Hornbuckle named acting CEO of MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International has named long-time executive Bill Hornbuckle acting CEO and president, replacing outgoing chairman and CEO Jim Murren.

A four-decade veteran of the gaming industry, Hornbuckle previously served as MGM’s president and COO. Prior to that he was chief marketing officer from 2009 to 2012. He also has served as president and COO of Mandalay Bay, MGM Resorts International-Europe, MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and Golden Nugget Laughlin and was vice president of hotel operations for the Mirage when it opened in 1989.

“We have an incredible challenge ahead,” Hornbuckle  said. “We have a talented leadership team, the best employees in the world and a loyal customer base. I have every confidence that MGM Resorts will remain the global entertainment leader once this crisis is contained and it is safe to operate.”

Murren, who told the company’s board of directors in early February of his plans to step down, vacated the position March 22 to provide continuity of leadership for the company. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak named Murren to head the Covid-19 Response Relief and Recovery task force, a public-private partnership to harness resources. Murren joined MGM as CFO and a member of its board of directors in 1998.

Replacing Murren as the chair of the board of directors will be Paul Salem, currently a member of the board and chair of the real estate committee of MGM Resorts.

“The nation is facing an unprecedented crisis, causing the travel and hospitality industry to grind to a near halt,” Salem said. “It is clear that once the threat to the public health has subsided and we are ready to reopen our resorts and casinos, it will take an incredible effort to ramp back up.”

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Escape to Jamaica Through Instagram Live

With travel so limited and social distancing almost mandatory amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) is using its Instagram account to lift the spirits of followers who are stuck at home.

On Friday, April 3 at 9:00 p.m. ET, the JTB will kick off its weekly “Escape to Jamaica” Instagram Live series featuring one of Jamaica’s leading disc jockeys, ZJ Sparks.

In addition to ZJ Sparks sharing Jamaica’s latest hits with JTB’s Instagram followers, the series will feature live cooking demos and pre-recorded wellness sessions. The first wellness session will air on Monday, April 6 at 9:00 a.m. ET, hosted by Empress Thandi Wise, Certified Yoga Instructor from Rasta Wellness Centre and Jakes Hotel.

The channel’s first cooking demo will air on Wednesday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m. ET and will be hosted by Andre Fowles, Food Network Chopped Champion and Culinary Ambassador for Miss Lily’s in New York, Negril and Dubai.

“We’re aware that people from all corners of the globe may be in need of an escape with what’s happening right now. With this live series, Jamaica offers a virtual getaway through our music, cuisine, culture, warm people and that unmistakable Jamaican spirit,” said Donovan White, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism.

Below is the current schedule of the “Escape to Jamaica” series, with additional dates to be announced:

—April 3: ZJ Sparks – Zip 103

—April 6: Empress Thandi Wise – Certified Yoga Instructor, Rasta Wellness Centre and Jakes Hotel

—April 8: Chef Andre Fowles – Food Network Chopped Champion and Culinary Ambassador for Miss Lily’s in New York, Negril and Dubai

—April 10: DJ Delano – Renaissance Disco

—April 15: Rousseau Sisters – Jamaican Sisters, owners of SummerHouse in Kingston and Authors of Provisions, The Roots of Caribbean Cooking

—April 17: ZJ Chrome – Zip 103

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Jeffco Sheriff enforcing "physical distancing" on crowded trails

Faced with continued crowding at Jefferson County Open Space parks — coupled with an expected surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the county this week — the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says it is stepping up enforcement of “physical distancing” in open spaces.

“You may be healthy,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a post on its Facebook page. “You may think you’ll be fine. But what about the people around you? An elderly loved one? A loved one with an underlying medical condition that makes them at risk? We are asking you to physically distance yourself from others right now FOR THEM.”

The post repeated instructions Coloradans have been hearing from public health officials for weeks, reminding trail users that they could be spreading the coronavirus without knowing it if they have the virus but are asymptomatic.

The post shared three photos taken at Jeffco Open Space Parks, including one showing a line of hikers on the dirt road that leads to the top of North Table Mountain.

“As you can see from these photos that Jeffco Open Space rangers took (Sunday), many of you are not following the state order and protecting those at risk around you,” the post said. “You will be seeing more deputies working with our (Jefferson County Open Space) rangers to educate and enforce the state order for physical distancing at our open spaces.”

The post also urged open space visitors not to use trails when sick and to keep to groups of four or less.

“If you are sick, do not visit parks; stay home except to get medical care,” the post reads. “Do not gather in groups larger than four. Separate yourself at least six feet from other people at the trailhead and on the trail. Bring your own hand sanitizer/washing supplies; many of our parks lack running water. Sanitizer is not provided. Use discretion for park visits and public restroom use. Surfaces, handles, and fixtures are cleaned frequently, but are open to general public use.”

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At Club Med Amazing activities on tap

During my recent trip to the Dominican Republic for the grand opening of the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, I also spent a night at the Club Med Punta Cana. And while the main mission of my visit was to experience the Miches resort and hear about the innovations therein — particularly its ecofriendly initiatives — I learned that the Punta Cana property, open since 1978, could make its own claims of innovation.

Last year, the Club Med Punta Cana became the first property in North America to roll out the company’s Amazing Family program, developed “to provide weekly activities designed to give multigenerational families the opportunity to bond, create shared memories … and bring home new passions,” as Club Med put it.

