• Resorts suffer

There has been a lot of pain in the hotel sector in the past couple of years but probably the hardest hit segment is the resort market.

While vanity upscale resort projects have largely seen their backers lose everything, even more mundane resorts have suffered. Worryingly, this looks set to continue even further.

Thomas Cook, the second largest tour operator in Europe, said in early December that it expects to be able to put the squeeze on accommodation providers during 2010. CEO Manny Fontenla-Novoa said that one of the company's main goals in 2010 was to cut hotel costs by 5% to 7%.

Heading up the push against hotels is Pete Constanti in the newly created role of chief executive for group destination management. A report in trade journal Travel Trade Gazette said that Thomas Cook spends more than £3bn on hotels each year.

Perhaps more amusing, but just as traumatic, was an article in the Wall Street Journal that identified the plight of wealthy investors into resorts.

Among the projects reportedly in trouble was a resort in Temenos in Anguilla. The main investor, Robert Sillerman, reckons he has lost all of his original $180m.

Also in trouble is the Four Seasons Hualalai which is backed by a consortium led by Michael Dell, the computer mogul. And the newspaper reported that Bill Gates was foreclosing on the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, California.

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