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Updated: 4 hours 35 min ago

Vidanta Los Cabos Gets All-New Experiences

Vidanta Los Cabos, one of Mexico’s foremost luxury vacation resorts, is receiving a few dazzling upgrades to its premises. Grupo Vidanta and the Hakkasan Group, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, plan to add new entertainment and lifestyle amenities to the mega-resort, offering upscale dining and daytime activities to the already-successful property.

Grupo Vidanta is planning to transform their resort into the lifestyle hub of Los Cabos. Boasting a beachfront location, the resort will also receive four new venues to excel the property’s dining and entertainment options. Among those new additions will be a new dayclub, two new upscale restaurants, and an open-air bar.

OMNIA Dayclub will be an unconventional take on the signature nightclubs that call Cabo San Lucas and Cancun home. OMNIA’s flagship nightclub opened in Las Vegas in 2015, earning a reputation as one of the best after-hours party locales in the city. Its new dayclub concept at the Vidanta Los Cabos will feature popular DJs in front of spectacular beachside pools with VIP areas, cabanas, and drink service for guests to enjoy during daylight hours.

Two new dining options will hit the Vidanta Los Cabos as well, the first of which being the highly-anticipated Herringbone. Currently headed by Chef Brian Malarkey in La Jolla, California, a new location in Los Cabos will offer guests the chance to dine on speciality seafood dishes and classic Mexican dishes. The second restaurant, Casa Calavera, is currently being developed by the Hakkasan Group. It will offer an open-air dining concept that features authentic Mexican-inspired decor and ambience.

SHOREbar is a new outdoor pavilion that will offer a tropical-themed cocktail bar underneath a picturesque thatched roof. With hand-crafted cocktails, beautiful views of the ocean and pool, and small dishes and snacks served all day, guests will have the perfect place to relax with a drink and take in the ambience.

For more information on Vidanta Los Cabos or Grupo Vidanta’s plans to transform the site, read the brand’s official statement.

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Windjammer Landing Completes Phase 2 of Expansion and Renovations

Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in Saint Lucia has recently completed its second phase of expansion and renovation project. They have invested over $7.1 million to update the resort, add more luxury villas, and renovate existing villas. The resort has invested close to $50 million over the past two years to become one of the top Saint Lucia resorts.

Windjammer Landing is composed of three-bedroom villas with four new high-end North Point villas. This expands the collection of accommodations at North Point. Plans to complete phase three of the expansion are currently underway.

The new North Point villas at Windjammer Landing has set significantly higher standards for luxury vacation accommodations and shared ownership in general. The villas are located up on the north end of the resort in Saint Lucia, offering incredible views and a fantastic vacationing experience.

There are now currently eight North Point villas in total, both upper level and ground level units. These villas offer a master en-suite bedroom with a king bed and two additional bedrooms, both with queen beds. The ground level villas feature outdoor showers, patios, private gardens, and infinity-edge pools. Upper level accommodations feature outdoor kitchens and dining areas under a terrace with a sun deck and rooftop plunge pools.

Each villa provides a contemporary and comfortable flair with Caribbean-style furnishings to complete the experience. Decor includes natural wood contrasts, limestone floors, tropical shades, and artwork by local artists.

“The North Point Villas bring luxury vacations to a whole other level—they are truly amazing in every way,” said Scott Seger, managing director at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort. “From the beachfront location to the state-of-the-art appliances–and everything in-between—these villas will exceed the expectations of those looking for a luxury vacation.”

Beyond the addition of the new villas, there have been many updates and renovations happening all over Windjammer Landing. These updates are working to uphold the resort’s high standards and showcase their commitment to offering a luxurious vacation experience for all guests. Renovations include:

  • Remodeled breakfast buffet area
  • New coffee bar at the Dragonfly restaurant
  • Swing seating and other updates at the 96 Degrees bar
  • Re-tiling and painting in the main pool area
  • New wedding pergola and ground layout for the Wedding Garden
  • Re-plumbing of the Dragonfly restaurants as a conservation and hot water efficiency effort
  • Fresh coats of paint throughout
  • Upgrades to infrastructure and roadways throughout Windjammer Landing

Windjammer Landing first opened in 1989. The resort boasts an all-inclusive vacation experience with amenities such as five al fresco restaurants, four bars, six swimming pools, a 24-hour fitness center, motorized and non-motorized water sports, free Wi-Fi, Jacquot Fun Club, mini-mart and boutique shops, and much more. Learn more about Windjammer Landing by visiting their website.

