February 08, 2006

The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives has launched the group's first regional office, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The new office will serve as the organization's presence in Europe, where 33 percent of SITE's members are based. Carolyn Dow, a former president of SITE, has been appointed as its director. The association will launch other regional offices later this year, all in accordance with a long-term strategic plan. "As a global organization, it is so important for us to have multiple locations to serve the ever-changing needs of our membership," said SITE CEO Brenda Anderson. "As a past president, Carolyn Dow especially understands the needs of our members. Her background and experience in the incentive and travel industry make her perfect for this position."

The 290,000-square-foot Fort Washington Expo Center in Fort Washington, Pa., near Valley Forge, has been sold and will close in mid-June for conversion to offices. The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau and the center's general manager, Ken Safarowic, have identified buildings that could serve as replacements when the current facility closes. The criteria for replacement: "It's got to have four walls, a roof, comfort facilities, loading docks and drive-in doors," said Valley Forge CVB president Paul Decker. "Manufacturing, distribution and warehousing buildings all need the same things."

Ground was broken last week for a 90-story high-rise condo hotel project encompassing the 200-room Shangri-La Hotel, Chicago, and 233 residential condominiums plus a spa, a 24-hour fitness club, a business center and a ballroom that will seat 250 people. The hotel is due to be completed in 2009.

StarCite Inc. announced a partnership on Monday with WorldTravel Meetings & Incentives. Through the agreement, WTMI will implement StarCite's meetings management technology internally and for customer use, including a registration tool and an end-to-end platform for strategic meetings management. Customers also will be able to submit online requests for proposal through the StarCite Marketplace, which provides access to more than 77,000 suppliers worldwide.

The 280-room Hesperia Tower Hotel & Convention Center in Barcelona, Spain, will open this weekend. The luxury hotel, one of the tallest buildings in the city, offers four floors of executive-level rooms and 50,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 1,600 people in a separate conference center. Several restaurants are on site, and a new rooftop, glass-domed eatery will open in April.

The Convention Industry Council announced last week the appointment of two officers to its board. John H. Graham IV, CAE, president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives, has been named vice chair; Eric Allen, executive vice president of the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association and vice president of the Kellen Co., has been named delegate at large. Thomas M. Mobley, Jr., senior vice president, convention centers at Global Spectrum, will again be the chair of the board. Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, president of Concepts Worldwide, will replace Mickey Schaefer, CAE, of Mickey Schaefer & Associates LLC, as chair of the APEX Commission. To ease the transition, Schaefer will serve as a consultant for four months. Regarding the request for proposal for the CIC's future management, the board has made it a requirement for responding groups to include current president and CEO Mary Power, CAE, as part of the management team.