News

Festiva’s Golf Tournament Scores a Hole-In-One for Charitable Donations

January 5, 2017

Orlando, Florida, January 5, 2017 – (INTUITION) – Festiva Development Group, a leader in the privately held vacation ownership industry, hosted its 5th Festiva Charitable Fund Golf Tournament which raised over $80,000 in donations. The tournament teed off at the Wachesaw Plantation East golf course in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina on October 4th, 2016.

Founded in 2006, the Festiva Charitable Fund’s primary focus is to provide a flexible endowment fund to promote youth education, eliminate poverty in the community, and respond to extraordinary global events. This year’s proceeds reached an astounding grand total of $84,772.26.

The charity’s enormous achievement would not have been possible without help from the generous sponsors, forming 26 teams and 104 players. The first place winning team, Patrick Capital Partners Team, was followed by Festiva’s Sales Team Hightower in second place, and Festiva Sales Team Fender in third.

"We were thrilled to have another successful golf tournament to benefit the Festiva Charitable Fund this year. We are so grateful for our sponsors, players and volunteers who work hard to make this event a success, and we're always so honored to be able to help so many communities where our resorts are located through donations from the fund," said Herbert "Butch" Patrick, Jr., co-founder and president of Festiva Development Group.

The successful event is a testament to the company’s mission of giving back and creating a lasting change in communities where its employees live and work. Over the years, the Festiva Charitable Fund has raised approximately $305,500 through the golf tournaments alone.

Festiva’s commitment to giving back began with the development of its first resort in 2000 which is located in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The extensive number of desirable vacation destinations led the company to become one of the most favorable privately held vacation ownership companies in the United States. Driven by its commitment to improving people’s lives by providing a lifetime of travel, Festiva markets and sells vacation ownership through its innovating points-based membership program.

The Festiva Charitable Fund is managed by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and expanding philanthropy. For more information on the Charitable Fund or The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, visit Festiva’s homepage or the CFWNC site.

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Zealandia Holding Company Named to 2016 Grant Thornton North Carolina 100®

January 4, 2017

Orlando, Florida, January 4, 2017 – (INTUITION) – Zealandia Holding Company, a leading operator or resort and timeshare destinations, has been named one of the 2016 Grant Thornton North Carolina 100® (NC100). The distinguished list identifies and honors the highest-ranking private companies in state by revenue.

Zealandia Holding Company’s strong leadership and strategic decisions and 850 employees joined the prestigious Top 100 companies ranked as the state’s largest private companies by revenue. Founded in 2000, Zealandia Holding Co. rapidly grew through impressive acquisitions to one of the most successful private timeshare and vacation management companies in the country.

"We are honored to be included on this year’s Grant Thornton North Carolina 100® list,” said Herbert "Butch" Patrick, Jr., CEO at Zealandia Holding Co. “This award reaffirms our prominence in the marketplace and our commitment to the community. We are proud to be recognized as one of the largest privately-held businesses in North Carolina."

Since 1984, the NC100 has ranked the state’s largest private companies by revenue in the most recent fiscal year, based on data provided by the participants. Zealandia Holding Co. is the parent company to Festiva Development Group, ETourandTravel, Patton Hospitality Management, Festiva Sailing Vacations, Resort Travel Xchange and Zealandia Capital.

The complete list was released in the October issue of Business North Carolina and can be viewed at GrantThornton.com/NC100.

About Zealandia Holding Company

Zealandia Holding Company is an organization that originated in 2000 as Festiva Resorts. In the fifteen years since inception, the company has divided Festiva Resorts into separate companies, according to function. These companies include: Festiva Development Group, developer of the Festiva Adventure Club, business development subsidiary ETourandTravel and a family of boutique vacation ownership resorts located in some of the most popular destinations in the United States and Caribbean; Zealandia Capital, a financial lending and loan servicing organization; and Patton Hospitality Management, a property management organization that manages Festiva’s resorts, Festiva Sailing Vacations and Resort Travel Xchange. ZHC constantly looks for ways to ensure new and exciting vacation opportunities for its members through every phase of purchasing, owning and using a Festiva timeshare.

About Grant Thornton North Carolina 100®

Since 1984, the Grant Thornton North Carolina 100® has ranked the state’s largest private companies by revenue in the most recent fiscal year, based on data provided by the participants. The NC100 is a voluntary list restricted to companies based in North Carolina that do not have publicly traded stock. Companies owned by private equity are permitted. Nonprofits, financial-services companies, health care providers such as hospitals and subsidiaries of corporations are excluded. For more details, visit GrantThornton.com/NC100.

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Festiva Renews Innovative Commitment to Creating the Best Vacations

October 28, 2016

The Vacation Entrepreneurs Expand Services to Include Online Resources that Better Serve Needs of 21st Century Travelers

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, today discussed changes in how they provide information to better serve the needs of 21st century vacationers.

"Since Festiva was founded, we have constantly been innovating to provide our members with the best possible vacations," said Mr. Herbert H. "Butch" Patrick, Jr., President and CEO of Festiva. "This commitment to customer care is the reason for our success."

Founded in 2000, Festiva and affiliated partners have used inventive programming to provide the most enjoyable vacation experience via more flexible opportunities. They have grown to become one of the most successful, privately held vacation ownership companies in the United States. Through this growth, Festiva has created hundreds of good jobs in North Carolina and throughout the Southeast and Midwest while also supporting the thousands of tourism jobs that help drive the North Carolina economy.

"While our commitment to customers helped build a membership base of almost 100,000 Festiva families, Festiva employees are the ones who made it happen,” Patrick continued. "We seek the best employees who share a vision for helping create the best vacations for our members. To ensure we have, and we keep, the best employees, Festiva evolved into an Employee Stock Ownership Plan company."

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company transfers company ownership to employees over time, encouraging retention of long-term employees who can better serve customer needs.

"This evolution helps Festiva provide long-term stability for the families who have entrusted their future vacations with us," said Patrick.

As part of this company-wide effort to better meet the needs of consumers, Festiva is also changing some marketing practices. Festiva is reducing face-to-face interactions to focus on online education efforts and allowing members to make their vacation decisions in a setting that maximizes consumer choice, convenience, and flexibility.

"We also realize and appreciate that our members and potential members could be better served via a greater online presence rather than a more traditional face-to-face interaction," said Patrick. "Similar to brick-and-mortar retailers or banks, we have to do a better job balancing a consumer’s desire for flexibility through technology with the customer service that can only be provided through a personal touch. To achieve this, we are reducing in-person marketing efforts and investing in a more robust digital experience. We know everyone has a busy schedule and this allows the consumer to make more informed decisions after the kids have gone to bed or during a lunch hour break during the workday."

Festiva also announced that lawsuits triggered by consumer misunderstandings have been resolved. Rather than pursue costly, long-term litigation, Festiva chose to address and resolve outstanding consumer issues through a variety of means such as enhanced benefits, additional vacation opportunities and reacquiring memberships where appropriate. However, the agreements clearly delineate that Festiva admits no wrong-doing.

"As part of our commitment to our customers, we are pleased to say that any lawsuits triggered by misunderstandings have been resolved and will allow us return our focus to best serving the consumers," Patrick concluded. "While we believe we could have won, we would rather invest our time, effort, and resources into customer service rather than litigation. By reinvesting in the company, we will reenergize Festiva for a better customer experience and the best vacation possible."

Festiva is proud of the positive changes to the membership experience that have resulted from consumer and regulatory feedback. This experience has left the company in a stronger position to better serve members, Festiva’s most valuable resource. Festiva has improved member communications, enhanced vacation opportunities and invested in significant employee training with a 100% focus on creating great vacation memories for members that will last a lifetime. Festiva will continue to create jobs in numerous states in addition to North Carolina and looks forward to continued support of our state’s great tourism industry.

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Festiva Selects Seven Organizations as Annual Charitable Fund Recipients

August 3, 2016

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, is pleased to announce organizations that benefitted from its Charitable Fund in 2016. The Festiva Charitable Fund committee chose organizations based in Asheville, N.C., Branson, Mo., Gulf Shores, Ala., Orlando, Fla., and the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas of South Carolina. A total of $14,000 in funds has been distributed to seven organizations that were researched by the committee and recommended by employees who live and work in the areas.

With an operational office and its parent company’s corporate office in Asheville, Festiva is a regular supporter of numerous non-profit and charitable organizations in the area. This year, the fund chose the WNC Nature Center to receive $2,500. The Center serves all 27 counties of western North Carolina and welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually, including more than 30,000 school children attending the Nature Center in conjunction with their classroom curriculum. Festiva also chose Caring for Children, an organization that has helped thousands of children and families in crisis rebuild their lives through various programs at group homes, foster care services, mental health services and family support and respite.

In Orlando, where Festiva is headquartered, the company chose two organizations for this year’s contribution. In response to the tragedy in June at the Pulse night club, Festiva donated $2,000 to the OneOrlando Fund to benefit victims of the shooting and their families. The company also donated $1,500 to the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, a nonprofit that provides food, books and life experiences to low-income children throughout Orlando.

In the low country area of South Carolina, where Festiva has several affiliated resort in Charleston and throughout the Grand Strand, the company donated $2,000 to the Lowcountry Food Bank, an organization that serves the 10 coastal counties of the state and aims to distribute more than 24 million pounds of food each year. The organization has programs geared toward school children, the elderly, and those who live in rural areas. There are also nutrition and educational programs as well as partnerships with local food growers.

In Branson, Festiva contributed $2,000 to Jesus Was Homeless, a nonprofit organization designed to provide meal, employment training and access to health care for those who live in weekly and extended stay hotels. In addition to preparing and delivering meals, the organization provides bicycles for people who have no other transportation option and partners with local businesses to provide job training.

In Gulf Shores, Festiva contributed $2,000 to the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef & Restoration Foundation, an organization formed to support artificial reef development in the coastal waters of Alabama. This endeavor combines the interests of conservationists as well as divers and fishers. The goal is to preserve, sustain and enhance the habitat and water quality of the inland waters and coast.