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3rd Annual Diamond Resorts Invitational Scheduled for January

The Diamond Resorts Invitational, a yearly event coordinated to benefit the Florida Hospital for Children, has been scheduled for January 12-14, 2018. The event will continue to raise funds for charitable causes, and will feature more PGA Tour champions, entertainers, athletes, and other notable attendees. The Invitational will be held at the Tranquilo Golf Club at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando.

Each year, the golf event put on by Diamond Resorts International raises millions for children and healthcare programs at the Florida Hospital for Children. The previous event garnered $1.2 million and generated strong interest from the golf and entertainment industries thanks to its star-studded attendees.

Next year, the Diamond Resorts Invitational will feature as many as 27 PGA Tour Champions golfers, five LPGA golfers, and 46 other athletes and celebrities that will compete in a golf tournament to raise money. Golfers will compete for $750,000, while celebrities will play for a $500,000 prize. The tournament will also be televised nationally on the Golf Channel. Country music stars Cole Swindell and Lee Brice will also be competing in the tournament and doubling as event performers. Other notable attendees include musician Colt Ford, Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, and baseball hall of famer Reggie Jackson, all of which are Diamond Resorts International ambassadors.

Michael Flaskey recalled the widespread success of last January’s event:

“We caught lightning in a bottle. The tournament has been an enormous hit, being nationally televised on Golf Channel, becoming part of the PGA TOUR Champions Challenge Season schedule and the best part of all is that we’ve raised some serious money for Florida Hospital for Children.”

For more information on the Diamond Resorts Invitational, visit the event’s official website.

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Anantara Hua Hin Opens as Anantara Vacation Club’s New Preview Centre

Asia’s frontrunner when it comes to luxury vacation ownership, Anantara Vacation Club, opened a new preview center in Hua Hin, Thailand at the Anantara Hua Hin Resort. The resort is popular among Bangkok travelers as a place to spend weekends, and it will be used to show the benefits of Anantara Vacation Club to both current and potential club members.

Anantara Vacation Club Group Director of Preview Operations Justin Kingsley stated:

“We are delighted to be able to connect with potential new Club Points Owners from Bangkok and beyond to preview our destinations and experiences. Anantara Hua Hin Resort was opened 15 years ago as the brand’s first resort, and is the ideal destination to showcase the Club to existing Club Points Owners and to present the Club to potential new owners from Thailand.”

Anantara Vacation Club operates on a points-based system. To give guests an idea of what they can do with their points, the new preview centre will consist of two preview rooms next to the lobby—a total of 50 square meters&mdash,and will simulate the Anantara Vacation Club Resorts experience, complete with advanced technology and a service-oriented atmosphere. The experience will educate guests about the benefits, products, privileges, and features available to club points owners. The preview centre will also eventually be used to help current club points owners understand club updates.

Over the past seven years, since its inception in 2010, Anantara Vacation Club has added new resort properties and developed new services. There are over 9,000 club points owners and they span the globe. In short, the past few years have been a period of massive growth for Anantara Vacation Club, and the brand plans on continued growth.

For more information about Anantara Vacation Club, visit their official website.

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Bluegreen Vacations Names David L. Pontius as Chief Operating Officer

Bluegreen Vacations has just announced that they have named David L. Pontius as Chief Operating Officer of Bluegreen. Pontius joined up with Bluegreen in 2007 and has proved himself to be a smart and well-respected leader.

Shawn B. Pearson, Chief Executive Officer of Bluegreen Vacations Corporation, commented on David Pontius’s value as a team member in the company:

“Dave is an engaged leader and highly regarded throughout the industry. He has been a valued Senior Executive and a key member of the Executive Management team with expanding roles over the years. Dave has also been a pioneer and an advocate for the industry through leadership roles at Hilton, Wyndham, and RCI, and has helped Bluegreen differentiate itself within vacation ownership through its flexible points program and local resort offerings.”

Pearson went to recognize David Pontius’s 30 years of experience and how he will be ideal to help Bluegreen Vacations further transform the timeshare industry through innovation in business practices and customer engagement.

When David Pontius first joined Bluegreen Corporation, he was the President of Bluegreen Resorts and shortly after promoted to President of Bluegreen Services in 2009. He has also served as Chief Strategy Officer and EVP Operations at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, President of RCI North America, EVP Operations at Hilton Grand Vacations, and Chief Operating Officer of Vacation Internationale.

