5 things to know: 15 July 2019
5 things to know: 15 July 2019
15 JULY 2019 9:24 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hotels prohibit ICE agents from using rooms to hold immigrants
  • Terror attack leaves 26 dead at Somali hotel
  • Manchester hotels see bump from India-Pakistan cricket
  • Hurricane Barry weakens to tropical storm
  • Cancun beaches invaded by algae

Hotels prohibit ICE agents from using rooms to hold immigrants: Major hotel chains based in the Washington-D.C. area, such as Marriott International and Choice Hotels International, are pledging to not allow agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use its guestrooms for detention facilities during ongoing raids ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to The Hill. Several local activist groups had delivered petitions to the companies’ headquarters asking they publicly state they would not allow their hotels to be used to hold immigrants.

A statement from Marriott states “Our hotels are not configured to be detention facilities, but to be open to guests and community members as well. While we have no particular insights into whether the U.S. government is considering the use of hotels to aid in the situation at the border, Marriott has made the decision to decline any requests to use our hotels as detention facilities.”

Choice also released a statement stating it has asked its franchised hotels to “only be used for their intended purpose.”

The raids are expected to take place in 10 major cities, targeting 2,000 immigrants, the newspaper writes.

Terror attack leaves 26 dead at Somali hotel: Over the weekend, a group of Islamic extremists targeted the Asasey Hotel in Somalia, leaving 26 people dead, according to the Associated Press. The assailants “blew up the hotel’s gate with a car bomb and took over the building for more than 14 hours.”

Four assailants from al-Shabab, a rebel group connected to al-Qaida and often uses car bombs against its targets, has claimed responsibility for the attack, the AP reports. Troops shot and killed all of the attackers inside the hotel.

“The attack is a blow to the Somalia government’s efforts to hold nation-wide, one-person one-vote elections” in 2020, AP writes.

Manchester hotels see bump from India-Pakistan cricket: The 16 June International Cricket Council World Cup match gave hotels in Manchester, England, a healthy bump in business, writes Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker, due to the massive base of support from India’s population.

According to data from STR, the parent company of HNN, the Manchester market—which comprises the city center and its surroundings, including the Old Trafford area—saw a year-over-year increase of 9.2% in occupancy across the weekend of the match to 83%.

“The Indian market was the main driver for the hotel and the stadium as a whole, and a large amount of tickets were from the domestic market. However, the high-end hospitality and hotel accommodations were overseas guests,” said Michael Hewson, GM at the 150-room Hilton Garden Inn Emirates Old Trafford.

Hurricane Barry weakens to tropical storm: On Saturday afternoon, Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane near Intracoastal City but weakened to a tropical storm shortly after, according to CBS News. It’s expected Barry could bring “dangerous, life-threatening flooding with more than 20 inches of rainfall in Louisiana and Mississippi.”

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the mouth of the Mississippi River to Sabine Pass, as well as for Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan New Orleans, the news outlet reports. No mandatory evacuations were issued in New Orleans, and officials have recommended residents take shelter in place, while tourists have been told to take shelter in hotels.

The storm has left 70,000 people without power between Louisiana and Mississippi.

Cancun beaches invaded by algae: For the past several months, “thousands and thousands of tons” of an algae named sargassum has been piling up in Cancun and dozens of nearby beaches, putting a dent in tourism, according to Bloomberg. The algae is said to be slimy, brown and smell like rotten eggs.

Occupancy in Cancun hotels fell 3.4% in the first three weeks of June, the news outlet reports, and some hotels are offering discounts as much as 20% on rooms, as well as transferring guests to beaches untouched by the sargassum.

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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