Filmmaker Burns teams with Tauck
By Michelle Baran
Delta to add Angola
to African network
Kimpton to manage
Delta set Jan. 20 as the launch
date for one-stop service from At-
lanta to Luanda, Angola, via Dakar,
Senegal. Inventory was slated to
open on Oct. 2 for the thrice-week-
ly service, which will be operated
with A330 aircraft.
The new owner of the 140-room
Grand Hotel Minneapolis, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, tapped Kimpton
to take over management of the
property, a downtown landmark
since it opened in 1912 as the Minneapolis Athletic Club.
Pebblebrook acquired the hotel
for $33 million and plans to invest
another $4.5 million over the next
two years to refurbish guestrooms
and public areas.
Delta is planning service to Launda, Angola.
The move puts eight African
points on the Delta route map,
with service to Malabo, Equatorial
Guinea, and Nairobi, Kenya, awaiting government approvals.
Hertz bid spurned;
Avis to step up
Avis appeared to be in the driver’s
seat in the bidding war for Dollar
Thrifty, whose shareholders rejected a takeover bid by Hertz.
Prior to the vote, Hertz had said
it would withdraw and not make
another bid, but Avis Budget
Group said it would continue to
“actively pursue the acquisition of
Following the vote, Dollar Thrifty
said it would “evaluate all of our
options going forward.”
delivered to Cunard
are part of the National Park system.
Initial discussions for the project took place
about 18 months ago but began to seriously take
shape within the last six months, according to
Jennifer Tombaugh, executive vice president at
“The excitement and degree of collabora-
tion we’re already seeing in this partnership has
been nothing short of inspiring,” Mahar said in
a statement. “We’ve really been rolling up our
sleeves with Ken and Dayton, and they have a
great vision of how they can weave stories into
our journeys that our
guests can then experi-
The first departures
will be next year. While
the destinations will be
throughout the U.S.,
there will likely be some
locations included in the
itineraries that Tauck
doesn’t currently visit,
Burns and Duncan’s
most recent project,
“The National Parks:
America’s Best Idea,”
“When the ‘National Parks’ films came out last
year, it increased interest in the parks enormously,”
Tombaugh said. “This is a great marriage oppor-
Whether or not increased interest in the Na-
tional Park system can be attributed to the film
series — which highlighted the American notion
that certain natural and historical locations should
be preserved — the numbers show that Americans
are rediscovering their national treasures.
Tombaugh noted that Yellowstone National
Park, for instance, had a record-breaking number
of visitors this summer: 2. 5 million people, according to the U.S. National Park Service.
Tauck World Discovery has signed a multiyear
partnership with documentary filmmaker Ken
Burns and his collaborator Dayton Duncan to
create “Ken Burns American Journeys,” itineraries
based on some of the duo’s well-known American
Together with Burns and Duncan, Tauck is de-
veloping itineraries that revolve around the stories
and themes of documentary series such as “The
National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “The Civil
War,” “Baseball” and
will produce a series of
short films with Burns
and Duncan that will
showcase the history
and cultural signifi-
cance of the U.S. desti-
nations that will make
up the itineraries. The
shorts will be exclusive
to Tauck and will be
aired on tour.
“Our films and
Tauck’s U.S. journeys
are about sharing America’s story in a memo-
rable and compelling way,” Burns said in a state-
ment. “We both try to engage our audiences,
increase their knowledge and make strong emo-
tional connections with the people and stories
from America’s past that help define who we are
Tauck plans to release details of the itineraries in
the coming weeks and months, the company said.
Tauck CEO Dan Mahar discussed several possibilities, such as a tour tied in with Burns’ “Civil
War” series that would visit areas connected with
He also pointed to last year’s six-part series,
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” noting
that Tauck has included the National Parks in its
itineraries since 1926 and currently goes to more
than 12 parks, battlefields and historical sites that
Roger Saterstrom, Tauck’s product manager for North America, and
filmmaker Ken Burns rough out one of the itineraries being launched
as part of their “Ken Burns American Journeys” collaboration.
coming to Panama
Two new Westin hotels in Panama
will be operated as franchised
properties under an agreement between Starwood and Bern Hotels
& Resorts Panama, which opened
Le Meridien Panama in September 2009. The Westin Playa Bonita Panama will open in 2011, followed by the Westin Panama Hotel
in 2012 in Panama City’s Costa del
Este business district.
UA-CO merger suit
A federal judge has ruled that
the Continental-United merger
should not be rejected on antitrust grounds. The suit had been
brought in San Francisco by 50 passengers and agents; the plaintiffs’
attorney, Joseph Alioto, said he will
appeal, according to reports.
Cunard took delivery of the Queen
Elizabeth at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, giving
the brand three regal liners once
again. The 92,400-ton vessel is
scheduled to be named by the
queen in Southampton on Oct. 11.
PLANS TO OPEN OFFICE IN RHODE ISLAND
GAP Adventures to grow its U.S. presence
NCL boosts prices
for onboard Cirque
Norwegian Cruise Line raised the
price and revamped the menu
for its Cirque Dreams and Dinner
to change hands
Strategic Hotels & Resorts agreed
to sell the InterContinental Prague
for $150 million to an investment
group led by Westmont Hospitality, an owner-operator that already
has a number of IHG properties in
The sale of the 372-room property is scheduled to close in the
After 20 years in business, Toronto-based travel
company GAP Adventures is opening its first U.S.
“The goal is to grow the U.S. passenger base and
to develop travel agent relationships in the United
States,” said Cyndi Zesk, who was named general
manager for the company’s U.S. operation. She
added that U.S. customers currently account for
less than 10% of GAP’s consumer base.
Zesk is shopping for an office in Providence,
R.I., and said she was looking to hire a sales and
marketing staff of between 12 and 13 people.
GAP Adventures, which was founded in 1990,
has more than 800 employees and services more
than 100,000 passengers annually, with annual
revenue of about $150 million. It offers small
group tours, safaris and expeditions to more than
100 countries on all seven continents, and owns
the 124-passenger polar ship Expedition and the
24-room G Hotel in Quito, Ecuador.
In addition to its Toronto headquarters, GAP
has offices in London and Melbourne, Australia. It
also has concept stores in Toronto, Vancouver and
Calgary, Canada, and in Melbourne.
In September 2007, GAP opened a 1,200-square-
foot retail space in New York on Sixth Avenue.
That store will continue to be used to showcase
GAP products, as well as to host agent education
events, Zesk said.
Zesk most recently was vice president of sales
and marketing at Blount Small Ship Adventures,
which she joined in 2009 after 15 years at Collette
Vacations, where she last served as vice president
of global marketing.
The Cirque Dreams and Dinner show.
show on the Norwegian Epic. The
two-tiered rates are $30 and $20,
up from the roll-out prices of $20
and $15. Andy Stuart, executive
vice president of global sales and
passenger services, cited “
incredible demand” as the reason.