Learn more about Bluegreen Vacations on their official website.

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Diamond Resorts Pledges to Match Donations Up to $1M for Victims of Las Vegas Massacre and Recent Hurricanes

Las Vegas-based company, Diamond Resorts International®, has announced that they will match all new donations made in 2017 to the Diamond Resorts International Foundations up to $1 million. These funds will go directly to victims of those in the recent Las Vegas massacre and those affected by hurricanes Ima and Maria.

Michael Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts International®, spoke on the company’s commitment to giving back and helping the community:

“Diamond Resorts International® is committed to serving and supporting the communities where we live and operate. The recent natural disasters and the senseless act of violence that occurred this past Sunday in Las Vegas have certainly affected us all. We hope the funds raised can provide necessary support and help to bring some normalcy back to the lives of those affected during these unimaginable times.”

Donations can be made with a check and sent to Keri Serrano at the Diamond Resorts International Foundation at 10600 West Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89135. Donors can choose to identify which relief effort they want their fund to be donated to in the memo area of the check.

Team members of Diamond Resorts in the United States are also able to donate through a one-time or recurring payroll deduction.

The Diamond Resorts International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) exempt public charity. It has raised over $2.3 million for the Florida Hospital for Children since 2013 with help from the Diamond Resorts signature golf tournament. The Foundations was also able to help employees affected by Hurricane Odile in Los Cabos, Mexico. More recently, it was able to help those on the east coast of Florida after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Learn more about Diamond Resorts on their official website.

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CEO of Vail Resorts Establishes New Charity

Rob Katz, the chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, Inc., has established a new charitable fund to give back to mountain resorts communities. Pledging $58 million, the new fund will benefit a variety of nonprofits, social service organizations, and more that work to improve the quality of life and environment around some of the nation’s most precious mountain towns and cities.

The funds for the new charity will come from Katz’s share appreciation rights in Vail Resorts, also known as SARs. As these rights are approaching their 10-year expiration date, the CEO will exercise them to allocate approximately $58 million to introduce back into local communities. The grants will be made over a long-term period and will benefit organizations recommended by Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam.

Katz spoke to the importance of preserving the communities Vail Resorts call home:

“Elana and I are honored to be able to create this new charitable fund to help those who need it most, including support for the mountain resort communities we care so much about. We hope the grants can help make a difference by bringing people and programs together around community problems that need solutions.”

Katz will receive 304,612 shares of Vail Resorts stock from exercising the expiring SARs. Of those, he will sell 114,000 shares and donate 100 percent of the proceeds from that sale to his new charitable fund. Katz will also donate 148,000 of his own shares to the fund to increase its overall assets. In addition to donating money to worthwhile causes, the CEO and Amsterdam will continue to work with local community leaders and Vail Resorts employees to identify critical challenges that communities face and address them appropriately.

For more information on Vail Resorts, Rob Katz, or the new charitable fund, read their full press release.

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Bluegreen Vacations Announces Expansion at the Fountains in Orlando

Bluegreen Vacation has just announced their plans to expand at the Fountains, their signature resort located in Orlando, Florida. These plans include adding 97 new vacation ownership resort units with two- and three-bedroom layouts.

Shawn Pearson, CEO of Bluegreen Corporation, commented on the positive impact of the expansion at the Fountains:

“Orlando is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and the Fountains is one of Bluegreen’s premier flagship resorts. The Fountains is in close proximity to Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios and many of Orlando’s other world-renowned local attractions, and we look forward to having the availability of new vacation ownership resort units at the Fountains.”

After adding the 97 new units to the Fountains, the resort campus will feature a total of 842 vacation ownership units. This expansion plans to be complete in winter of 2018.

The Fountains resort is centrally located near Orlando’s famed parks and attractions. The resort sits on 54 acres on International Drive. Amenities feature the Wakoola Springs 75,000 square-foot water park with waterslides, a zero-entry pool, hot tubs, and an on-site bar and grill. Lake Eve is also on the resort grounds, ideal for fishing and boating, and features a boardwalk and pier. Other amenities include a 6,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor pool area, clubhouse with a lounge and a children’s game room, pool bar, playground, and more.

Learn more about the Fountains and other Bluegreen Vacations properties on their website.