The Amazing Family program offers five themed activity times: Time to Splash, centering on aquatic activities such as water volleyball; Time to Play, for activities such as giant-size board games; Time to Quest, featuring treasure hunts and other “mysteries and challenges,” according to Club Med; Time to Recharge, offering family yoga classes, story time and other all-ages relaxation activities; and Happy Family Time for classic Club Med activities such as trapeze classes and archery.

According to Club Med, the Amazing Family program will be offered at over 30 of its resorts worldwide by next year.

That’s in addition to Club Med’s long-standing children’s programming, offering a variety of age-appropriate activities for young guests: Baby Club Med (from 4 months up to age 2), Petit Club Med (2 to 3), Mini Club Med (4 to 10) and Club Med Passworld (11 to 17).

In other family-friendly news, the Club Med Punta Cana’s Tiara section, which first opened in 2008, completed a renovation last fall.

The Tiara section, part of the brand’s Exclusive Collection of higher-end offerings, offers 32 family suites, each measuring 753 square feet and featuring a separate kids’ bedroom and bathroom.

Exclusive Collection guests also enjoy amenities including access to an oceanfront infinity pool, priority bookings for spa treatments, daily continental breakfast served in room and premium WiFi.

Other family-friendly accommodations are available throughout the 631-room resort, under the Superior and Deluxe categories.

From now through April 20, for stays through Oct. 31, Club Med’s Spring Into Summer sale offers up to $1,000 instant savings and up to $600 in air credit, and ages 4 to 11 stay for up to 50% off.

Rates at the Club Med Punta Cana begin at $115 per night, per adult, and children under age 4 stay for free. Visit www.clubmed.us.

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Real ID deadline moved back one year

The deadline for domestic airline passengers to secure a
Real ID driver’s license for use as identification at the airport has been
moved back one year. Enforcement is now due to begin on Oct. 1, 2021.

President Trump said Monday that the previous deadline of
Oct. 1, 2020, would be changed because the government doesn’t want people
waiting on line at the local DMV when they should be practicing social
distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Real ID driver’s licenses must meet security standards laid out
in the Real ID Act of 2005. More data is required for the issuance of Real IDs,
and compliant IDs are to have security features intended to prevent tampering
or counterfeiting.

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Etihad staff to take 25-50% temporary pay cut amid coronavirus crisis

Abu Dhabi-based carrier has suspended all flights to and from the UAE capital for 14 days

Staff at Etihad Airways have taken pay cuts of up to 50 percent as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc throughout the aviation industry.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier had originally announced plans to temporarily suspend all flights to and from the UAE capital for 14 days, starting at the end of Wednesday, although this was brought forward to begin on Tuesday following direction from the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

In a statement to Arabian Business as Etihad spokesperson said: “In order to protect our workforce as much as we can, we have taken the very difficult decision to temporarily reduce the basic salaries of all staff, including executives, between 25% and 50% for the month of April, after which it will be reviewed.”

Housing allowances and education assistance will continue to be paid over this period.

The spokesperson added that the “incredibly difficult decisions” were being taken “to safeguard the future of Etihad and that of the Etihad family”.

Airlines worldwide could lose $252 billion in revenue this year from the coronavirus pandemic, threatening the survival of the industry, according to the International Air Transport Association.

“This is the first time in Etihad’s history that we have had to suspend all our passenger operations, and the negative impact on our business will be significant,” the spokesperson added.

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Los Cabos Unveils Coronavirus Strategies

Los Cabos has taken a proactive stance on the coronavirus, implementing containment measures through all sectors of its tourism industry, said Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “Our No. 1 priority is to keep the community and visitors safe.”

Several weeks ago, screening procedures were implemented at the San José International Airport, including containment measures for travelers with high temperatures or other symptoms of the virus. Arriving passengers are required to fill out a questionnaire, which, among others things, asks them to divulge where they have traveled in the past 14 days.

Currently, there are 40 flights to Los Cabos from the U.S. and Canada, Esponda said.

The Ministry of Health of Baja California Sur has put into place a protocol with the hotel and timeshare association, business chamber of commerce and destination management companies to assess and report potential risks or cases.

“We’ve also implemented cleaning protocols [at restaurants and hotels],” Esponda said. “Restaurants are limiting the number of guests and are putting more distance between tables.”

Although visitors numbers have dropped dramatically in the aftermath of the U.S. government’s restrictions on non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexican border, “there has been a commitment from the private sector to keep hotels open,” Esponda said, adding that virtually the entire Los Cabos population is reliant on the tourism industry, and that the destination is committed to keeping people employed. “Our most important asset is our people.”

Meanwhile, travelers are, in fact, still traveling to Los Cabos, albeit in much smaller numbers. “We have a different dynamic than other destinations,” Esponda said. “There are many Americans who own homes in the destination [and] arrive by private plane” and also stay in hotels.

In other developments, the Los Cabos Tourism Board has created an information campaign for its tourism partners, including consortia, travel advisors and tour operators, to keep them abreast of the latest developments regarding the destination.

An online toolkit designed provides Los Cabos’ partners with information and advice at industry.visitloscabos.travel/coronavirus. It is updated daily, with real-time reports.

The tourism board has also assembled a team of experts who are able to communicate the latest information on the coronavirus and how it relates to Los Cabos. For more information, email [email protected]

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