Industry News 3-16-2007

*2007's Distinctive Destinations
*New Benefits at Travel Institute
*And more

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the country’s largest private, nonprofit preservation organization, has announced its 2007 “Dozen Distinctive Destinations,” an annual list of uniquely preserved communities in the United States.

The list of 12 destinations was selected from a total of 63 destinations in 27 states nominated by individuals, preservation organizations and communities. The 2007 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations includes the following locations in the West:

Durango, Colo. Nestled between red sandstone bluffs in the lush Animas River Valley, Durango offers natural beauty and a colorful history that is today reflected in a charming Victorian downtown and some of the most spectacular and well-preserved Pueblo ruins in the United States.

Ellensburg, Wash. Located in the heart of the beautiful Kittitas Valley and in the center of Washington State, historic Ellensburg is a wonderfully preserved Victorian town that’s home to Central Washington University, a delightful downtown historic district and some of the best fly fishing in the Northwest.

West Hollywood, Calif. In a sprawling metropolis nicknamed the “City of Angels,” West Hollywood maintains a unique identity as a quirky yet sophisticated urban village, which boasts diverse historic architecture, people watching along glittering thoroughfares, designer boutiques, hip restaurants and unique tourist attractions, such as the 1922 Rudolf Schindler House.

Additionally, the National Trust recognized the city of New Orleans for exemplary achievement in heritage tourism.

This is the eighth time the National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced a list of Dozen Distinctive Destinations. To date, there are 96 Dozen Distinctive Destinations located in 41 states throughout the country. In each community, residents have taken action to protect their town’s character and sense of place. Whether by enacting a local preservation law, rewriting zoning codes to prevent commercial sprawl, making downtown areas more walkable, enacting design standards or taking some other major steps that demonstrate a strong commitment to their town, residents have worked hard to preserve the historic and scenic assets of their communities, with rewards that transcend town limits.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America’s communities. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to protect the irreplaceable locations that tell America’s story. Staff at the Washington, D.C., headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with the Trust’s 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states.

New Travel Institute Benefits

The Travel Institute has added new benefits to its Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program for 2007. CTA candidates can now participate in free online reviews of the eight core courses, as well as a test preparation session with an Institute facilitator. Candidates have also started receiving new electronic Study Buddy newsletters.

Additionally, CTA candidates now have access to a special section of The Travel Institute discussion board where they can ask questions, share ideas and make new friends. After earning the CTA designation, graduates will receive a $100 credit toward the CTC or CTIE course.

Launched in 1997, the CTA certification program is primarily geared to front-line travel professionals who have 12-18 months of industry experience. More than 7,000 travel professionals have earned the CTA designation.

“Because so many frontline and home-based agents who enroll in CTA study independently, we wanted to provide them opportunities to network and communicate with their peers through the newsletters, discussion board and online study groups,” said Pat Gagnon, CTC, director of program development. “Earning the CTA designation is a great way for travel professionals to achieve more credibility from their clients as well as their peers.”


Expansion At Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., has announced two new expansion projects: a new 900-acre luxury resort anchored by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and a new 450-acre retail, dining and lodging district.

“These projects are first-of-a-kind for Walt Disney World, and we are thrilled to be able to bring Four Seasons to our resort,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Families around the globe know they can trust Disney to deliver magical experiences and Four Seasons to offer exceptional service and amenities. Combined, this is a huge win for devotees of both brands and for Central Florida,” said Crofton.

Kor Hotel Group Acquires Villa Del Sol

Kor Hotel Group, the Los Angeles-based luxury hotel operator, has acquired the Villa del Sol resort located just outside the fishing village of Zihuatanejo along the sheltered shores of Zihuatanejo Bay and four miles south of the resort destination of Ixtapa.

“The aquisition of Villa del Sol allows us to extend our presence from the quickly developing Mayan Riviera on Mexico’s Caribbean side to the clasic destination regions around Ixtapa on its Pacific edge,” said Jeffrey Smith, Chief Operating Officer of The Kor Group.

Villa del Sol’s 35 luxurious guestrooms and 35 suites are housed in two-story casitas, tastefully decorated with local Mexican art and clad in vibrant colors, reflective of the tropics.

Located just footsteps from the palm-studded beach, each room is unique in design and features a private terrace. Suites include outdoor infinity pools for soaking up the views. The resort’s terracotta-tiled villas and thatched palapa cabanas are surrounded by coconut palms, tropical gardens and gentle waterfalls.

A private beach that stretches along 1,000 feet of azure waters on the resort’s Pacific coastline is strewn with teak lounge chairs and exclusive palapas. Four swimming pools including a 60-foot lap pool and inviting infinity pool, poised at the water’s edge, provide additional enjoyment for guests.

Kor Hotel Group’s immediate plans include converting the property’s intimate spa into a world-class spa with expanded facilities and menu of services. Area activities are abundant and include tennis, golf, scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing and water skiing.