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Sundance Resort Club Japan Adds New Properties to RCI’s Exchange Network

Sundance Resort Club Japan chose RCI to give timeshare owners the company’s exchange services. Now, RCI has six new affiliated resorts in Japan, so RCI’s 3.8 million members from all over the world can now exchange for more Japanese vacations. The newly affiliated resorts can be found in such popular areas as Chiba Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture.

RCI Asia Pacific Managing Director Jonathan Mills stated the following:

“Japan’s tourism industry is set to attract 20 million tourists by the year 2020 when Japan will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games and further propel the country as a holiday destination, promoting their culture and landmarks to a large international audience. To date, Japan remains one of the top travel destinations among our RCI members and we are delighted to welcome Sundance Resort Club as an RCI affiliate, and thrilled to add six new resorts located at key destinations in Japan to our exchange network, growing RCI’s network in the country to a total of 15 affiliated resorts.”

Mills added:

“Japan is a unique blend of historical, traditional and modern, and with the next generation of travelers craving new adventure, authentic, and unexpected experiences that are one-of-a-kind discoveries. Adding to our 35,000 exchange options underscores our strategy to grow and value-add with innovative products so our members can meaningfully engage in destination discovery. This new affiliation agreement with Sundance Resort Club affirms how more Japanese developers are seeing the benefits of vacation ownership as a business model, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Sundance Resort Club.”

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) reports that approximately 2.3 million international travelers visited Japan in May 2017, at a growth rate of 21.2% compared to the previous year—the highest figure for May. The Japanese Government hopes to increase the number of annual tourists to the country from 19.7 million in 2015, to 40 million in 2020.

Sundance Resort Club Management Company Resort Frontier Co., Ltd., CEO Koki Kubota praised RCI:

“We are proud to announce our affiliation with RCI because RCI brings innovative solutions to the table during every step in our business cycle. We look forward to many more years working with RCI.”

The six newly RCI-affiliated Sundance Resort Club properties are:

  • Sundance Resort Hakone Gora
  • Sundance Resort Izukogen
  • Sundance Resort Karuizawa
  • Sundance Resort Kawaguchiko
  • Sundance Resort Onjuku
  • Sundance Resort Yamanakako

For more information on the Sundance Resort Club, visit their official website.

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St. James’s Club & Villas Unveils Exciting Offers for Fall and Winter Travel

All-inclusive Antigua timeshare resort, St. James’s Club & Villas, has just announced an exciting selection of enhancements to add to the guest experience. Some of the enhancements include access to nightlife at the Jacaranda Lounge, a new jewelry boutique, and additional offers.

The Jacaranda Lounge offers a contemporary feel and colorful light paired with modern artwork and nautical accents. St. James’s Club & Villas restaurants, Coco Beach Restaurant and Bar has also been updated with new dining furniture and a tapas-style menu.

The above mentioned jewelry store, Colombian Emeralds™ provides an upscale shopping experience with unique pieces and styles. The Rainbow Gardens poolside restaurant has also gotten a facelift with new artwork for a more stylish dining vibe.

St. James’s Club & Villas is a member of the Elite Island Resort collection and offers gorgeous beaches, tropical landscaping, a full-service spa, fitness center, water sports, Kids Club, and more.

“As one of the Caribbean’s most popular resorts, St. James’s Club is dedicated to continually offering and inspiring an authentic island getaway,” explained Steve Heydt, President of Elite Island Resorts. “The resort’s recent upgrades provide a wonderful ambience, and perfectly complement St. James’s Club’s exceptional guest services, amenities, and hospitality.”

St. James’s Club & Villas is also running a “Fifth Night Free” offer, where you can save an extra night from October 31, 2017 through April 6, 2018. You can also take advantage of savings up to 30% off on nightly room rates.

Learn more about these offers and upgrades on the resort’s official website.

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Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Earns Two More Awards

The ultra-luxurious Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto has added two more distinct honors to its name. The Baja California resort has garnered a reputation for its luxury amenities and services, and has been named Mexico & Central America’s Leading Resort for 2017 and was also recognized among a group of finalists for best in hospitality.

The World Travel Awards was the organization to grant the Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto the Leading Resort distinction. For the past 24 years, the awards have recognized the best and most acclaimed resorts across the tourism industry, with the Leading Resort award honoring excellence and outstanding performance. The Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa beat out other top-notch resorts in the region, including the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, NIZUC Resort & Spa in Cancun, and others. This is the third consecutive year the resort has earned the award.

