective is to boost our GDP growth between 5% and 7% per year,” said Deborah Rivas, director general of foreign investment for the Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Affairs of Cuba. “Our public policy doesn’t differ. We want to promote businesses to export, and (we want to) import management skills and tourism. … Tourism is our No. 1 most dynamic sector.”

For Ricca’s impressions of the conference, check out her blog from Havana.

U.S., Canada hotel results for week ending 13 May: The U.S. hotel industry reported mostly positive results in the three key performance metrics during the week of 7-13 May, according to data from STR, Hotel News Now’s parent company.

Occupancy stayed relatively flat, decreasing 0.1% year over year to 67.9%, but average daily rate rose 2.1% to $125.64, pushing a 2% increase in revenue per available room to $85.34.

Among the Top 25 Markets, Orlando, Florida, saw the largest increase across all three key performance metrics. Occupancy jumped 14.1% to 76.2%, ADR grew 13.1% to $118.89 and RevPAR increased 29% to $90.66.

Over the same period, Canada saw mixed results in the three key performance metrics, according to STR’s data.

ADR increased 6.3% year over year to 154.27 Canadian dollars ($113.33), and while occupancy decreased 1.0% to 67.1%, and RevPAR increased 5.3% to CA$103.55 ($76.07).

Among the provinces, Alberta experienced the only double-digit decline in occupancy (-13.3% to 52.9%).

U.S travelers are more stressed, study finds: A recent study through Wyndham Vacation Rentals found that 51% of U.S. vacationers revealed they are more stressed now, compared to a year ago, resulting in 37% cancelling or delaying a trip, the study said.

Survey respondents identified some of the challenges interfering with travel plans as, “stressed due to ‘information overload’ and paralyzed with too many choices when researching and planning (67%). Once on vacation, they said, “it takes time to unwind and forget about the stress of work and personal responsibilities.”

Three in 10 (30%) “don’t feel truly relaxed until the second day of vacation or later;” and lastly, 67% say they have “argued with a travel companion as a result of stress caused by planning or taking a vacation.”

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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