About the Festiva Charitable Fund

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for our youth, eliminate poverty in our communities and support health and human services organizations. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events. The Festiva Charitable Fund is managed by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and expanding philanthropy.

Each year, a committee selects nonprofit organizations from several Festiva destinations that will benefit from the fund. A large portion of the fund’s contributions are raised at the biennial Festiva Charitable Fund Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament will take place on October 04 at Festiva’s flagship resort, Ellington at Wachesaw Plantation East in Murrells Inlet, S.C. The 2014 tournament raised $80,000 and this year’s goal is to beat that and reach the $100,000 mark.

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Festiva Congratulates Charleston for Being Named the Best City in the World

July 7, 2016

The vacation ownership company is proud of its employees at the Church Street Inn for contributing to the success of Charleston as a world-class destination.

Vacation ownership company Festiva congratulates its staff at the Church Street Inn for contributing to the success of their hometown, Charleston, being named as the top destination for travelers on the planet. Travel + Leisure magazine conducted a survey to determine which cities are the best in the world, and have placed Charleston, South Carolina at the top of that list.

"We ask that our employees at the Church Street Inn in Charleston exceed our guests' expectations every day, and they do that and more, in turn exceeding my own expectations of how employees should perform," said Festiva Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Scott Sonnone. "And I think that performance is reflected in the fact that Charleston has been named the best city in the world for travelers."

Festiva’s Church Street Inn resort resides in the heart of downtown Charleston, near the city’s famed market area which draws crowds and visitors. This makes the property and its employees stewards of the city’s reputation, a responsibility they take very seriously.

"We are beyond proud of our employees for doing their part to earn Charleston this honor," Sonnone said. "They should be very proud of their accomplishments and their city."

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Orlando Pulse

June 13, 2016

Those of us from Festiva would like to send our heartfelt condolences to all of those affected by the shootings in Orlando. This touched us on a very personal level as we have over 300 employees at our Orlando offices. We also have three affiliated resorts in Orlando and numerous partner companies and industry peers with employees in the area. Indeed, this tragedy has struck very close to home for us. Orlando is a crown jewel of the vacation industry, and the diverse and hospitable people who call the city home are a huge part of what make it a destination worth visiting time and time again. We are saddened to see such a senseless act happen anywhere, but especially in such an incredibly loving city. We are working with our Orlando based staff to determine the best way we can help.

If you are looking for a way to help the victims of the shooting and their families, please visit the GoFundMecampaign set up by the organization Equality Florida. Equality Florida also offers information about counseling available, blood drives and vigils for the victims.

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Festiva Awards $25,000 to Sweepstakes Winner

June 8, 2016

Festiva, the developer for Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, recently presented a check to Ms. Wanda Cherry, the winner of a sweepstakes contest run by the company’s marketing department. Ms. Cherry was one of hundreds of people who entered the sweepstakes between November 2011 and October 2015.

Scott Sonnone, Festiva’s chief operating officer, presented the check in person to Ms. Cherry. She remembers entering the contest at an event at the Charlotte Convention Center several years ago.

"It was an honor to be able to present the prize to Ms. Cherry in person. This was a long-running sweepstakes held in several locations, and we were happy to find out that we could personally deliver the prize to the winner," said Sonnone.

Ms. Cherry said that she plans to use part of her winnings for a vacation with her entire family to Charleston, S.C.

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Festiva Selects the Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center as Charitable Fund Recipient

May 1, 2016

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $1,000 to the Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The donated funds will go toward serving people in the community who seek help, hope and healing through professional counseling, consultation and education.

"This organization serves a crucial need for assisting individuals and families who need help yet do not have the insurance or financial resources to pay. From serving men and women with major depression, to helping single mothers struggling with parenting to seniors who may be overwhelmed by grief, those who need the most help when it comes to mental and emotional health are often those who lack access to it. The Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center provides hope for those, and we are so proud to support their cause," said Sonya Garner, central contracts director for Festiva, who is based in Festiva’s Murrells Inlet office.

The Myrtle Beach area has one of the highest concentrations of resorts in the Festiva network. With 65 employees in the area, Festiva is constantly looking for ways to give back to this community through donations from a corporate level as well as from our dedicated employees who live and work there. The Festiva Charitable Fund Golf Tournament has been held at Festiva’s Ellington at Wachesaw Plantation East in Murrells Inlet for several years, making a huge impact on the fund’s annual donations.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for youth and to assist in efforts to eliminate poverty in its communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

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Festiva Selects the Christian Service Center as Charitable Fund Recipient

April 15, 2016

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $1,500 to the Christian Service Center in Gulf Shores, Alabama. These funds will go toward providing emergency services as well as guidance on finding solutions to long term problems for people in need in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area.

"Organizations like the Christian Service Center are crucial in smaller communities like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach that may not have the same resources as larger cities. From providing emergency aid for housing, utilities and medical expenses to sponsoring a food pantry and charitable pharmacy and much more, this organization - which is completely volunteer based – is one that we are proud to support," said Kevin Gilliland, resort manager at The Shores in Orange Beach, a Festiva property.

With two properties in Orange Beach that are recent additions to the Festiva network of resorts, the company is happy to support charitable causes and organizations in the Gulf Coast area. Festiva employs 10 people in the area.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for youth and to assist in efforts to eliminate poverty in its communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

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Festiva Selects ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters as Charitable Fund Recipient

April 1, 2016

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $1,500 to the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministries (ABCCM) Veterans Restoration Quarters. These funds will go toward providing homeless veterans with stability, skill building, educational and training opportunities that will lead to employment, housing and the restoration of personal dignity.

"We feel that supporting those who have served our country is an important ongoing endeavor. We’re proud to have an organization like ABCCM in our community and are more than happy to contribute to their efforts in aiding veterans," said Kristen Shiring, Festiva Charitable Fund committee member.

With an operational office and its parent company’s corporate office in Asheville, Festiva is a regular supporter of numerous humanitarian non-profit and charitable organizations in the Asheville area and has supported various divisions and programs of the ABCCM through volunteer opportunities, fundraisers and other donations.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for youth and to assist in efforts to eliminate poverty in its communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

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Festiva Selects Boys & Girls Clubs in Florida as Charitable Fund Recipient

March 15, 2016

Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $1,500 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler Counties in Florida. These funds will go toward the organization’s mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens and leaders.

"We are always thrilled to be able to help organizations that benefit children, especially when it comes to outreach and mentoring those who may be disadvantaged or otherwise need positive relationships with adults. It is an honor knowing that our gift is going to impact the future of children in this area," said Sarah Marks, director of human resources for Festiva Development Group.

Festiva has a property in New Smyrna Beach and employs 27 people in the area. The New Smyrna chapter of the two-county Boys & Girls Club serves 140 youth between the ages of six and 18 among seven different schools.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for youth and to assist in efforts to eliminate poverty in its communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

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Festiva welcomes Scott Sonnone & Don McQuade

February 12, 2016

Festiva Development Group, Inc. (FDG), one of the largest privately-held vacation ownership companies in the country, recently announced that Scott Sonnone has been named chief operating officer and Don McQuade is joining Festiva’s executive team as senior vice president of sales.

Sonnone began his relationship with Festiva in 2008 as a member of the board of directors of Zealandia Holding Company, Inc. (ZHC), Festiva’s parent company. As COO, Sonnone has been charged with streamlining daily operations and analyzing management of resources as well as setting and driving performance measures.

"It’s an honor to join Festiva's executive team and I look forward working alongside each of them to reinvigorate our company's growth with an eye toward innovation and customer satisfaction," said Sonnone.

After years of experience working at an executive level in private equity funds, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions; in 2004, Sonnone founded Sweetwater Capital, LLC, a regional investment banking and private equity firm based in Asheville, N.C. Most recently, Sonnone served as CEO of Cane Creek Cycling, a manufacturer of cycling components based in Fletcher, N.C. Sonnone holds a B.A. in Economics from Trinity College.

"We are fortunate to have benefited from Scott's business acumen during his tenure on ZHC’s board of directors and now look forward to a level of higher, hands-on involvement as COO of Festiva," said Butch Patrick, Festiva’s president and CEO. Patrick went on to say about McQuade, "Don’s depth and breadth of knowledge of our owners and products along with his experience with the company made him a natural choice for SVP of sales. Each will be a great complement to our executive team."

With over 20 years of industry experience, McQuade began his career with Festiva in March 2009 as a sales director in his hometown of Portland, Maine. He was promoted to regional vice president of sales in December 2009 to oversee Festiva’s Maine and New Orleans sales operations and later, those in Branson and Florida. Prior to joining Festiva, McQuade Spent 12 years in Sedona, Arizona, working for a timeshare developer. McQuade graduated from Northeastern University.

"I'm extremely excited and honored for this opportunity and I look forward to working with some great sales leaders and developing our team to its fullest potential," said McQuade.

McQuade will be based in Orlando, Florida, where Festiva’s corporate offices are located and Sonnone will be based in Asheville, N.C., home to Zealandia Holding Company.

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Festiva Commemorates 15 Years of Serving its Resort Guests

Marking fifteen years of service, developer Festiva will celebrate the milestone at its premiere resort location, Ellington at Wachesaw.

Asheville, NC (October 26, 2015) - On October 26th, hotel and resort developer Festiva celebrates its fifteenth anniversary with its employees at the first property it acquired, Ellington at Wachesaw in Murrells Inlet, SC. Workers will be treated to festivities designed to further engender the feelings of family that has permeated the staff since the company's inception. Founded in 2000 by Don Clayton and Herbert "Butch" Patrick, Festiva has grown to encompass 24 resorts in the U.S. and Caribbean, a fact Patrick attributes to his employees. "While hard work and some smarts were critical to our success, there were numerous partners and wonderful employees who played a large role in making Festiva what it is today," Patrick said.

