Bucking the tide?

Just about every aspect of the tour and travel industry(and, indeed, the broader economy) seems to have been hit fiercely by turbulent headwinds. And yet there are reports within and without the hospitality industry of launches that seem to defy gravity.

In the hotel sector none appears more defiant than the irrepressible Sol Kerzner who has chosen this moment to mark the grand opening of a "$1.5 billion hotel on Dubai's man-made, palm-shaped island". The 73 year old Mr. Kerzner has not held back on the opening ceremonies either and is reported to have showered over $20million on the opening "night bash at the salmon-colored Atlantis — modeled after Mr.
Kerzner's Atlantis resort in the Bahamas". Nevertheless, even Sol Kerzner appears to have tempered his future plans by announcing that he needs "to rethink hotel growth, staffing needs". Other hoteliers who continue to launch projects include Starwood with more hotels in the Middle East and closer home in St.Louis, MO, a new Indigo hotel is slated to open in two years.

In the airline sector, several airports including, Seattle, Chicago's O'Hare and Washington's Dulles open new runways just as domestic travel heads south. Some airlines also are adding international routes including to the US.

The IATA attempts to throw cold water on all the expansion plans by somberly reporting "a sharp fall in business travel" with "he number of passengers traveling on premium airline tickets dropped eight percent in September".

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.