Tourism minister storms off after slanging match with industry boss – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

09 June 2008 by
Tourism minister storms off after slanging match with industry boss – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Tourism minister storms off after slanging match with industry boss
Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Hilton unveils $1b expansion in the UK and Turkey
Hilton Hotels Corporation will this week unveil two of its biggest development deals since its acquisition last year by Blackstone, which plans to open 1,000 new hotels. The international hotel group will spend $1b (£408m) opening 30 budget Hampton Inn hotels across Britain and 25 mid-market Hilton Garden Inns in Turkey. Property company HLH will build and own the sites in the UK, which Hilton will run under contract. The 4,000 bedrooms are expected to open within five years. Hilton will operate a similar management deal with developer Kosifler Group in Turkey. Meanwhile, executives at Ascot are considering reviving plans to build a hotel at the Berkshire racecourse which had previously been shelved for cost reasons. - 8 June, Read the full article in The Sunday Times >>

Trump faces three-week public grilling over controversial golf resort plans
Billionaire Donald Trump will face a three-week public grilling starting this Tuesday over his controversial plans to build a £1b golf resort on a Site of Special Scientific Interest near Aberdeen in Scotland. His application to build on an environmentally-sensitive area has split the country and fuelled allegations of sleaze against Aberdeenshire council, the Scottish government and First Minister Alex Salmond. The scheme includes plans for two 18-hole courses, a 450-room, five-star hotel, a golf clubhouse, a conference centre and spa, a golf academy, 950 holiday homes, 36 golf villas and accommodation for 400 staff. The inquiry, which will be chaired by James McCulloch, will hear from more than 30 witnesses before a recommendation is made to Scottish ministers, who will then decide whether or not to grant outline planning permission. - 8 June, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Marlon Abela focuses on expansion, not disposals
Marlon Abela, founder of the Marc chain of restaurants that include three Michelin-starred restaurants (Greenhouse and Umu in London and A Voce in New York), is planning to expand worldwide. The restaurateur, who is worth an estimated £400, says he can fund this growth without floating or selling stakes to outsiders like other upmarket restaurants such as Hakkasan and Nobu. Along with a second branch of A Voce at the Time Warner complex in Manhattan, Abela is also looking for sites in Las Vegas, Miami and Dubai. Abela, whose operation also includes the exclusive private members' club Morton's in London and an organic eaterie in Connecticut, is also considering opening smaller-scale branches of Umu in smart hotels after being approached by a hotel group. Abela claims each restaurant runs at a profit although the group - which turns over some £40m - has yet to move into the black. - 8 June, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Fullers' boss slams pub asset strippers
Michael Turner, the chairman of London-based brewer Fuller Smith & Turner, has slammed "short-term investors" who pressure pub groups into selling off or spinning out their freehold properties, claiming it was bad for the industry and customers alike. He was especially critical of property investor Robert Tchenguiz, who has finally persuaded Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) to separate its properties into a tax-efficient real estate investment trust. Turner said that, stripped of its property, M&B would become an operating company tied into high street leases - much like Tchenguiz's 330-strong Laurel Pub Company, which collapsed in March after failing to find a buyer for 90 loss-making bars. Fullers, which reported a 4% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £23m, owns the freehold on 90% of its 363 pubs. - 7 June, Read the full article in the Guardian >>

By Angela Frewin

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