November 29, 2006

Last Friday, the Transportation Security Administration gave Clear formal approval as a service provider for the national rollout of the Registered Traveler program, which will allow air passengers to pay to pass through an express security line. According to Verified Identity Pass, the New York City-based parent company of Clear, the approval was the first from the TSA. "It's another important milestone as we continue to lead the industry in processing enrollments and finish construction of our verification lanes at JFK, San Jose (Calif.), Indianapolis and Cincinnati," said Steven Brill, Clear's CEO. "Those four airports are where, along with the extension of our initial pilot program in Orlando, we will begin our national rollout next month."

The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, will reopen Dec. 4, 15 months after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. More than $100 million has been invested in the renovation that includes a new club level in what was a separate Ritz-Carlton property, The Maison Orleans; a new restaurant called M}lange, and a new meeting area on the first floor measuring 8,000 square feet. In total, the 452-room property will have 35,000 square feet of meeting space; the spa's lobby, gym and caf} will reopen in March.

Officials at the Dubai World Trade Center in the United Arab Emirates announced yesterday they will build Dubai Exhibition World, a $2 billion convention center, next to the emirates' new international airport, which opens in 2007. The first phase of the project, to include 19 connected halls with 1.3 million square feet of exhibit space, will open in mid-2009. When finished, the venue will offer more than 3.2 million square feet of space, as well as 2,000 hotel rooms spread out among several hotels. The existing convention center, the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, will be unaffected; it has 600,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives has launched a new research arm, the International SITE Foundation. The new body replaces the SITE Foundation, which in May became an independent entity called the Incentive Research Foundation, serving the entire incentive industry. The International SITE Foundation's first fund-raising event will be the Incentive Classic, a "golf and lifestyle event" at the Pebble Beach Resorts in Monterey, Calif., Dec. 4 to 6, 2007, in conjunction with SITE's International Conference.

The Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center Portland - Lloyd Center in Portland, Ore., has earned a Green Seal GS-33 Lodging Sustainability certification for its enhanced environmental standards. To earn the seal, the 476-room hotel installed more energy-efficient fixtures and lighting, altered its handling of food waste and began educating staff on improving sustainability. The hotel, which has 46,000 square feet of meeting space, will host the national conference of the Green Meeting Industry Council in February.    

Joseph Marinelli, CDME, has been named president of the Savannah (Ga.) Convention & Visitors Bureau. Marinelli comes to Savannah from Columbus, Ohio, where he was senior vice president, sales, at Experience Columbus, the city's convention and visitors bureau.