That success is partially due to a guiding philosophy of treating everyone like family, a courtesy which is extended to both staff and resort guests. As a veteran of the company since its earliest days, Ellington front desk manager Caraline Bledsoe's fondest memories are of guests who would come back year after year with whom she enjoyed talking to as well as catching up and swapping stories with on each visit.

Festiva operates several subsidiaries to strengthen its core business of vacation club ownership, servicing nearly 100,000 members and their families. These subsidiaries include Resort Travel & Xchange, Festiva Adventure Club, ETourandTravel, and Festiva Sailing Vacations.

"Only 24% of all business startups from 2000 remain in operation today," said Patrick. "Considering this sobering statistic, we should all be proud of our staying power and look forward to the next 15 years. To all of our past and present employees, I want to personally thank you for a job well done."

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Festiva Employees Take Time to Teach Children Life Skills

Festiva employees volunteer time to teach children at Hominy Valley Elementary School financial responsibility and money management skills during Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s Day of Caring.

Asheville, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2015) - Last week, a handful of employees from Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, spent the day at Hominy Valley Elementary School helping DIME-a-Saurus teach kindergarten students about money. DIME-a-Saurus is a dinosaur character developed by OnTrack WNC to teach children in kindergarten through second grades about money, savings and the difference between needs and wants.

States Dessie Laster, Chief Financial Officer of Festiva: "Especially in today's society where more people than ever are living paycheck to paycheck, cost of living continues to increase, and the cost of preparing oneself for a better life through education comes at such a staggering and skyrocketing cost, it's so incredibly important to start learning to manage your money and be responsible with how you spend, from a young age."

Festiva is a regular participant in Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s Day of Caring initiative. Last year, volunteers representing the company spent a day packing almost 100 boxes of food for distribution to the local underprivileged at Manna Food Bank. The year prior, Festiva volunteers donated time at ABCCM’s Steadfast House.

Butch Patrick, President and CEO of Festiva: "All of us [at Festiva] are passionate about our communities, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to partner with this incredible organization that has such a positive impact on the Asheville community!"

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Festiva Selects Black Mountain Home for Children as Charitable Fund Recipient

Festiva selects the Black Mountain Home for Children as its next recipient for donation from the Festiva Charitable Fund.

Asheville, N.C. (Aug. 14, 2015) - Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $1,500 to the western North Carolina-based Black Mountain Home for Children. These funds will go toward the aid and support of children, from infancy through college graduation, who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.

States Tammy Stone, Reservations Manager for affiliate company Festiva Sailing Vacations: "It's devastating to see a child in need—children are so vulnerable and in need of care, and their experiences shape who they become as adults. We’re proud to support the Black Mountain Home for Children because they have such a strong history of providing extraordinary care for children who wouldn’t otherwise have anywhere else to turn, by offering family foster care, residential care, transitional living and independent living."

With an operational office and its parent company’s corporate office in Asheville, Festiva is a regular supporter of numerous humanitarian non-profit and charitable organizations in the western North Carolina region.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for youth and to assist in efforts to eliminate poverty in its communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

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Festiva Shows Support for Local Community

Festiva Contributes to Reverend Pinckney Fund and Mother Emanuel Hope Fund in a show of support for human rights and equality in local community.

Charleston, S.C. (Jul. 15, 2015) - Festiva, the developer for the Festiva hotel and resort properties and the Festiva Adventure Club, has donated $2,000 to the Charleston-based LowCountry Ministries' Reverend Pinckney Fund. These funds will be used in support of human rights and equality initiatives in the Charleston area and at the Emanuel AME Church, and in support of those families who have recently endured the tragic and senseless loss of loved ones. Festiva also plans to make a $500 cash contribution on behalf of an employee of its Church Street Inn property who is a fellow congregant of the Emanuel AME Church.

States Jared Resch, Property Manager for Festiva's Charleston resort property, Church Street Inn: "As is with the show of solidarity across the nation for our sisters and brothers of Charleston who are impacted by this senseless act of violence, at Church Street Inn and our local offices, we too are shocked and saddened by this tragic event. We stand together to voice our support for Emmanuel AME Church and all of its parish members who are left to heal and move forward with their faith in action and love of God."

As a member of the Charleston community Festiva and its local entities embrace diversity and believe and engage in inclusion and respect for all.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for our youth and eliminate poverty in our communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events

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Zealandia Holding Company, Inc. CEO Honored After Long Tenure

Zealandia Holding Company honored service and retirement of founding CEO, Don Clayton, at 15-year anniversary kickoff celebration

Asheville, N.C. (Jun. 14, 2015) - Yesterday employees of Zealandia Holding Company and its subsidiaries honored the service and retirement of founding CEO, Don Clayton, during the kickoff of the company’s 15-year anniversary celebrations.

Festiva Co-Founder, President and CEO, Butch Patrick, feels "Don [Clayton] has made a huge impact on Zealandia Holding Company. He's been a significant force behind achieving so many of our goals, and without him we wouldn’t be the company we are today. I couldn't have asked for a better business partner and friend."

Clayton has been an integral part of the creation and growth of Zealandia Holding Company, its flagship subsidiary, Festiva, and its other affiliated companies. He was a founding owner from the company's formation as Festiva Resorts, a single entity with one resort property. From there he and Patrick worked tirelessly to grow the company by acquiring Peppertree, Escapes and KGI, to build Festiva into one of the most successful private timeshare companies in the country. Always looking for ways to improve as a business and an employer, Clayton was also instrumental in the decision to shift the company to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 2010.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Clayton is a designated Registered Resort Professional (RRP) by the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), an ARDA trustee and a member of its Board of Directors. He previously served as chairperson of ARDA North Carolina and co-chairperson of ARDA Carolinas. He has received numerous industry accolades, including the Silver ARDA Award for Marketing Executive - Multiple Sites in 1997 and 1998, and a Gold Ardy-the industry's highest honor—in 1999. In retirement Mr. Clayton plans to split his time between Asheville, North Carolina, and Sint Maarten—the Caribbean paradise that captured his heart and inspires his internal artist—to pursue his lifelong passion for music as a gifted songwriter and performer. Mr. Clayton remains Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zealandia Holding Company.

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Zealandia Holding Company Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary

Zealandia Holding Company will celebrate 15-year anniversary this week, along with affiliate companies, at corporate headquarters.

Asheville, N.C. (Jun. 9, 2015) - Zealandia Holding Company, parent company to Festiva Development Group, ETourandTravel, Patton Hospitality Management, Festiva Sailing Vacations, Resort Travel Xchange and Zealandia Capital, will celebrate its 15th anniversary on June 13, 2015, at the company's corporate headquarters.

Zealandia Holding Company President and CEO, Butch Patrick, reflects: "it's been an amazing experience growing the company over the past 15 years, starting from Festiva Resorts and developing into a family of companies that all support our one overarching goal to provide our members with great vacations and fun, memorable moments. I feel privileged to have so many dedicated employees who have helped us get where we are today, and I know we're all committed to making the next 15 years even better than the first."

Since inception in 2000, founding partners, Butch Patrick and Don Clayton, have worked tirelessly to grow Zealandia Holding Company (ZHC). They began by acquiring Peppertree, Escapes and KGI, and by transitioning from Festiva Resorts, a single company responsible for all aspects of timeshare ownership and management, to its current state as the parent of a group of subsidiary companies each aimed at catering to a specific area of the timeshare vertical. Strong leadership and strategic decisions at every step have enabled ZHC to become one of the most successful private timeshare and vacation management companies in the country.

With more than 125 years of combined industry experience and American Resort Development Association (ARDA) awards at the executive level, ZHC boasts an impressive record in the timeshare and resort development industry. Through its subsidiaries the company has grown from one resort property to 25, led innovation in the application of the points-based vacation membership model, implemented cutting-edge employee engagement initiatives and provided opportunities that promote a true sense of belonging, further advanced its reputation as an innovator by transitioning to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and set resort management standards worthy of featuring on nationally syndicated hotel management programming.

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Festiva Development Group and Zealandia Capital Raise Money for Local Charity

Festiva Development Group and Zealandia Capital raise money for Eblen Charity’s St. Nicholas Project, the US Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots, and the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree to support families in need around western North Carolina this Holiday season.

Asheville, NC (Nov. 24, 2014) - Festiva Development Group, the developer for Festiva Hotels & Resorts, partnered with fellow Zealandia Holdings company, Zealandia Capital, to raise $11,300 last Friday, November 21st, at its eleventh annual Charity Auction. Festiva Development Group and Zealandia Capital will use the funds raised to purchase toys.

"It’s really rewarding knowing that we’ll be able to bring a little bit of hope to so many children and families in need this Holiday season," said Sabrina Green, Holiday Auction Committee Chair for Festiva. "And what makes me even more proud is knowing that all the money we raised to be able to give came directly from our own employees."

Festiva Development Group and Zealandia Capital plan to partner with iHeartMedia Asheville to double the number of toys they will donate with the help of the Asheville community, at two upcoming toy drives. The first toy drive will be held from December 4th through December 6th, at Ingles on Tunnel Road, in support of Eblen Charity’s St. Nicholas Project. The second toy drive will take place at the Sears Tire Center on Tunnel Road, from December 12th through December 13th, and will support the US Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program. Festiva and Zealandia Capital will match public donations to these organizations, up to 40 toys for each hour of sponsorship during these toy drives. Additionally, both companies plan to provide gifts for individual families through the Salvation Army’s Giving Tree. Finally, Festiva and Zealandia Capital also plan to match, dollar for dollar, the original amount of funds raised from the Holiday Auction to the Festiva Charitable Fund.

The Festiva Charitable Fund donates to a charitable organization in each of three locations per year. Locations and charities are selected according to where the company operates and what issues are important to the company’s employees and members. In eleven years, the Holiday Auction has raised $122,987. Since its inception in 2006, the Festiva Charitable Fund has gifted over $92,000 to more than 25 different charitable organizations through the country, as well as several national endeavors. Interested parties can learn more about Festiva Development Group’s community support initiatives on the company website. Visit the website for more information: festiva.com/about_fund.php.