The Villa del Palmar property is also nominated for World’s Leading Resort 2017. Travel professionals and consumers will be conducting a vote through October 30th, but the resort is a front-runner in the distinguished category.

The Travel Weekly Magellan Awards have also recognized the Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto in the area of “Hospitality—Overall Beach/Resort Hotel.” While the resort is still up against other finalists, it earned silver honors in the category for its commitment to excellence. Travel Weekly will feature all Magellan Awards winners in their October issue.

Owen Perry, co-owner of Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto, spoke to the importance of the awards:

“I accept these honors on behalf of the exceptional team we have assembled at our resort. Not only do our guests get to enjoy an unparalleled experience at our resort, but they also receive the best service possible. We are very proud of all we have created at our property, and the recognition we receive only encourages us to keep improving.”

For more on the Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto resort, visit their official website.

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RCI Adds Two New Affiliated Resort Properties in China

RCI added two new China resort properties—Blue Bay International Resort and Fujian Wuyi Spring Resort—to its exchange network recently. RCI now has over 60 Chinese properties, allowing 3.8 million RCI members to exchange for exciting vacations throughout China.

Mr. Luo, CEO of Hooray Island Resorts World, said the following:

“We believe that timeshare is currently the new preferred way of consumer leisure travel and are confident that our partnership with RCI will boost Hooray Island’s presence in the international market. We know that RCI is the right partner for our brand given its 40 years in the business.”

RCI Asia Pacific Managing Director Jonathan Mills added:

“Vacation ownership continues to lead in the hospitality and leisure industry with steady growth, and China continues to be one of our core markets. I am delighted to announce these new affiliations, underscoring RCI’s focus on developing this market.”

Blue Bay International Resort and Fujian Wuyi Hot Spring Resort both boast a connection to the natural world. Blue Bay, located in the Gulei Economic Development Zone in the south coast of Zhangzhou, Fujian, is surrounded by beaches, forests, and lakes, in addition to a golf course and many other facilities. Fujian Wuyi, in Wuyishan, is surrounded by 108 natural hot springs and equips each unit with a hot spring tub. The resort uses environmentally friendly materials in its decor, and lies within an hour’s drive from The Wuyi Mountains. Additionally, each Fujian Wuyi suite comes with its own spa facilities and sauna.

To learn more about RCI and its affiliates, go to the exchange company’s official website.

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Vacation Resorts International Adds Mountain Retreat Resort to Portfolio

Vacation Resorts International (VRI) has just added the Mountain Retreat Resort in Arnold, California to its property management portfolio. This family-friendly resort destination is located in the Sierras in the heart of the “Gold Country,” known for its incredible history and breathtaking landscapes.

VRI provides an extensive range of services such as property maintenance, financial expertise, resort management, and owner rental and exchange services.

Tom O’Brien, Vacation Resorts International senior vice president of resort operations, spoke on adding this property to their portfolio:

“We’re thrilled to add Mountain Retreat to our growing portfolio of managed properties and look forward to working in partnership with the resort’s board of directors to increase owner satisfaction and to help improve the homeowner association’s financial operations.”

Mountain Retreat Resort offer two-bedroom townhomes located alongside the Sequoia Woods Country Club. Each homey unit offers a full kitchen, fireplace, living and dining room, washer and dryer, flat-screen TVs, and wireless Internet access. On-site at the property, you’ll find an indoor pool, fitness center, game room, jacuzzi, barbecue grills, and a mini theater.

The resort is located in the town of Arnold, by the heart of the Sierras and not far outside Sacramento. This year-round destination offers everything from skiing, tubing, and sledding during the winter, to hiking, golfing, and boating in the spring and summer. Notable areas of attraction include Big Trees State Park, Columbia State Park, Mercer Caverns, and Yosemite National Park. Visitors are drawn to the area to view the giant sequoia trees, measuring 250 to 300 feet high and 25 to 30 feet across.

Find out more about Vacation Resorts International and their resort services and portfolio of properties on their website.

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Hacienda Tres Rios is Awarded Best Family Resort in Mexico and Central America

For the second year in a row, Hacienda Tres Rios was fortunate enough to receive the Best Family Resort in Mexico & Central America Award by the World Travel Awards (WTA) in Riviera Maya. The WTV has given Hacienda Tres Rios nine awards in the past eight years.

The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 and serves as an organization that recognizes, rewards and celebrates excellence in the travel and tourism industry. The awards are given based on voting from tourism professionals, focusing on the quality of the services, operations, and resort facilities.

