May 30, 2007

Mary Power, president of the Convention Industry Council, has resigned, effective immediately. "My decision to leave has not been an easy one, but I am very proud of what we've been able to accomplish during my time as president," she said in a statement. During Power's tenure, the CIC's Certified Meeting Professional program has grown from 2,000 credentialed planners to more than 12,000 CMPs today. She also helped initiate the Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) initiative, which is developing standards by which all meetings industry members can improve efficiency. Management of the organization will continue to be provided by Management Options Inc. Powers will assist in the transition. No timeline has been set yet for finding her replacement.

The upscale Hotel ZaZa in Houston's downtown museum district will begin accepting guests on June 4. Like its Dallas sister, the 300-room property features the over-the-top Magnificent Seven Suites, eight one-of-a-kind enclaves here named Rock Star, Black Label, Tycoon, For Your Eyes Only, Fatal Charms, Bella Vita, It Happened One Night and Outlaw. The property also offers the 10,000-square-foot ZaSpa and about 17,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 448-room Westin Guangzhou opened yesterday in China's Tian He District. The property offers 13,000 square feet of meeting space. Another Starwood property, the 346-room Sheraton Guiyang Hotel, has opened in the Forest City of Guiyang, China. The hotel has about 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 1,100-room Hyatt Regency O'Hare has completed the first phase of a $60 million transformation, renovating all public spaces and the property's 110,000 square feet of meeting space, and adding a conference center with 17 breakout rooms. The second phase of the project, a guest-room renovation, will begin and be completed next year.

The number of passenger flights between the United States and China on U.S.-operated airlines will more than double over the next five years, according to a civil aviation agreement reached last week between the two countries. The deal allows 13 new daily flights to China on U.S. carriers by 2012, bringing the daily total to 23 flights. Three U.S. airlines not currently authorized to fly to China will be granted access to the market. The Department of Transportation will give away one of the three slots this year and the remaining two in 2009. American, Continental, Northwest and United airlines currently provide service to China.

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events announced last week that it will form a Green Committee. It aims to be an industry resource on environmental issues and will develop best practices for minimizing the environmental impact of exhibitions and events. Jim Kelley, director of sales for ICAT Logistics, will chair the committee. IAEE currently is searching for volunteer committee members.

A 206-room W Hotel will be built in downtown Providence, R.I., according to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. The hotel will be part of a residential tower going up on Westminster Street, near City Hall. A spokesperson for the developer, BlueChip Properties LLC, said the company hopes to break ground on the project in the next few weeks, but further details about the hotel's design are not ready to be released. According to the Providence Journal, the property will include 15,000 square feet of meeting space, a full-service spa and fitness center, and three restaurants.

MGM Mirage has formed MGM Mirage Hospitality, a new corporate division focused on extending the company's hotel brands and developing new luxury hotel brands. The division currently is exploring sites in Beijing, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

The board of directors of Hilton Hotels Corp. has chosen Matthew J. Hart, the company's president and COO, to be president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2008. Hart, who was elected to the company's board last January, is replacing Stephen F. Bollenbach, who will retire on Dec. 31 but will continue as co-chairman of the board and serve as an employee consultant. Hart will be only the fourth CEO in the company's nearly 90-year history.