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Festiva Golf Tournament Raises $57,000 for Charitable Fund Tournament sets record for Festiva fundraising event

(October 10, 2012) Festiva Hospitality Group held its 2012 Festiva Charitable Fund Golf Tournament on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Wachesaw East golf course in Murrells Inlet, S.C., also the home of Festiva’s flagship resort, Ellington at Wachesaw East. The tournament was a huge success with more than $57,000 raised through sponsorships, player registrations, raffle ticket sales and other donations.

All of the proceeds from the tournament go directly to the Festiva Charitable Fund, a flexible endowment fund that began in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva is located. The primary focus of The Fund is to promote education for our youth and eliminate poverty in our communities and has also been used to respond to extraordinary global events. Eachyear, the Festiva Charitable Fund committee chooses several organizations to benefit from the fund based on suggestions from employees and members from all of Festiva’s resort destinations.

The tournament truly would not have been a success without the generous sponsors, with $45,800 of the total amount raised coming from these 22 businesses and individuals. More than 100 players in teams of four registered, with registration fees accounting for $7,077 of the total amount raised, and Festiva employee volunteers helped raise an additional $3,040 through raffle ticket, beverage and Mulligan sales.

Tom Garber, a long drive professional in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and a three-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship finalist, offered his long drive talents as an additional fundraiser, taking donations in exchange for a drive on one of the longest tees. The pro donated a total of $1,584 to the Festiva Charitable Fund.

The Festiva Charitable Fund is managed by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and expanding philanthropy. For more information on Festiva Hospitality Group, Inc., the Charitable Fund or The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, visit www.festiva.travel or www.cfwnc.org.

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Festiva employees continue tradition with Day of Caring participation

ASHEVILLE, September 12 2012 On Thursday, September 6, a total of 21 employees from Festiva Hospitality Group’s corporate office in Asheville, N.C., dedicated half of their day to Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s Day of Caring. Hands On is a part of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County that provides a link for individuals, families, corporate, and civic or faith-based groups to volunteer in support of nonprofits in Asheville and Buncombe County

This was the fifth year in a row that Festiva has participated in Day of Caring, which allows businesses, individuals and organizations to go out into the community and help local nonprofit organizations, schools and other public entities with specific projects. Festiva sent a morning group and an afternoon group to the Oakley Elementary School to complete a painting project in two of the school’s bathrooms.

With budget challenges that so many public schools face, a seemingly simple task such as repainting a bathroom or two can often be delayed as other projects and resources take priority. Through Day of Caring, Festiva’s help made the completion of this project a reality for Oakley Elementary, as it may not have been done otherwise. The new paint refreshed the look of the bathrooms and added a little bit of school spirit as the colors match those of A.C. Reynolds High School, where many of Oakley’s students will attend in the future.

As always, those who participated in Day of Caring demonstrated the hardworking nature of Festiva’s employees by working quickly and efficiently together to complete as much of the painting project as possible, thus making a positive impact on one of our community’s schools.

"The United Way Day of Caring has turned into a Festiva tradition. Not only do we have a ton of fun, we build team spirit and truly love making a positive impact on our community," said Debbie Shroyer, a long time Festiva employee and Day of Caring participant.

Festiva’s involvement in Day of Caring was organized by Debbie Shroyer and Tammy Stone. Other participating employees include: Christy Pressley, Anne Moore, Mary Anne Craver, Torie Quakenbush, Cathy Braddock, Miriam Day, Julia Shirley, Joseph Quattlebaum, Starla Basinger, Joanmanuel Comas, Corina Violette, Nicole Osborne, Tara Elliott, Sara Little, Aaron Hodges, Angela Norville, Matt Eller, Neal Beckett and Kyle Smith.

Festiva’s employees in Asheville not only give back during Day of Caring, but are involved in various fundraisers throughout the year for United Way, Friends of the WNC Nature Center, and other organizations and events in Asheville as well as Festiva’s resort destinations. Each year, four to five organizations are chosen to benefit from the Festiva Charitable Fund, including one located in Asheville and others from three to four of Festiva’s resort locations throughout the U.S.

On Tuesday, September 18, the Festiva Charitable Fund Golf Tournament will be held at Festiva’s flagship resort, Ellington at Wachesaw Plantation East in Murrells Inlet, S.C. Several employees and generous sponsors have already helped raise nearly $50,000 for the tournament and we anticipate raising even more during the event through raffle ticket sales and other donations. We expect to have approximately 100 golfers and several employee volunteers for the event.

Festiva employees also help one another by contributing to Festiva’s Helping Hands, a fund created for employees, by employees to assist individual employees in cases of extreme financial need due to medical emergencies, natural disaster or other unexpected events.

To find out more about Festiva Hospitality Group, visit www.festiva.travel.

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Festiva expands in Asheville, acquires building at 521 College Street

Asheville, Sept. 12 2012 Festiva Hospitality Group is announcing the acquisition of the building at 521 College Street, formerly the offices of a Re/Max real estate agency. The building will serve as the third office for employees at Festiva’s Asheville headquarters.

This is a major step in Festiva’s growth in Asheville as the building’s location on College Street just a few blocks from the heart of downtown gives Festiva a more public presence in its hometown than the company has ever had before.

The building at 521 College Street now serves as the headquarters for Resort Travel & Xchange (RTX), a new travel exchange company that is a subsidiary of Festiva Hospitality Group. The majority of Festiva’s Asheville employees remain at historic Zealandia, where the company has called home since 2004. Zealandia Capital, another Festiva subsidiary, is currently operating out of the Deltec house annex, also on College Street. All three offices are within a very short distance of one another on Beaucatcher Mountain, from its base on College Street to the top overlooking downtown and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

"We are pleased that this addition allows for future expansion in our corporate headquarters. With recent growth and reorganization of several divisions of our corporate offices, we are positioned to become one of Asheville’s most desirable employers,” said Don Clayton, co-founder and chief executive officer of Festiva Hospitality Group.

Festiva has approximately 100 employees in Asheville and nearly 1000 overall. Festiva manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts from five destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico and Greece. Festiva currently manages, owns and/or operates 23 resorts and has approximately 70,000 members. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 23,000.

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FESTIVA RESORT RECEIVES HIGHEST AWARD FROM TRIPADVISOR

Asheville, Aug. 13 2012 Asheville, North Carolina, Aug. 08-- Festiva Hospitality Group is proud to announce that the Blue Heron Beach Resort has been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2012.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, is visited by 50 million monthly visitors and over 60 million reviews from firsthand visitors who have traveled to one or more registered businesses. The site recognizes select resorts and hotels in hospitality xcellence when they are continuously given superior ratings of four out of five notches, and outstanding reviews by guests. Only 10 percent of all resorts and hotels on TripAdvisor are awarded the Certificate of Excellence.

In addition to the accolade received from TripAdvisor, the Blue Heron Beach Resort continues the unwavering trend of a four and a half star rating out of a possible five with reputable travel and review sites such as Yahoo, Hotels.com, Yelp and Expedia.

"It is an honor to receive this award that is given to us from the guests that stayed at our Blue Heron Beach Resort. I would like to especially thank our entire team for providing exceptional guest service and making every visitor’s vacation in Orlando a memorable one. Hospitality – it is what makes guests happy and come back,” said Alex Carius, general manager.

Festiva’s Blue Heron Beach Resort offers offers condominium-style units suited for families of all sizes. Every suite features a living room, balcony overlooking the pools and Lake Bryan, dining area, full kitchen, two bathrooms and washer and dryer. Visit www.festiva-blueheron.com for more information on accommodations and amenities at this Orlando property, which is less than a mile from Downtown Disney.

Founded in 2000, Festiva Hospitality Group is one of the most successful privately held vacation ownership companies in the country and provides fun family vacationing to more than 70,000 members. Festiva’s family of boutique interval ownership resorts are located in some of the most sought after destinations in the United States and Caribbean. Visit www.festiva.travel for more information about Festiva.

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FESTIVA RESORT RECEIVES HIGHEST AWARDS FROM TRIPADVISOR AND ISLAND PACKET

The Main Street Inn & Spa honored with Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence and 2012 Reader’s Choice Award by Local Hilton Head publication

Asheville, North Carolina, Aug. 06 2012 Festiva Hospitality Group is proud to announce that the Main Street Inn & Spa has been awarded both the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2012 and the 2012 Reader’s Choice Award by local readers of the Hilton Head Island Packet.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, is visited by 50 million monthly visitors and over 60 million reviews from firsthand visitors who have traveled to one or more registered businesses. The site recognizes select resorts and hotels in hospitality xcellence when they are continuously given superior ratings of four out of five notches, and outstanding reviews by guests. Only 10 percent of all resorts and hotels on TripAdvisor are awarded the Certificate of Excellence.

In addition to the accolade received from TripAdvisor, the 51,561 votes from readers and website users of Hilton Head's Island Packet nominated and chose the Main Street Inn & Spa as their Reader's Choice Award for Best Bed and Breakfast for 2012. Based on patron popularity, the Main Street Inn & Spa swept the competition by seeing continuous support from local customers. Businesses branched out to the community through social media and special offers for voters to side in their favor, but exceeding satisfaction of visitors and locals put their favorite Hilton Head bed and breakfast as number one.

“We are thrilled that Main Street Inn & Spa was selected to obtain these prestigious awards. It speaks volumes to our southern hospitality and charm. We invite everyone to take a journey to Main Street Inn & Spa for yourself and see what everyone is boasting about,” said Denise Hatcher, general manager.

Founded in 2000, Festiva Hospitality Group is one of the most successful privately held vacation ownership companies in the country and provides fun family vacationing to more than 70,000 members. Festiva’s family of boutique interval ownership resorts are located in some of the most sought after destinations in the United States and Caribbean. Visit www.festiva.travel for more information about Festiva.

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Festiva Hospitality Group acquires Kissimmee Resort

ASHEVILLE, NC, July 09 2012 - Festiva Hospitality Group is announcing the recent acquisition of Celebration World Resort in Kissimmee, Fla. This acquisition comes in the wake of troubled times for the resort and its owners, and Festiva is committed to making much-needed improvements to the property itself along with the management operations so that the resort’s owners can enjoy the quality vacations they deserve.