Hacienda Tres Rios was congratulated by Sion Rapson, the Vice President of WTA. Rapson noted the resort’s commitment to quality vacation experience and how it has a positive effect in the success of the destination.

Annie Arroyo, Director of Branding & Communication for Sunset World (the hospitality company that Hacienda Tres Rios Resort is part of), commented:

“Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa & Nature Park takes care of all details so that families can simple relax and have a memorable vacation and the experience of a lifetime.”

This year’s WTA’s was dominated by destinations in the Caribbean with a selection of hotels, parks, attractions, and convention centers receiving awards. There were more than 40 nominations and 25 awards in the Mexico and Central America categories.

Hacienda Tres Rios is located in the 326-acre Tres Rios Nature Park in Riviera Maya, offering a sustainable, all-inclusive resort with 273 suites. The resort works to provide incredible vacation experiences without harming any of the natural and cultural treasures of the area.

Learn more about the award-winning Hacienda Tres Rios on their official website.

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ILG Growing Rapidly According to Fortune Magazine

Fortune Magazine listed Interval Leisure Group (ILG) as one of its “100 Fastest-Growing Public Companies”. ILG is a vacation ownership company which holds licenses to such recognized brands as Westin, Sheraton, and Hyatt, and this was the first time the company appeared on Fortune’s list.

ILG President and CEO Craig M. Nash commented on the acknowledgment,

“I want to thank our more than 10,000 Associates worldwide for their ongoing commitment and dedication to providing our owners, members, and guests with memorable vacations and delivering the world-class service for which we are known. We are pleased to be recognized by Fortune as one of the fastest-growing companies alongside some of the world’s most prominent businesses. This acknowledgment demonstrates ILG’s strong growth, resulting primarily from the successful execution of our multiyear diversification strategy.”

Fortune bases its recognition on each company’s progress in terms of revenue, profit, and stock return, within a three-year span. A total is calculated in each of these categories and the sum of those totals determines a company’s place on the list. ILG placed 87th out of 100, based on the company’s progress in the three-year period that ended on June 30, 2017.

To learn more about ILG, visit the company’s official website.

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Marriott Vacations Worldwide Announces Post-Irma Updates

Hurricane Irma tore its way through the Caribbean and Florida earlier this month, making it the second substantial hurricane to hit the U.S. this season following Hurricane Harvey. The storm wreaked havoc on popular travel destinations, resulting in massive evacuations and severe damages to infrastructure. While information about resort conditions has been hard to get, Marriott Vacations Worldwide has released an update.

Steve Weisz, president and CEO of Marriott Vacations Worldwide, released his statement on the storm and the company’s recovery efforts:

“Our deepest and heartfelt thoughts go out to those who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma, and our first priority has been the safety and security of our owners, guests and associates. As the storm has passed and their safety assured, we have turned our focus to the continued operations of our properties that were in Irma’s path. While our St. Thomas resorts are not expected to be at full operations for some time, we have made great progress getting our other impacted resorts and operations open. I am very proud of our team for how they have handled this difficult time, and we are continuing to move forward on our remediation efforts, including working with our insurers on property and business interruption claims.”

Like many resort companies and hoteliers around the affected areas, Marriott is still in the process of fully realizing and assessing the damages to their properties. Resorts and sales centers around Florida are expected to open again quickly if they haven’t already, with notable locations like Marco Island, Fort Lauderdale, and Singer Island returning to normal. However, several Marriott Vacation Club properties on St. Thomas, like Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

For more information on the recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, or which Marriott resorts are planning to reopen in the immediate future, read Marriott’s full press release.

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Disney After Hours Event Returning to the Magic Kingdom

A favorite event of the Disney theme parks, Disney After Hours, will be returning to the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida for a few select dates during the 2018 year. A limited number of tickets will be sold for this event.

Disney After Hours offers guests the chance to enjoy short-to-nonexistent wait times for popular rides and attractions at the park. Over 25 rides will be available during these hours as well as characters available to interact with. Notable rides include Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, ‘It’s a Small World,” and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Another event will include the “Happily Ever After” fireworks show at the end of the evening.

Dates for Disney After Hours for 2018 are: January 19th, 26th, and 30th; February 8th, and 15th; March 1st, and 8th. Tickets grant guests entry after 7 PM to 11 PM (with a midnight exception on certain evenings).

