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The Starwood sale saga appears to be coming to a close now that Anbang Insurance Group has withdrawn its $14 billion bid to acquire the company. Anbang and its partners decided not to follow through on its raised offer due to “market considerations.” Their surprise withdrawal clears the way for Marriott to seal the deal. Read more here.

Despite growing interest in Cuba as a destination, with 42 percent of Americans indicating a desire to visit the island, 70 percent of travelers are currently unlikely to make the trip, according to a survey by travel insurer Allianz Global Assistance. Respondents to the survey, which was conducted during President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, cited safety concerns, lack of traveler information and unease over visiting the communist-governed country. To read more, click here.

This morning, the Human Rights Campaign announced Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels, and Choice Hotels are among the companies that signed onto an open letter that now includes more than 100 leading CEOs and businesses calling for the repeal of North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2. To read more, click here.

If Airbnb operators in Los Angeles were to remit the same room taxes and fees paid by hotels, the popular home-sharing site would owe the city $41 million a year, according to the second phase of a study conducted by the Pennsylvania State University School of Hospitality Management. The study, commissioned by AH&LA, also found that about 22 percent of Airbnb operators in Los Angeles rent their properties for at least 180 days a year, essentially operating illegal hotels. To read more, click here.

After Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen justified a slow rate raise due to global and financial uncertainties, global stocks and commodities like crude oil experienced a boost. For stocks to climb higher still, investors will be looking for improvement on the industrial side of the economy. To read more, click here.

According to FutureCast, nearly one quarter of U.S. adults making more than $500,000 per year are millennials. That’s good news for hotel brands, who have been targeting the demographic due to its collective love of travel, with nearly 80 percent of millennials saying they would choose to splurge on experiences over material items. As the young generation enters a higher earning period, it is likely hotels will reap the rewards. Read more here.

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