“There was a 55% delinquency rate existing among the owners, along with several other cosmetic and operational challenges. Festiva has committed to fix those issues with financial contributions for renovations as well drastic operational changes and improvements,” said Don Clayton, chief executive officer and co-founder of Festiva Hospitality Group.

As part of the acquisition and overall improvements to the resort, Festiva has changed the name of the resort itself and its HOA to Festiva Orlando Resort. The new name represents the Festiva brand as well as the fantastic destination of the resort.

Several improvements are already underway at the property as part of the multi-million-dollar refurbishment and renovations project. These changes will ensure that the more than 11,000 Festiva Orlando Resort owners have the quality accommodations and amenities that they expect and deserve. These owners will also have access to even more benefits and vacation opportunities through Festiva’s services and other properties.

Festiva became involved in this acquisition, which ultimately saved the property from bankruptcy, through CapitalSource Finance, LLC, a real estate and mortgage lending company specializing in commercial real estate that Festiva has previously worked with on several other acquisitions.

“CapitalSource reached out to Festiva because of our confidence in Festiva’s ability to deliver on the operational and administrative improvements necessary to turn the resort around,” said Brian Petronis, vice president of portfolio management for CapitalSource.

The acquisition and plans for improvements were made during a time of communication with the state of Florida as Festiva executives worked closely with The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) near the beginning of the acquisition process.

“Early on we recognized that the many issues the resort owners had been and would continue to deal with would cause ongoing operational, legal and managerial challenges. Therefore, Festiva decided to reach out to the DBPR to inform them of these many challenges and to work with them to ensure the best possible long-term outcome for the resort’s owners,” said Tobias A. Weas, Esq., RRP, vice president of government relations and general counsel of Festiva.

This addition of Festiva Orlando Resort to Festiva’s portfolio will also benefit the company as a whole as it increases its presence in one of the most popular vacation ownership destinations in the country, while expanding vacation options for Festiva Adventure Club members. Festiva’s leaders have created a plan that will greatly improve Festiva Orlando Resort over the next few years without negatively impacting Festiva’s existing members or the current resort owners.

“Once our renovations and improvements are complete, the end result will be a high-quality and financially stable resort in one of the best vacation destinations in the world that can be enjoyed by its owners as well as Festiva’s existing members,” Clayton said.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has approximately 70,000 members among 23 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 23,000.

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Festiva donates $50,000 to WNC Nature Center

ASHEVILLE, MAY 09 2012 Festiva Hospitality Group has donated $50,000 to the Western North Carolina Nature Center (WNCNC), Asheville’s Wildlife Park. Festiva’s commitment will support the center’s 2020 Vision, a long-term improvement and expansion project already underway at the Nature Center that will help transform this diamond in the rough into one of Asheville’s favorite treasures for locals and visitors alike

The donation is coordinated by Friends of the WNCNC, a nonprofit committed to supporting the WNC Nature Center’s mission of connecting people with animals & plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, & advancing conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity.

“We are very excited to be involved with the Nature Center’s improvements and future expansion,” said Butch Patrick, president and co-founder of Festiva Hospitality Group. “We feel that the center is a wonderful attraction for visitors as well as local families here in Asheville, and we are proud to support the expansion and improvement of the center’s education and conservation efforts.”

Festiva’s donation is specifically being used to transform the historic and iconic red barn on the property into the center’s new main entrance. This new entrance will provide a more interactive and integrative first impression for all visitors and will also allow for the current entrance’s transformation into an education center that will increase the center’s indoor offerings for year-round use.

“We’ve already had a record-breaking spring this year in terms of visitor numbers,” said Kimberly Brewster, executive director of Friends of the WNC Nature Center. “The Friends have provided significant support to the Center through marketing and it is showing a great return. This increased attendance along with support from donors and partners like Festiva are critical to the Center’s operations and our goals in the 2020 Vision.”

“Since Festiva will be bringing visitors to Asheville through our recent management contract with Festiva Biltmore Village and with nearly 100 employees in Asheville who can enjoy the center with their families for years to come, our partnership with the Nature Center is a natural fit,” said Patrick.

The Mission of the Friends of the Western North Carolina Nature Center is to create awareness and provide financial resources, through fundraising and events, in support of the Nature Center - Asheville's Wildlife Park. For more information about the nature center and how you can become a member, visit www.wildwnc.org.

Festiva Hospitality Group is one of the most successful privately held hospitality companies in the United States. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva owns, markets and manages 24 hotels and resorts throughout the Southeast, Midwest, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva also owns a fleet of luxury catamaran yachts. Festiva has nearly 70,000 members and employs approximately 100 people in Asheville and nearly 1000 people overall.

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Festiva launches member experience Blog feature

ASHEVILLE, NC, March 19 2012 — Festiva Hospitality Group has recently launched a monthly Blog feature that allows members to share their Festiva vacation experiences. Each member experience Blog includes a firsthand account as well as photos of their family vacation memories at a Festiva resort.

“We want our members and guests to hear about vacationing at our resorts directly from the source: our members. While we have plenty of great information about the properties and their surrounding areas on our resort websites, there’s something a little more personal that can be offered from firsthand experiences,” said Sara Little, director of corporate communications for Festiva Hospitality Group.

The experiences shared on Festiva’s Blog come from members who have submitted photos and stories to Festiva’s annual contest, have sent in letters or e-mails after a particularly memorable stay or have become fans of Festiva on Facebook or Twitter and have expressed their joy for vacationing with Festiva online.

Since the first post in December, Festiva’s member experience Blogs have taken us from the beauty of summer in Western Maine at Rangeley Lake Resort to holidays in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains in Banner Elk, N.C., to a Labor Day getaway in the Wisconsin Dells. Upcoming member experience Blogs will feature New Orleans, St. Maarten, Atlantic Beach and St. Augustine.

Patricia Dunham, who started a tradition with her husband of spending Thanksgiving at Festiva’s Blue Ridge Village wrote, “Blue Ridge Village has changed ever so slightly each year but always for the better. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, cabins are being built, units are being renovated and the pool was redone but the coziness of the resort nestled into the side of the hill will always remain … as will my love affair with Blue Ridge Village.”

Ruth Romine took her extended family for an impromptu getaway in the Wisconsin Dells: “We didn’t know what to do for Labor Day weekend. I had just started a new job, and it was my son’s birthday, then at the last minute I remembered Festiva has a place in Wisconsin Dells, only a 2.5 hour drive away. I never thought there would be any way we could get a place on such a short notice; well, I was wrong. Festiva had a villa for us, making this one of the reasons we are so happy to be a part of Festiva.”

Festiva is passionate about providing a lifetime of vacations and priceless memories to its members and guests, and there’s no better way that can be demonstrated than through the firsthand accounts of those memories. If you are interested in contributing to our member experience Blog, please send an email to slittle@festiva.travel

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Festiva Management Group to manage Biltmore Village Villas

ASHEVILLE, NC, March 28, 2012 – Festiva Management Group (FMG) is proud to announce that as of April 1, 2012, it will assume management of the Biltmore Village Villas located in the heart of Asheville’s picturesque Biltmore Village. As part of this new partnership, the property will be re-branded as Festiva Biltmore Village.

Festiva Biltmore Village is home to 11 luxurious and spacious two-bedroom condominiums in two buildings tucked away in a peaceful neighborhood near the All Souls Cathedral just a short walk to the shopping and dining of quaint Biltmore Village. The property’s deluxe condominiums are well appointed with modern amenities and tasteful décor, each with its own unique theme.

“We are thrilled to expand our presence in our hometown. While we manage properties in many fabulous vacation destinations, Asheville is our home and we are excited to be able to share it with our members and guests,” said Don Clayton, Festiva’s chief executive officer.

The condominiums are available for both short-term and long-term rentals, ideal for a relaxing vacation to see the sights of Asheville and its surrounding areas or for a home away from home for an extended business stay. Festiva Adventure Club members will have limited access to Festiva Biltmore Village beginning early this summer.

Festiva Management Group is hiring two employees at Festiva Biltmore Village to ensure that all guests receive high quality service from the time they check in until the moment they depart.

As a full-service professional management company, FMG specializes in hotel and resort operations and customer service to hotels, timeshare resorts, condominiums and condo hotels. With over 150 years combined industry experience on our executive team, FMG offers expertise in the areas of development, budgeting, controls, financing, reporting, customer service and human resource management.

“We are happy to offer a robust rental program for the benefit of Festiva Biltmore Village owners as well as superior management operations that will be enjoyed by owners and guests alike,” said Will Horton, senior vice president of resort operations.

Festiva Management Group is a subsidiary of Festiva Hospitality Group and is based in Asheville, N.C., with affiliated properties throughout the Midwest, Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Southeast and Caribbean. Visit www.GoFestiva.com for reservations or www.fmg.travel for more information.

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Festiva Hospitality Group donates to Pisgah Legal Services

ASHEVILLE, FEBRUARY 20 2012 - Festiva Hospitality Group has announced that it is making a donation of more than $7,000 to Pisgah Legal Services (PLS), a community-based nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal assistance to low-income people throughout Western North Carolina. Each year, PLS helps more than 12,000 low-income people meet their most basic needs for housing, safety, health care, food and education.

“Pisgah Legal Services is a wonderful organization to have in our community that improves and saves people’s lives every day in ways that could not have otherwise been possible. As an attorney, I personally see the value of this service, and as a company Festiva would like to recognize the value of PLS to the Asheville area,” said Tobias Weas, General Counsel for Festiva Hospitality Group.

In addition to 44 staff members, more than 300 volunteer attorneys provide free legal services to PLS clients. Brooks Gaylord, Corporate Counsel for Festiva, is among the group of attorneys who donate more than 3,500 pro bono hours of legal services per year.