Tickets to Disney After Houses will cost $119 per person for an advanced sale, or $124 for the day of the event. WDW annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members can take advantage of additional discounts with $89 per person. Ticket includes bottled beverages and ice cream novelties.

Learn more about Disney After Hours by visiting their website or buy your ticket now by calling (407) 827-7185.

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Diamond Resorts International Assessing Damages After Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma recently had a significant impact on the Diamond Resorts properties in St. Maarten and in Florida. As the storm has now passed, Diamond Resorts International has begun to take a closer look at the damage that occurred. Luckily, all members, owners, and guests were accounted for right after the storm in both areas and Diamond Resorts continues to reach out to affected team members and their families.

On Wednesday, September 6th, Hurricane Irma landed as a Category 5 hurricane in St. Maarten. The result was catastrophic widespread damage to the island. Diamond Resorts International features two resorts on the island, Royal Palm Beach and Flamingo Beach Resort. Both suffered damage as a result of the storm. While the full damage has not been assessed, Diamond Resorts has canceled all reservations at these properties through the month of November.

Diamond Resorts team members have actively been working with military and government authorities to ensure their guests are evacuated safely off the island. Safety has been their top priority for all involved.

Additionally, Diamond Resorts had efficiently prepared for the storm very far in advance in both St. Maarten and Florida. Initial assessments show that the Florida are reasons only suffered minor damage in the Orlando and Naples Bay areas. There was some water intrusion and wind damage to Daytona Beach Regency and The Cove on Ormond Beach, but the full extent is not yet known. Professional assessments should be completed in the next couple of days.

For more information about Diamond Resorts and updates on the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, visit their official website.

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Visitors Must Wait as Florida Keys Hurricane Relief Efforts Continue

On Tuesday, Florida Keys officials reported that damage assessment and repair is underway in the wake of Hurricane Irma. However, while Keys residents and business owners may reenter the upper keys, vacationers and other visitors are not permitted.

It’s uncertain when the Keys will reopen to visitors. The process of reopening is likely to be staggered. Florida Keys vacation plans will have to wait. Key West vacations may be possible by Friday, October 20th, the start date of the festival Fantasy Fest.

Key West International Airport and Florida Keys Marathon International Airport have suspended commercial flights, charter flights, and general aviation, though they are available for aircraft. The airports are serving as Florida Keys hurricane relief areas, and will allow commercial flights again once water and electricity are restored.

While the Florida Keys hurricane damage is still being inspected, tourist facilities are expected to reopen after communications, water, and power are restored. Some areas will recover quicker than others, as some suffered almost no impact, while others were drastically affected by rising sea levels caused by wind and atmospheric pressure.

The Florida Keys Department of Transportation asserts that the Florida Keys Overseas Highway is safe, although is is undergoing a few repairs, which should be completed by Thursday.

Currently, those in the Keys are expected to abide by a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Those planning a Florida Keys vacation or Key West vacation can check the Florida Keys and Monroe County Websites for updates on Florida Keys hurricane relief efforts and reconstruction.

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Wyndham Denarau Island Named Resort of the Year

Last week’s Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council’s (ATHOC) annual award night saw the prestigious Resort of the Year award go to Wyndham Denarau Island. The Fiji-based resort was recognized for its exceptional quality standards and its contributions to the vacation ownership industry, cementing its reputation as one of the best properties in the Pacific.

The Wyndham Vacation Ownership resort spans more than 200 units on Fiji’s Denarau Island, providing a family-friendly escape in the center of the Pacific. The resort is part of the WorldMark South Pacific Club and the U.S.-based WorldMark, The Club. The Resort of the Year award from ATHOC is only the most recent accolade earned by the resort.

Matt Taplin, senior vice president of hotel operations and property development, offered his comments on the important award:

“Wyndham Denarau Island is an enduring favourite among both our vacation owners and resort guests, and I am proud to see it continuing to receive this type of recognition. We are delighted to have received the Resort of the Year award, which is testament to the personalised and memorable experiences the Wyndham Denarau Island team delivers to each and every guest.”

Wyndham Denarau Island also received the Certificate of Excellence recognition from TripAdvisor this year, furthering its position as a top destination in Fiji. It is ranked the seventh overall best resort in Fiji, and the third-best in the family-friendly category. It is also currently ranked as the best property on Denarau Island on TripAdvisor.

For more information on Wyndham Denarau Island, visit their official website.

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