5 things to know: 15 May 2017
5 things to know: 15 May 2017
15 MAY 2017 9:38 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Travel ban goes before appeals court again
  • String of cyberattacks heightens fears
  • Luxury development overcomes challenges
  • Dubai to add man-made islands in $1.7 billion tourist project
  • STR global pipeline roundup

Travel ban goes before appeals court again: The 9th U.S. Circuit will once again listen to the battle of the legality over President Donald Trump’s executive order today, which blocks citizens of several predominately Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S., according to a CNN report. Trump’s lawyers at the Justice Department will sit before a panel of three judges appointed by President Bill Clinton.

A federal judge in Hawaii had put a halt on the ban just a few hours prior to going into effect nationwide two months ago, citing it as a likely violation of “the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims” CNN reported.

The Justice Department “maintains that the travel ban was animated by bona fide national security concerns,” but the resort states “U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson disagreed in March, concluding that the executive order was likely motivated by a discriminatory purpose.”

Many believe this case will go to the Supreme Court as it is “too important for the Supreme Court to pass up,” said Cornell Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr.

String of cyberattacks heightens fears: Last week’s global cyberattack that hit “hundreds of thousands of computer systems” might be more complex than originally thought, reports the New York Times, prompting Trump to order his homeland security adviser to coordinate a search for the source of the attack.

Several reports of the attack were found over the weekend in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, but the U.S. administration fears the malicious software could remain for some time and spread further “in different forms, with new types of ransomware afflicting computers around the globe,” the paper stated.

“The source of the attack is a delicate issue for the United States because the vulnerability on which the malicious software is based was published by a group called the Shadow Brokers, which last summer began publishing cybertools developed by the National Security Agency,” reports the Times. Government investigators are examining how the code got out, and theories imply that the initial breach came from an insider, “perhaps a government contractor.”

Luxury development overcomes challenges: Despite developers of luxury hotels saying it’s more difficult to finance and build high-end properties, there are still compelling reasons to do so, writes Hotel News Now’s Sean McCracken. Speakers on the “Strategies for successful development of upscale luxury hotels” panel shared some hot topic issues faced in developing high-end projects, including the importance of keeping capital costs down.

Marty Collins, CEO, Gatehouse Capital, used construction of hotels within the W brand as an example.

“They were never cheap, but they were never ridiculously expensive,” said Marty Collins, CEO, Gatehouse Capital. “An awful lot were new builds. Linking in residential helped, and linking in billboards helped. We just executed sales on the W Hollywood and the W San Diego, and I think that’s kind of vindicated the investment thesis.”

For more coverage of Meet the Money, click here.

Dubai to add man-made islands in $1.7-billion tourist project: The latest resort development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is two man-made islands built on either side of the Burj Al Arab, a luxury hotel, aimed to attract 20 million visitors by 2020, according to Reuters.

The project known as Marsa Al Arab will span 4 million square feet, with one island said to be dedicated to family entertainment with a water park, theater and a capacity for 1,700 people; and the other for luxury villas and a private marina, according to the article. The project will cost 6.3 billion Emirati dirhams ($1.7 billion).

STR global pipeline roundup: The U.S. reported 189,806 rooms in construction in 1,456 hotel projects during April, according to STR, HNN’s parent company. And that total represents a 17.9% year over year increase in rooms in construction.

Middle East and Africa reported 83,980 rooms in 272 hotels in construction during the same month, Africa saw 31,004 rooms in 172 hotels under construction.

Four key markets in the MEA region reported more than 5,000 rooms in construction. Makkah, Saudi Arabia, saw 22,455 rooms in 18 projects; Dubai, United Arab Emirates, reported 20,557 rooms in 72 projects; Doha, Qatar, with 7,343 rooms in 31 projects; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, totaled 5,972 rooms in 29 projects.

Europe totaled 77,280 rooms in 484 hotel projects in the in construction phase during April, a 22% year over year increase in rooms in construction.

Six key markets reported more than 2,000 rooms in construction. London, England, with 4,730 rooms in 27 projects; Istanbul, Turkey, reported 4,595 rooms in 25 projects; Moscow, Russia, saw 3,488 rooms in 16 projects; Berlin, Germany, totaled 2,691 rooms in nine projects; Munich, Germany, with 2,676 rooms in 12 projects; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, reported 2,595 rooms in 12 projects.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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