PLS helps to meet the basic needs of battered women, the working poor, disadvantaged or abused children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The legal expertise provided by PLS and its volunteers address a variety of social problems through several programs with specific focuses such as protection from abuse, avoiding homelessness, safe housing, health care and subsistence income.

“Pisgah Legal Services is very grateful for the support of Festiva. In these difficult economic times, we depend on the generosity of the community and partners like Festiva help us to meet the critical needs of families in western North Carolina,” said Tina Owen, Director of Development at PLS.

Festiva is honored to be a part of the PLS community. Through the Festiva Charitable Fund, managed by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Festiva has made donations over the years to several nonprofit organizations in the Asheville area and in areas where our resorts are located. Festiva typically seeks out organizations that promote education and eliminate poverty, and PLS works hard to do those things and so much more. Festiva’s donation qualifies as a Partners for Justice Sponsorship level with PLS.

Festiva’s decision to donate to PLS was guided by several of the company’s core values, which not only play a role in our individual employees’ every day actions but also guide the company as a whole. Festiva would like to thank PLS for the services they provide to the community and for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of what they do.

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Festiva partners with Wells Fargo and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina for enhanced employee benefits

Jan. 23 2012, Asheville, NC – Effective January 1, 2012, Festiva Hospitality Group has selected to partner with Wells Fargo Insurance Services as its insurance broker and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) as its health and dental insurance benefits provider. This new partnership is an important milestone for Festiva, which has been partially self-funded for health and dental insurance for that last six years.

“With the ever-changing state health care reform, Festiva decided to move from being a partially self-funded program to partnering with Wells Fargo in a fully-funded insurance plan with a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for two basic reasons. We want our employees to get the best benefits available and we want to ensure the long-term health of Festiva and our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP),” said Terri Kirkpatrick, Human Resources Manager for Festiva.

The partnership with BCBSNC for health and dental insurance is beneficial for individual employees as well as the company as a whole. The resulting cost savings from previous years will enhance the value of Festiva’s ESOP for all employees, and the extensive information offered by BCBSNC will give employees incentive and encouragement to embrace healthier lifestyles. The robust wellness plans provided by both Wells Fargo andBCBSNC will help Festiva create its own homegrown customized wellness plan for its employees

Another major change to the benefits program for Festiva’s employees is the coverage of health, dental, vision, disability and life insurance for domestic partners, including both opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples. By offering insurance coverage and benefits to domestic partners, Festiva joins local Asheville employer Mission Hospitals along with several companies in the resort and hospitality industry including Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts.

“In 2010, Festiva became an employee-owned company, and this was a logical next step in the growth and progression of our organization,” Kirkpatrick said. “The new coverage helps us streamline our benefits while ensuring a level playing field for everyone. It is a great offering for individual employees, as well as a positive change for the long-term strength of Festiva as a company.”

In addition to the extensive wellness program and benefits for domestic partners, employees can also participate in a flexible spending plan. This allows them to designate a portion of their paycheck for pre-tax income that can be spent on health-related items including co-pays, over-the-counter and prescription medications and child care.

Along with health and dental insurance from BCBSNC, Festiva’s full-time employees have access to eye care insurance through EyeMed, flexible spending and health reimbursement accounts through Elkin & Associates, a 401(k) program through Transamerica and both short-term and long-term disability coverage as well as life insurance through UNUM. Festiva as a company pays for short-term disability as well as $30,000 in life insurance, and employees can voluntarily enroll in a long-term disability option as well as extended life insurance coverage. Festiva also pays for half of each covered employee’s deductibles through the health reimbursement account, once the deductible is met by the employee.

About Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo Insurance Services is a full service insurance brokerage and is the largest bank-affiliated broker in the U.S. with 200 offices and more than 8,000 employees in 37 states, Wells Fargo Insurance Services is the fifth largest insurance brokerage firm in the world.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is a not-for-profit, fully taxed company with headquarters in Chapel Hill and major operations centers in Durham and Winston-Salem. We are the largest health insurer in the state, with over 4,000 employees serving more than 3.7 million customers.

About Festiva Hospitality Group: Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 23 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000.

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Festiva Hospitality Group employees raise nearly $18,000 for charity

December 12, 2011, Festiva Hospitality Group is proud to announce that our 8 th Annual Holiday Charity Auction, held Thurs., Dec. 8, at Festiva’s headquarters in Asheville, was a huge success. Festiva employees once again worked together to donate more than 250 items, and raised a record-breaking total of $17,950.

All proceeds from Festiva’s auction go to the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministries (ABCCM) to benefit the children of families that are struggling as so many are during this holiday season. This year, the ABCCM focused on helping military families in the Asheville area. As in past years, Festiva will match the $17,950 raised by employees and will put that into the Festiva Charitable Fund, a flexible endowment fund managed by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

"We’re so thrilled that we can help more families than ever this year,” said Sabrina Green, Festiva’s Contracts Supervisor and head of the auction committee. “This event is always heartwarming as it shows how willing our employees are to help those in need, and we are especially blessed that we can do so while the economy is difficult for many."

Festiva would like to extend sincere gratitude to several area businesses who contributed to our auction with their generous donations including: Pepsi Co., Asheville Choral Society, Mona Lisa Food Products, The Star Group Company, Commercial Concepts, Asheville Furniture Showcase, Bouchon, Cloud Surfer Web Consultant Services, Coca-Cola and Budweiser.

This year, some donated items were selected to be part of a silent auction or raffle and were displayed two days prior to the live auction. These items brought in more than $700 before the live auction began.

As a result of the auction, Festiva sponsored 11 families and purchased $10,000 in other toys for ABCCM. With new families signing up each month that have never needed assistance before, the ABCCM needs help from the community more than ever this year. Festiva employees also shopped for the families and toys and delivered everything to the charity on December 15.

Festiva’s Auction Committee, which includes employees from nearly every department in our corporate office,begins planning the event in October of each year. Employees in the corporate office donate the items which include gift baskets, hand-crafted items, gourmet or homemade foods, gift certificates and many other items donated by both individuals and local businesses. Businesses who donate items are often invited to the auction, as are Festiva employees’ families. Several employees from various Festiva resorts and other offices also participate by donating items or attending the auction. Festiva’s Senior Vice President of Sales Rich Hartnett and Regional Sales Director Michael Stacey travel from South Carolina to showcase their sales talents asauctioneers for the event.

To find out more about Festiva Hospitality Group, visit www.festiva.travel.

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Festiva Has Decided on 5 Charities to Donate

ASHEVILLE, Sept. 15, 2011 Festiva Hospitality Group, Inc. has chosen five non-profit organizations to benefit from the Festiva Charitable Fund in 2011. The organizations are based in Asheville and Banner Elk, N.C.; Portland and Rangeley, Maine; and Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Festiva began a flexible endowment fund in 2006 with the intent of providing permanent charitable resources for all the communities where Festiva employees live and work. The primary focus of the Festiva Charitable Fund is to promote education for our youth and eliminate poverty in our communities. The charitable fund is also used to respond to extraordinary global events.

A committee is formed annually to choose organizations that will benefit from the Charitable Fund in that year. Typically, the committee chooses one organization based in Asheville where Festiva’s headquarters are located, and three to four organizations in our resort destinations based on recommendations from our staff in those destinations. The funds will be distributed to these organizations that were researched by the committee and recommended by employees who live and work in the areas.

In Asheville, the committee chose Bus-Pass-It-On, a grassroots initiative formed to address a currently neglected need of the homeless population in Buncombe County: transportation. The initiative’s mission is to reduce and prevent homelessness in Buncombe County by meeting the transportation needs of residents on the verge of or currently experiencing homelessness.

In Banner Elk, N.C., home to Festiva’s Blue Ridge Village resort, the committee selected The Grandfather Home for Children, which has been in existence since 1914 and provides love and healing to more than 600 children and youth annually who have experienced deep hurt and trauma from neglect or abuse that often results in emotional and/or behavioral issues.

In Wisconsin Dells, Wis., where Festiva’s Mirror Lake & Tamarack resorts are located, the committee chose The Kids’ Ranch, an early intervention and prevention program which connects youth, ages 6-10, with community members to build self esteem and self-respect through educational and recreational programs with a focus on literacy.

In Portland, Maine, where Festiva Adventure Club’s primary sales center in the Northeast is located, the committee chose an organization called Preble Street, whose mission is to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems.

In Rangeley, Maine, home of Rangeley Lake Resort, the committee chose the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, dedicated to preserving natural areas, scenic beauty, critical wildlife habitat and the cultural heritage that makes this place so special. The Trust aims to protect all of these features of the area from the mountains, lakes, rivers and forests to the moose, eagles, wild trout and salmon as well as the rich historic traditions of logging and fishing.

The Festiva Charitable Fund is managed by The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and expanding philanthropy. For more information on Festiva Hospitality Group, Inc., the Charitable Fund or The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, visit www.festiva.travel or www.cfwnc.org.

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Festiva Employees Participate in Day of Caring

Asheville- September 1, 2011 – On Thursday, September 1, 19 employees from Festiva Hospitality Group’s corporate office in Asheville, N.C., dedicated half of their day to Hands On Asheville-Buncombe’s Day of Caring. Hands On is a part of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County that provides a link for individuals, families, corporate, and civic or faithbased groups to volunteer in support of nonprofits in Asheville and Buncombe County

This was the fourth year in a row that Festiva has participated in Day of Caring, which allows businesses, individuals and organizations to go out into the community and help local nonprofit organizations with specific projects. Festiva sent a morning group and an afternoon group to the Cornerstone Transitional Living Program home to complete an interior painting project of the entire second floor of the house.

Cornerstone, part of Caring for Children, Inc., is a residence for up to eight young women ages 16 to 21 who have long-term problems, are too old for adoption or whose family situation is such that remaining or returning home is either impossible or would be counterproductive. To learn the skills needed for independent living in the community, each girl follows a program that teaches decision-making, goal setting, household management and money management. The girls also learn skills in health, educational and vocational areas. Throughout the program, the girls are expected to be involved in volunteer work in the community and/or to have regular employment.

