Hotel Online  Special Report

 Empresas Bern, a Panamanian Hotel Developer, Signs InterContinental to Operate
The Holiday Inn Hotel and School at the City of Knowledge in Panama; 
Hotel Will Feature State-of-the-Art Learning Spaces for the Hospitality Program
InterContinental Hotels Group Signs Agreement with Empresas Bern to Open the First Holiday Inn Hotel and School in the Republic Of Panama 
MIAMI - Aug. 4, 2006 -- InterContinental Hotels Group signed a letter of understanding with Empresas Bern to open the Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at the City of Knowledge in Panama. The hotel and school, which in its initial phase will have 110 rooms, will be the first educational institution for InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. 

The City of Knowledge, where the hotel and school will be located, is an international complex for education, research, and innovation. There, students can find opportunities to help transform innovative ideas into tangible realities. The city's mission is to harmonize education, human spirit and promote personal growth and business opportunities. The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal will help the city with its mission by becoming a major educational innovation for the hotel industry in Latin America. The idea originated earlier this year by Empresas Bern and with Jorge Arosemena, Director of the City of Knowledge, in conjunction with InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. 

"I am thrilled that so many years of working together with Empresas Bern have brought us to where we are today," says Alvaro Diago, Area President of InterContinental Hotels Group Latin America. "This is a truly novel idea for us and I'm confident that it will make a major contribution to the hotel industry in Panama and throughout Latin America." 

With a view of the Panama Canal, the City of Knowledge is located on the former Fort Clayton military base and its main campus covers an area of approximately 300 acres. The City of Knowledge offers its associates the facilities and support necessary to establish programs of excellence in education, research, technological development and innovation. It encourages and promotes the integration of institutions, businesses, and programs; it helps to develop and strengthen the relationship between the academic-scientific and the business worlds with an orientation that is international in scope. In its efforts to foster the development and integration of academic programs, scientific research, and technological development, it becomes a place where students and professors, intellectuals and scientists, business innovators and international functionaries exchange ideas, knowledge, and experience.

The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at City of Knowledge will completely transform hotel education and the landscape within the hospitality industry, so that it reflects the needs of future travelers as well as the evolving Holiday Inn brand's main practice and stringent standards. 

IHG has also been a major supporter of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis, and has created a scholarship fund for women and minority students, as well as established an InterContinental Hotels Group Chair of Excellence for the Wilson School. The gift also allows the group to honor the memory of Holiday Inn founder and industry pioneer Kemmons Wilson, who opened the first Holiday Inn hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1952. 

The Holiday Inn Hotel and School Panama Canal at the City of Knowledge will feature state-of-the-art learning spaces for the school's hospitality program, such as a lecture hall, several classrooms, group study/meeting rooms, a computer center and an auditorium for large classroom lectures. The school will be set near the Panama Canal where students can enjoy the dramatic views of the Canal, the beautiful countryside and rainforest. Additionally, the existing homes located on the premises will be renovated and some will be used for extended stay purposes and others for student housing. 

The hotel and school is slated for completion around mid 2008. The school will provide management-level instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines for the next generation of leaders of the hospitality industry. 

This alliance will be the fourth for IHG and Empresas Bern, which developed, and also owns, the most recently opened InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa, and two mixed-use complexes that include the Miramar InterContinental Panama and the Crowne Plaza Panama, in Panama City. 

"IHG is a prestigious global company -- its standards and all of its brands lend unparalleled global recognition," says Herman Bern, Owner of Empresas Bern. "Also, my company, Empresas Bern, has extensive experience in the hospitality industry and has been involved in a variety of developments in Panama, and when two companies like that are working together on a project, the sky is the limit." 

"Herman (Bern) has always been a man of great visions," adds Diago. "And I feel that this is the most pioneering venture that Empresas Bern has been involved in to date." 

"We are confident that the hotel and school will earn international acclaim," concludes Jorge Arosemena, Director of the City of Knowledge. 
IHG has been serving Latin America for 60 years -- with hotels situated in nearly every key market in Central and South America.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom (LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)) is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 3,600 hotels and 537,500 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. 




 InterContinental Hotels Group, Miami

Also See: Panama Hotel Developer Herman Bern Building 300 room InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort on Panama's Pacific Coast / October 2004
InterContinental Hotels Group Signs Crowne Plaza Management Agreement with the 380 room Hotel Maruma Internacional in Maracaibo; The Crowne Plaza Maruma Maracaibo Casino & Convention Center Will Be the First Crowne Plaza in Venezuela / July 2006

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