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North America

WTTC Projects Record-Breaking Year for Travel

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski

April 4th, 2024

Skift Take

The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts 2024 will be a record year for the sector, with an economic contribution expected to hit $11.1 trillion, indicating robust growth and significant job creation.

The DJIA plunged 530 points, Nasdaq was down 228, the S&P 500 fell 64 points and the 10 year treasury yield was down .05 to 4.31%. Reasons for the plunge ranged from comments by a Fed affiliate suggesting there could be no rate cuts this year to oil spiking on the potential for Iran and Israel escalation. SOND was the big mover in a down day for lodging stocks, up 17%. SLNA traded down to another all-time low, closing at $0.08 a share, down another -19%.

The World Travel & Tourism Council is projecting a record-breaking year for travel and tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contribution set to reach an all-time high of $11.1 trillion. According to the global tourism body’s 2024 Economic Impact Research, Travel & Tourism will contribute an additional $770BN over its previous record. As the global sector soars past its pre-pandemic prosperity, WTTC expects 142 countries of 185 analyzed will be outperforming previous national records. In partnership with Oxford EconomicWTTC’s latest EIR showcases a sector brimming with opportunities, underpinning almost 348MN jobs globally, representing an increase of more than 13.6MN jobs compared to its highest point in 2019. International visitor spending is expected to come within touching distance of the 2019 peak, to reach $1.89TN, while domestic tourists are forecast to spend more than in any year on record to hit $5.4TN. Looking ahead, WTTC is forecasting a promising future for the next decade, characterized by robust growth and unparalleled career opportunities. By 2034, the sector will supercharge the global economy with a staggering $16TN, making up 11.4% of the entire economic landscape.

Omni Hotels & Resorts confirmed that a cyberattack caused the nationwide IT outage that is still affecting its locations. Sources told the Bleeping Computer site that the hotel chain was the victim of a ransomware attack and is currently in the process of restoring encrypted servers from backups.

Summa Development Group plans to build a 33-story skyscraper with a JW Marriott-branded hotel in downtown Orlando, Florida. The new tower is expected to have 228 hotel guestrooms, 129 condos, two restaurants, a conference center and an integrated parking garage.

A new Marriott Residence Inn is set to open April 30 in the River North building, in Chicago, Illinois, previously occupied by the Conrad Hotel. The 289-room hotel will feature two restaurants and a rooftop bar. Bringing the Residence Inn to the building is a joint venture from Prime Group and Wanxiang America Real Estate Group, a longtime owner of the property. This is their first project together. Prime Group is overseeing renovation of the building described as a major redo.

Roanoke Hospitality will oversee the hotels food and beverage operations.

Construction will soon start on the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Hot Springs Downtown, in Arkansas. Operated by Beechwood Pinnacle Hotels, the new hotel is expected to open on July 29, 2025. The 93-room hotel will feature a bar and all the amenities the Hampton Inn & Suites brand is known for.

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of the Garner Hotel Clarksville Northeast in Clarksville, Tennessee, marking the fourth U.S. open property from the brand. The 71-room property offers the Garner Shop, a fitness center and an indoor pool.

VBRG announced an October 2025 opening of a new boutique hotel in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The Riff Hotel will feature 22 music-themed rooms, a basement speakeasy, an event space, a listening lounge, lobby library and as part of a planned second phase 2, VBRG will add a rooftop bar. Including the purchase price, the hotel project is slated to cost $7 million to $8 million.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the Fordson Hotel, an industrial revolution-inspired property located in Oklahoma City’s West Village District, has officially joined World of Hyatt and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand. Owned by Hall Capital and managed by Avion HospitalityFordson Hotel is housed in the former Ford Motor Company Assembly Plan and features 135 guestrooms and suites four onsite restaurants, a fitness center, spa, and 14,000 square feet of venue space.

Oaktree Capital Management and Clearview Hotel Capital have secured $229 million of CMBS debt to refinance the joint venture’s 1,107-key, 12-story, Hilton hotel property in Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. Morgan Stanley originated the CMBS single-asset, single-borrower loan.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation also announced the planned expansion of Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino with the upcoming debut of a new, adults-only section, complimenting the resort’s existing family-friendly offerings. Slated to open June 1, 2024, the 52-room beachfront expansion includes a new bar and restaurant, an infinity pool, and full access to all-inclusive offerings at Dreams Curacao Resort, Spa & Casino and the nearby Zoetry Curacao Resort & Spa.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced the early Summer 2024 opening of a new boutique luxury hotel in Santo Domingo. Marking the brand’s first property in the Dominican RepublicKimpton Las Mercedes is owned by Megeve Investment Office S.A.S. and will be operated by Iberostar GroupKimpton Las Mercedes will feature 130 guestrooms, including eight expansive rooftop suites; unique restaurant and bar concepts; several multi-use spaces; a rooftop pool and fitness center. When it opens, Kimpton Las Mercedes will become the fifth Kimpton hotel in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Personnel Move

KSL Resorts appointed Greg Kennealey as its new CEO. In his new position, Kennealey takes charge of overseeing the operation, development and strategic director of KSLR and its growing portfolio of resort properties. Kennealeysucceeds Scott Dalecio, who will step down as CEO but continue as a senior advisor to KSLR and executive chairman of Outrigger Resorts & Hotels. A former principal and head of hospitality at KSL Capital PartnersKennealey has served as CEO of Mission Hill Hospitality since its inception in 2021 and will continue on in that capacity.

Europe Highlights

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the opening of Grand Hyatt Barcelona, the first urban Grand Hyatt property in Spain and the brand’s fifth hotel in Europe. The property offers 465 guestrooms, including 49 signature suites and a penthouse; four dining venues; the Oasis Spa by Natura Bisse; an outdoor pool equipped with a terrace, sunbeds, a pool bar and restaurant; and 22 meeting rooms with more than 35,000 square feet of event space.

Radisson Collection strengthened its presence in Italy with the opening of its sixth hotel, Radisson Collection Hotel, Roma Antica. Nestled in the heart of Rome’s historic city center, the hotel offers 84 guestrooms, a Turkish bath, fitness center, restaurant and rooftop bar.

Eric Vokel unveiled its newest addition in AmsterdamEric Vokel Riverfront Suites. Located within the iconic Pontsteiger Building in Houthaven, the property marks the ninth property in the brand’s portfolio, and its second in the Dutch capital. The Riverfront Suites feature 12 intimate and welcoming apartments, each offering a comprehensive range of amenities including a fully equipped kitchen.

easyHotel has acquired a site to undertake the construction and development of a new hotel in the vibrant city of Alicante, Spain. The hotel will feature 97 new low carbon rooms and is expected to open in 2026. This turnkey project has been achieved with the support of Xpandia Projects.

Alan Woinski and Kim Woinski

April 4th, 2024

Companies: Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Avion Hospitality, Dreams Resorts & Spas, easyHotel, Garner, Grand Hyatt, Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, IHG Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton, KSL Resorts, Marriott International, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Prime Group, Radisson Collection, Residence Inn by Marriott, Selina, Sonder Holdings Inc., The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, VRBG, Wanxiang America Real Estate Group

Locations: Arkansas, Barcelona, Chicago, Dominican Republic, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Rome, Spain, Tennessee, Washington DC

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