To help welcome several expected new residents at the home, Festiva volunteers took over the bathroom, two hallways, two bedrooms, a recreation room and several doors and closets and gave everything several coats of crisp white paint. The improvement made such an impact that the Cornerstone Program Director, Lynn Petersen, sent a gracious thank-you letter to Festiva:

“All of us at Cornerstone want to extend our gratitude for your time and commitment to United Way’s Day of Caring. We appreciate both morning and afternoon painting crews helping to give our girls’ home a much needed freshening. We recognize that your contribution to this project will make an impact in our girls’ and our staff’s experience here. The girls will have brighter, cleaner rooms. Our four staff members will not feel that they must complete an overwhelming task. You all helped us so very much. A heartfelt Thank You to everyone!”

This year’s Day of Caring served several purposes for those who participated. Not only did they demonstrate the hardworking nature of Festiva’s employees by accomplishing all of the tasks planned that day (and more), but they also they made a positive impact on an important non-profit organization in our community.

Festiva’s involvement in Day of Caring was organized by Debbie Shroyer and Tammy Stone. Participating employees: Chuck Lockwood, Corina Violette, Janet Mathis, Nicole Osborne, Robin Bradley, Nicole Jamison, Traci Weisner, Cathy Braddock, Tara Elliott, Kevin Wray, Tammy Bryson, Sara Little, Scott Carson, Ini Eiset, Aaron Hodges Angela Norville, Andie Williams and Mary Anne Craver.

Last year, 19 employees went to Ira B. Jones Elementary school and completed several projects including painting parking, bus drop-off and handicap space lines in several parking lots and assembling and moving 200 student desks.

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Festiva adds Ocean City resort to its expanding family

ASHEVILLE, NC, Aug. 9, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group is pleased to announce that we have purchased the development rights, unsold inventory and management company at Coconut Malorie in Ocean City, Md. Beginning September 1, Festiva Management Group will assume management of the property.

Coconut Malorie will be the newest vacation option for Festiva Adventure Club members, and approximately 1600 weeks owners will be added to Festiva’s member base with this acquisition.

“With this exciting addition to our family of resorts we continue to carry out Festiva’s purpose: We are passionately committed to improving people’s lives by providing a lifetime of travel, vacations and priceless memories,” said Don Clayton, CEO. “We look forward to providing all of those things for both existing and new Festiva members through our relationship with Coconut Malorie.”

An extravagant marble lobby complete with a fountain welcomes guests to this property on the Bay side of the Coastal Highway. Guests can enjoy an on-site billiards room and fitness center located on top of the hotel in the tower with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Isle of Wight Bay and the best sunsets on the east coast. The Oasis Pool Deck is designed for ultimate relaxation with a heated outdoor pool and a whirlpool. Arched and lighted footbridges connect the resort to the restaurant and night life at Fager's Island. The resort offers luxurious accommodations in 85 studio and 1-bedroom suites.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 26 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000. For more information about Festiva, please visit www.festiva.travel.

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Blue Ridge Village in Banner Elk, Renovation Have Been Completed Now.

ASHEVILLE, NC, July 29, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group is happy to announce the completion of ongoing renovations, refurbishments and new construction at the Blue Ridge Village resort in Banner Elk, N.C. These updates improve the long-term quality of the resort for all Festiva members and resort guests, and are part of a large improvement project taking place at several properties throughout Festiva’s network of resorts.

In 2008 Festiva began renovations at the Blue Ridge Village, taking it one building at a time. Improvements to the units included replacing all soft goods such as furniture, window treatments and bedding, replacing all cabinets, countertops and appliances in the kitchens, installing new televisions, replacing lighting and bathroom fixtures and updating the décor.

While renovations to units are ongoing, several other improvements to shared amenities and common areas began near the end of 2010 and have been completed, or are nearly finished. These updates are completely funded by Festiva Hospitality Group at no cost to our owners, members or guests. In 2010, free wireless internet was installed in all units and throughout the resort. This amenity has been installed at 11 Festiva resorts to date, and will be available in all managed resorts by the end of 2011.

Improvements to common areas include renovations to the pool area and the addition of a new spa, a repainted basketball court with a new adjustable goal, resurfaced tennis courts with new covered benches and new carpeting and landscaping at the mini-golf course. Additions to the resort’s grounds include new landscaping with a water feature, fire pit and pavilion complete with a large gas grill for guests to enjoy.

One of the most exciting additions to the property at Blue Ridge Village is the start of new construction for Phase III of the resort. This will consist of luxurious stand-alone log cabins that will be located on previously undeveloped land on the property. Active front-line sales began this week in one of these completed cabins, and there is a second cabin that has been completed and is currently used as a model unit for members and guests to view while the remaining cabins are constructed.

We have received wonderful feedback from our guests on the improvements that have been made to date, and we are thrilled about the value we are adding to our properties for all of our members and guests. For more information and photos visit www.fesiva-blueridge.com or www.facebook.com/FestivaHospitalityGroup.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 25 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000. For more information visit www.festiva.travel.

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Festiva’s Blue Ridge Village Named as One of the Top-Ranked Hotels on Expedia® Insiders’ Select™ List

Banner Elk, NC - May 05, 2011 – Expedia® has named Festiva Hospitality Group’s Blue Ridge Village among the top-ranked hotels on this year’s Expedia Insiders’ Select™ list. The Insiders’ Select list formally recognizes individual hotels worldwide that consistently deliver excellent service, a great overall experience and a notable value. The full list represents only 500 of Expedia’s top-ranked hotels selected from the more than 130,000 properties offered by Expedia®, the world’s largest online travel company.

“Delivering our guests superior service is a top priority at Blue Ridge Village and at all of Festiva’s properties,” said Scott Styron, Festiva’s Vice President of Resort Operations. "We are pleased that our efforts have been acknowledged by Expedia travelers and we look forward to extending our high level of service to even more guests."

The 2011 Expedia Insiders’ Select™ list is compiled based on the more than 500,000 annual Guest Reviews collected by Expedia, combined with a value rating and the local market expertise of more than 500 Expedia employees in local markets worldwide, resulting in an easy-to-browse list that provides travelers with a powerful way to find the perfect hotel using the trusted insight of other travelers like them. The list showcases the diverse selection of travel destinations and hotel properties.

For more information, visit www.expedia.com/insidersselect.

A perfect place to get away from the everyday grind, Blue Ridge Village is set in the woods of Banner Elk where you can unwind, relax and breathe in the clean mountain air. Whether you are a hiker, sightseer or shopper, you will have plenty to do around the resort. The resort’s one, two and three-bedroom condo-style units offer all of the comforts of home with fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms with fireplaces and sofabeds and spacious bedrooms and bathrooms. On-site amenities include a fishing pond, mini-golf course, indoor pool and hot tub, basketball courts, tennis courts, barbecue grills and hiking trails.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 25 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000.

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Main Street Inn & Spa was honored with AAA's prestigious Four Diamond

April 27, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group is proud to announce that the Main Street Inn & Spa on Hilton Head Island, S.C. was recently honored with AAA’s prestigious Four Diamond rating. Only four percent of more than 31,000 select properties in North America receive this distinction.

Festiva’s Main Street Inn & Spa has won several awards from respected travel publications throughout the years including the Fodor’s Choice award for 2008, 2009 and 2010, and The Island Packet’s Reader’s Choice Award for 2009 and 2010. This boutique property also received Expedia’s Insiders’ Select Award for 2008 and 2009. The Main Street Inn & Spa has also been featured in the following publications: Southern Living, Modern Bride, South Carolina Homes & Gardens, Tennis, Go Carolinas, Delta Sky Miles and CH2.

“We are proud to have received the Four Diamond designation from AAA,” said Denise Hatcher, general manager of Main Street Inn & Spa. “Our staff works hard to maintain the grounds as well as the rooms and to uphold the highest quality of customer service so that each guest feels like they are coming home from the moment they first make contact with us.”

Several factors make this property unique and special enough to catch the attention of so many publications. Luxurious rooms with balconies overlooking a European-inspired courtyard along with a full hot breakfast included each morning are just a start. An onsite spa with options for guests to fully relax and enjoy treatments in the comfort of their rooms is an added bonus. A staff that is attentive to guests’ every need is perhaps what helps the inn stand out among similar accommodations.

The Main Street Inn & Spa is managed and operated by Festiva Management Group, a subsidiary of Festiva Hospitality Group. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Management Group is a full service professional management company specializing in resort operation and owner servicing to vacation ownership resorts

Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 26 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000.

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Festiva Hospitality Group Brings in Goats to Help Remove Invasive Vegetation.

April 19, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group has announced that they will be taking a step to make their Asheville-based home office at historic Zealandia more eco-friendly. This summer, 30 goats will call Zealandia home for 30 days as they help clear approximately 3 acres of land.

These goats will be rented from Wells Farm in Horse Shoe, N.C. According to the farm’s website, they “work to provide an environmentally safe method for clearing areas containing invasive vegetation. Controlled herd grazing provides an ecologically sustainable method of land management.”

The goats’ main target will be the invasive Kudzu that is at its peak growth during the summer months, and can be nearly impossible to control. The steep hills that roll down from the office itself make it even more difficult to control with either manpower or lawn equipment, and bringing the goats in to do what they do best makes the most sense logistically and economically and is also environmentally responsible.

“While this is a small and simple step to take in lessening our carbon footprint, it will hopefully set an example for our employees in Asheville as well as those at our 26 resorts throughout the country. We want to get people thinking about small changes in our daily lives that will not only help the company save money and become more efficient, but that also has a positive impact on the local community and the environment,” said Don Clayton, Festiva’s CEO and founder.

Based in Asheville, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of 26 hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in five destinations in the Caribbean, Cancun and Greece.

Festiva employs nearly 300 people in Asheville, and nearly 1000 in the U.S. and Caribbean. For more information, visit www.festiva.travel.

