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The IH&RA National Association Chief Executives Council Invites
Expedia to Annual Meeting;  Will Hear Expedia's Explanation
of its Own Hotel Classification System
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Paris, 26 May 2005… The International Hotel & Restaurant Association, "IH&RA", the only international trade association representing the hospitality industry worldwide, will convene its annual meeting of the Council of National Hotel & Restaurant Association Chief Executives - "NACE" - in Riga, Latvia on 3 June . This will be followed by a meeting of the IH&RA Board of Directors on 4 June. The NACE Council meets only 2 times per year, once in the spring and again in the fall alongside the IH&RA Annual Congress, which is scheduled this year for Beijing, China 28-30 October. These meetings are the only time that national lobbying organizations representing hotels and restaurants worldwide meet in a closed forum to discuss emerging opportunities and threats to the global hospitality industry. The Council then recommends to the IH&RA Board the message IH&RA should be taking to the international agencies, including the United Nations, on behalf of hotels and restaurants.

The NACE Council is led by newly elected Chairman, Florian Hew, Director, GastroSuisse, the national hotel and restaurant association of Switzerland. "I greatly look forward to seeing my colleagues from around the world in Riga, Latvia on 3 June," said Florian. "Globalization has meant many new opportunities for hotels and restaurants, but it also has brought many threats including the risk of increased legislation, regulation and standardization from international organizations that are constantly proposing new initiatives that we don't need and don't want…The internet, too, has meant incredible opportunity for distribution and marketing of hospitality products, but this has also brought new threats that hotels, in particular, are battling everyday. Our industry must have a united front - which is why we have a NACE Council and why we rely on IH&RA to defend us."

The Council will be looking at new and emerging threats including:

  • The push for new Standards for Tourism Services by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the UN agency for tourism
  • International scrutiny of Hotel Classification Schemes - WTO/Tourism
  • New and Increasing Fees on Copyright & Neighbouring Rights - WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
  • E-distribution dangers: Hotel Brand Abuse & Trademark Infringement on Search Engines
  • Opportunity or risk? .travel - the new top level domain name on the internet reserved for travel and tourism enterprises - what will this mean for hotels and restaurants worldwide?
The NACE Council will also hear from Bruce Redor, Director of Key Accounts, Expedia Inc., the world's leading online travel service and the fourth largest travel agency in the U.S. Expedia is certainly a controversial figure in the industry, on one side lauded for the huge on-line business they drive for the industry, particularly applauded by "independents" who praise them for helping to level the playing field with big chain operators. On the other side, the e-distribution battleground erupted last year when InterContinental Hotels Group suspended all ties with Expedia by launching its own standards for working with intermediaries. Expedia is also in the process of launching its own hotel classification system, and the NACE Council will hear first hand the defining criteria for this system.

The IH&RA NACE Council and Board of Directors will then have an opportunity to meet and network at a joint dinner being hosted by the Latvian Hotel & Restaurant Association on the evening of 3 June. The next day, the IH&RA Board of Directors will convene for a meeting where NACE Chairman, Florian Hew, will report on the outcomes and recommendations made by the NACE Council the previous day.

This will be the first NACE Council meeting for newly appointed CEO David McMillan who joined the Association in January 2005. David will be presenting the Council the A ssociation ' s business plan and strategic objectives for the future.

The next NACE Council meeting will then be held 28 October in Beijing, China just prior to the opening of the IH&RA Annual Congress, "Orient Express: Destination China! New Markets, New Competition," 28-30 October 2005 at the Kempinski Beijing Lufthansa Center. The "Chains Council" of leading hotel and restaurant chains also meets alongside this Congress, as well as the gathering of all IH&RA members worldwide at the Annual General Assembly (click here for more information).

The International Hotel & Restaurant Association is the only global business organisation representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Its members are national hotel and restaurant associations throughout the world, and international and national hotel and restaurant chains representing some 50 brands. Officially recognised by the United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry, estimated to comprise 300,000 hotels and 8 million restaurants, employ 60 million people and contribute 950 billion USD annually to the global economy.

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Contact:

Summer Jauneaud
Director of Communications
IH&RA

International Hotel & Restaurant Association
48 Boulevard de Sébastopol
75003 Paris - France
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 44 88 92 24
Fax: + 33 (0) 1 44 88 92 30
E-mail: jauneaud@ih-ra.com
Website: www.ih-ra.com

Also See: HSMAI Hotel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference Report; Keyword Bidding, Pop Ups, Pop Unders, Domain Name Piracy / January 2004
IH&RA 39th Annual Congress Marks New Era for the Global Hospitality Association; New Membership Structure, Business Plan and Board of Directors to Lead IH&RA in 2003 / Nov 2002

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