Industry News 5-11-2007

*New President for Classic Vacations
*Disney World to Ban Smoking
*Founder of El Cid Resorts Dies
*and more...

New President for Classic Vacations

Classic Vacations recently named Tim MacDonald as its president. MacDonald most recently held the position of vice president for

Prior to joining in 2002, MacDonald led executive-level consulting role engagements at Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc. for industry leaders, including Carlson Wagonlit and the Travel Industry Association of America. He also spent four years leading business development for CBI Industries, Inc. MacDonald holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“Classic built its reputation for excellence by delivering great products and services to the agency community,” said MacDonald. “I expect to continue that legacy and look forward to working with the many travel agencies that have helped Classic become so successful.”

MacDonald replaces Gregg Brockway, who resigned late last year. Ron Letterman, who was Classic’s chairman at that time, was asked to run the company while it searched for a new president. Letterman will return to his role as vice chairman and serve as a senior advisor to the company. The Classic executive team will remain and continue in their current roles.

“We looked long and hard to find the right person to lead Classic. There were many excellent candidates, but Tim’s unique skills stood out,” said Letterman. “He is a solid manager with great strategic and people skills. I am confident that Classic is in good hands.”

Disney World to Ban Smoking

Disney World Resort plans to implement a smoking ban at two dozen Disney-owned hotels and timeshare properties, including all balconies and patios, effective June 1. Following the ban, smoking will be allowed in designated, outdoor spaces only.

By putting out cigarettes, pipes and cigars for good, Disney said it becomes the largest “single-site” resort complex to ban smoking. Disney instituted a similar policy last year at its Disneyland hotels in California. Walt Disney World’s theme and water parks previously banned smoking except for in designated areas in 2000.

Disney World said the move was prompted by customer demand, as the number of guests requesting non-smoking rooms has risen dramatically during the last five years. Currently, fewer than 4 percent of Walt Disney World’s 24,000 rooms are smoking-optional. The new policy will also be implemented at Disney’s Hilton Head Island (S.C.) Resort and at Disney’s Vero Beach (Fla.) Resort, both Disney Vacation Club timeshare properties.

Disney said customers who light up in non-smoking areas will be hit with a “deep-cleaning fee” ranging from $250 to $500, depending on the size of their room.

Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre said Disney would attempt to rebook smokers with existing reservations who object to the new policy at another on-site property not owned by Disney.

Founder of El Cid Resorts Dies

Julio Berdegue, founder of El Cid Resorts and president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Businesses, died of heart failure April 21. He was 76 years old.

Born April 14, 1931, Berdegue came from Madrid with his family at the age of 9 and later became a leader for Mexican Tourism and a visionary for Mazatlan as a destination. Beginning with the Hotel Granada in 1972, he has led the growth of the city’s largest resort collection, El Cid Resorts, which has 3,000 employees.

Among his many accomplishments, he was national president of the Association of Mexican Businesses and the Commercial Board in Culiacan.

Berdegue is survived by his wife, Dolores, and their four sons, Julio, Fernando, Carlos and Mariano. Lucia Chung

SYTA Conference Coming soon

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) is accepting registrations for its 11th Annual SYTA Conference, Sept. 7-11, in Whistler, British Columbia. This year’s theme, Reach for the Peak, looks at expanding opportunities in the student travel market and presents educational seminars, keynote speakers and networking opportunities.

The conference, hosted by Tourism Whistler, will be held at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Registration for active members (tour operator/travel agent) is $250. Registration for associate members (suppliers) is $725 from May 12-June 29. Online registrations receive a $25 discount.

SFCVB markets to Gay/Lesbian Travelers

This month, the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) will launch its first national advertising campaign for gay and lesbian travelers. The full-color print campaign showcases the diverse activities gay and lesbian visitors can enjoy while in the city. In addition, the SFCVB recently launched a “Gay Travel” micro-site trip planning portal ( designed to become the LGBT community’s one-stop shop for planning their San Francisco vacation.

Twenty-six SFCVB member companies have signed on as program sponsors, including Kimpton Hotels, Hotel Nikko, Renoir Hotel, Le Meridien, Parc Fifty Five Hotel, Heritage House, Amtrak and Southwest Airlines.

Agents in the Driver’s Seat

For the third year in a row, Funjet Vacations is giving away a new car and other prizes for Las Vegas bookings made from May 1-Oct. 31, for travel until Dec. 31.

Agents earn points based on revenue generated by booking Las Vegas air/hotel packages, car rentals, tours and other features via Funjet Vacations.

Top-performing agents will receive a trip to Las Vegas Dec. 10-12, which will include roundtrip airfare, accommodations and an appreciation dinner where the car will be awarded.

Bonus points will be available throughout the promotion; all bookings via Funjet Vacations May 14-31, with travel May 14-Dec. 19, will receive a complimentary upgrade to midsize car from compact car.