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According to the latest Skift Survey of American adult Internet users, the appeal for a U.S. tourist to spend a vacation in Cuba skyrocketed to 25 percent following the media coverage of the historic visit made by the sitting president and first family in almost 90 years. To read more, click here.

Today, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide agreed to Marriott International’s raised $13.6 billion merger offer, topping Chinese insurer Anbang’s $13.16 billion offer. This news comes just three days after Starwood said it would terminate Marriott’s buyout agreement in favor of choosing Anbang. Marriott had until March 28 to submit a counteroffer. Under the new agreement, the termination fee has been increased from $400 million to $450 million. Anbang has not yet responded to the latest development, but experts predict the company will come back with a higher offer once more. To read more, click here.

Over the past 12 months, more U.S. REITs and corporations have turned to joint ventures to raise capital. Ernst & Young, a multinational professional services firm, expects 2016 to be an active year for joint ventures, as companies will use them as critical tools when considering capital allocation decision-making. To read more, click here.

Federal Reserve officials’ unfavorable expectations of the economy have led to the announcement that they would most likely not be raising interest rates as rapidly as they had previously anticipated, reflecting on the risks posed by soft global growth and an unpredictable financial market. To read more, click here.

In light of Chinese insurer Anbang’s unsolicited $12.8 billion bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, some analysts are predicting that Marriott, who originally won the bid to merge with Starwood, will moderately increase its offer to ensure the deal is made. If the company ups the offer by $200 million, it would equal Anbang’s offer, says Travel Weekly. J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote to clients that he would not be surprised if Anbang ultimately wins Starwood’s owned assets, while Marriott gains Starwood’s management and franchise businesses. However, other analysts say there could be hurdles for Anbang to overcome before such a deal occurs. Anbang’s possible acquisition of Strategic Hotels & Resorts could complicate the Starwood deal, as the company would own several hotel brands under Starwood, and flags owned by companies like Marriott under Strategic. Anbang could also face regulatory obstacles, as it must get approval from the Chinese government to get its capital overseas. To read more, click here.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national association representing all segments of the nearly 2 million-employee lodging industry, today submitted a statement for the record to the U.S. House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations to express concerns on National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Browning-Ferris Industries decision that expands the definition of a “joint employer.”

To read AH&LA’s full testimony, click here.

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