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Festiva Announces Employee Stock Ownership Plan Program

ASHEVILLE, NC, April 15, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group is happy to announce that beginning in 2010, it initiated an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This plan, which has been designed and installed by Menke & Associates, will benefit Festiva employees and the company as a whole.

Since 1974 Menke & Associates has structured over 2,500 ESOPs, reaching all 50 states. They provide all the services needed to design and install an ESOP, including Structuring, Legal & Tax Compliance, Valuation, Documentation, Employee Communication, and Administration.

There are several purposes for Festiva’s new ESOP. One is to ensure that the company remains in good hands in the coming years. As our founders, Don Clayton and Butch Patrick, get closer to retirement age, they feel strongly that the longtime employees who have helped bring Festiva to where it is today have an opportunity to share in the company’s future success. The ESOP also provides a long-term retirement plan for employees, by using money coming from the company’s profits rather than individual employees’ paychecks.

This is a very exciting step for Festiva’s current shareholders and for all employees as we grow and mature. The ESOP enhances Festiva’s ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees. It also benefits Festiva’s members and resort guests as it encourages even further employee involvement in areas such as productivity improvement and enhancing customer service.

An ESOP operates through a trust to which a company sells part or all of its stock. The employees are beneficiaries of the trust. When an employee leaves the company, his interest in the trust is dissolved, usually by the trust buying his stock. The employee then gets the cash while the trust retains control of the stock.

Based in Asheville, N.C., Festiva Hospitality Group operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 26 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000. Festiva employs nearly 1000 people in eight states and the Caribbean.

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Festiva Hospitality Group donates kayak to Atlantic Beach Junior Lifeguard Program

Atlantic Beach, NC - April 6, 2011 - On Monday, March 28, at the Atlantic Beach Fire Department, Dave Jones from Festiva Hospitality Group presented Fire Chief Adam Snyder a check for the purchase of a Frenzy Ocean Kayak to be used in this summer’s upcoming Atlantic Beach Junior Lifeguard Program.

The week-long program, which teaches local children advance swimming skills and ocean rescue, enjoyed such a successful first year they decided to expand from 40 children to a total of 94, creating a need to also expand the program’s curriculum.

“We received such positive feedback from the community that this year we decided to add to the number of sessions as well as integrate ocean kayaking skills,” said Chief Snyder. “The Atlantic Beach Volunteer Fire Department donated two of the three kayaks we were seeking, and that’s where Festiva stepped in.”

Dave Jones, Project Director for Festiva’s Atlantic Beach Sales operations, saw an opportunity to give back to the community when he heard the fire department was in need of a third kayak.

“Last year my 12-year-old daughter attended the program and thoroughly enjoyed it. It also helps protect our guests by having more eyes on the beach,” said Jones. “By donating the kayak we feel like we are helping make our beach safer for everyone and it was just the right thing to do.”

Chief Snyder echoes the sentiment.

“With a population of around 45 thousand in the peak months our 14 full-time lifeguards cannot see everything. Once these children finish the program they become like first responders and can identify and rescue someone in trouble which is beneficial to the people who come here and visit us.”

The kayaks and children can be seen in action along Atlantic Beach from June 13-17 and June 27 through July 1. All sessions are already filled for the 2011 season so anyone interested in next year’s program should be sure to register early.

About Festiva Hospitality Group

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean.

Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 25 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000. For more information please visit www.festiva.travel.

About Atlantic Beach Junior Lifeguard Program

The Atlantic Beach Junior Lifeguard Program was created to:

  • Provide an educational and recreational environment to instruct young people on how to handle themselves safely in a variety of open water situations.
  • To educate participants in skills necessary to assist others in an emergency situation
  • To help participants build a sense of teamwork and self respect that will be an asset to future endeavors.
  • To increase the awareness of our young people on the vital part the environment plays in all our lives.

For more information on the Junior Lifeguard Program visit www.atlanticbeach-nc.com or call Fire Chief Snyder at 252-726-7361.

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Renovations Begin This Spring

March 28, 2011 - Festiva Hospitality Group has announced that renovations will begin this spring in all 24 units at the Paradise Harbour Club & Marina in Paradise Island, Bahamas. These improvements will update the units and improvethe quality of accommodations for all guests at Festiva’s boutique property

The improvements are scheduled to take place between May 14 and June 18, during which time the resort will close to ensure that the refurbishments are completed quickly and efficiently. Improvements to all units at the resort include:

  • All new soft goods including sofas, chairs and patio furniture.
  • All case goods including nightstands, tables, dressers, armoires, headboards, kitchen cabinets and counter tops
  • All appliances will be replaced with new energy efficient models.
  • Shutters will be used to replace drapery at sliding glass doors as well as new drapery in bedrooms, etc
  • All artwork will be replaced
  • All faucets will be replaced in kitchen and baths.
  • Lighting package will also be replaced
  • All bedspreads, skirts and accent pillows will also be replaced

In addition to these improvements, Wi-fi internet will be installed throughout all units and public areas of the resort in 2011.

The Paradise Harbour Club & Marina is a collection of king-size hotel rooms, full-size junior suites, and oneand two-bedroom apartments. Daily shuttle service is provided for guests to downtown Nassau’s Straw Market, Cabbage Beach and the Atlantis Resort & Casino. Fishing poles, board games, a small book exchange, beach umbrellas, beach lounge chairs and bicycles for adults and children are available for guests through the resort’s front desk. The Columbus Tavern, Paradise Island’s only open-air fine dining harbour-front restaurant, is located directly on the property. This property is a great choice for those who want the freedom of a private residence with the facilities of a large resort.

Paradise Harbour Club & Marina is part of the Festiva Hospitality Group family of resorts. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva Sailing Vacations, a Festiva company that operates the Festiva Cruise Club, charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts in the Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 25 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000.

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Festiva Resorts Complaints Resolved by New Web Presence

Feb. 21, 2011 - The latest Festiva Adventure Club complaints resolution effort (www.festivacomplaints.com) has helped to open new lines of communication between the company and its guests. The site is set up to handle issues at a corporate level, as well as individual Festiva resorts complaints.

Festiva Hospitality Group and Festiva Adventure Club recently launched a new web presence, Festiva Complaints Resolution Center, aimed at resolving online Festiva Resorts complaints and providing information to owners and guests trying to resolve their various Festiva complaints. Festiva has experienced an immediate positive reaction from its resort guests who have used the new service.

"Since the launch of the Festiva Resorts Complaints Resolution site we have seen an overall decrease of complaints submitted to third-party websites as our customers are finding that when they contact us directly, their issues are resolved much faster and more effectively than when they submit their complaints to a third-party site that offers no resolution," says Sara Little, Festiva's Director of Corporate Communications.

One of the most significant accomplishments of the new site is the facilitated direction of complaints to the proper departments within the company for quicker resolution and away from false "Festiva scam" websites which were set up in the past to masquerade as the company's complaints department.

Little explains, "We realized several years ago that in order to keep up with the fastpaced and ever-changing world of the internet, and specifically social media, we need to actively participate in the online conversations that are already taking place within our industry. We have since taken several steps to utilize various forms of technology to improve customer service and communication with our owners and guests, and festivacomplaints.com is the latest tool we are using to reach out to our web- savvy customers."

Festiva Hospitality Group and Festiva Adventure Club's family of resorts include a wide range of properties across the U.S. and Caribbean, including a fleet of luxury yachts. Festiva resorts include such premium properties as the Church Street Inn, the Atrium Resort, and Ellington at Wachesaw Plantation East.

Visit Festiva Complaints Resolution Center at http://www.festivacomplaints.com.

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Joins the RCI Network of Affiliated Resorts

Asheville, NC – November 12, 2010 - Festiva Sailing Vacations Western Caribbean OF Asheville, NC JOINS THE RCI NETWORK OF AFFILIATED RESORTS

Festiva Hospitality Group today announced that Festiva Sailing Vacations’ Western Caribbean destination in Cancun has affiliated with RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and one of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands.

Festiva Sailing Vacations charters all-inclusive luxury catamaran yachts throughout the Caribbean in the British Virgin Islands, St. John, Cancun, St. Maarten and the Bahamas. The Festiva Cruise Club, the membership division of Festiva Sailing Vacations, offers members access to charter vacations on any of the luxury yachts within Festiva Sailing Vacations' fleet. Members enjoy 12 to 36 charter week vacations and have the option to choose a new destination each time they sail. They also can take advantage of special charter pricing for friends and family, and enjoy all the benefits associated with membership within the Festiva family of resorts.

The Festiva Cruise Club provides the ultimate option for those who love the excitement and relaxation of luxury, crewed yacht vacations without the hassles and costs associated with yacht ownership.

"We are very excited to bring our members the opportunities that RCI offers," said Tammy Stone, Reservations Manager for Festiva Sailing Vacations. "RCI offers its members access to over 4,000 terrific vacation resorts around the world, including everything from campgrounds to castles. We’re glad we could provide this service to our community."

About Festiva Hospitality Group

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Festiva Hospitality Group manages and operates a dynamic collection of hotels and resorts in some of the most sought-after destinations throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Caribbean. Festiva currently has more than 60,000 members among 27 vacation ownership resorts and five Festiva Cruise Club destinations. The number of members in the Festiva Adventure Club exceeds 20,000. Throughout Festiva’s milestone 10th year anniversary in 2010, the company continues to focus on providing the highest level of customer service and the best quality of vacation experiences to all owners, members and guests.

About RCI

RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and the world’s largest full-service vacation rentals business, providing access to more than 85,000 vacation properties in approximately 100 countries. The vacation exchange business includes RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange and provider of travel services to businesses and consumers, and The Registry Collection® program, the world’s largest luxury exchange program. The vacation rentals business includes Hoseasons, cottages4you, Novasol® , Cuendet®, Landal GreenParks®, ResortQuest®, Endless Vacation Rentals® and other renowned vacation rental brands through which vacationers can rent a variety of property types, from city apartments to villas. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation is one of the world’s argest hospitality companies with leading brands in lodging franchising, vacation ownership, vacation rentals and vacation exchange. For additional information visit our media center.

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