News briefs, week of Dec. 5, 2016

Chao is choice to head Transportation Dept.

Elaine Chao, a former labor secretary and the first Asian-American woman to serve in a president's Cabinet, is president-elect Donald Trump's choice to serve as his secretary of transportation. Chao, 63, served as Labor Department secretary under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009 and also served under George H.W. Bush as deputy secretary of transportation from 1989 to 1991. She is the wife of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Sabre OKs virtual card payments for air
Sabre and its payment partner, Conferma, have enabled the Sabre Virtual Payment solution for airline tickets. The tool is available to agents in the Sabre Red Workspace. The integration enables agents to generate virtual cards in the payment process. That option will be listed along with previously existing payment methods: credit cards, cash and checks.

Marriott's Tribute adds hotel in Bali
Marriott International's Tribute Portfolio has its first new property in the collection: Sthala, a 143-room hotel in the town of Ubud on Bali. The hotel features a rooftop lounge, a yoga deck and stone and wood carvings by local craftsmen.

Historical Beijing hotel is reflagged
Nuo Hotels, the luxury hotel partnership between Kempinski and the state-owned Beijing Tourism Group, has reflagged the 101-year-old Raffles Beijing. The 171-room Beijing Hotel Nuo opened as the Beijing Hotel in 1915. It had been a part of the Raffles chain since 2006.

Shangri-La, Taj form loyalty partnership
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces reached an agreement to allow for reciprocal benefits for loyalty program members, starting in March. Taj InnerCircle members will be able to redeem awards and convert points at Shangri-La's 95 hotels, while Shangri-La Golden Circle members will be eligible to do the same at Taj's 100 hotels. The companies have 6 million loyalty members combined.

Seabourn accepts delivery of Encore
Seabourn has taken delivery of its newest ship, the 600-passenger Seabourn Encore, in a ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente, Italy. The ship will be christened on Jan. 7 in Singapore, and the inaugural sailing will be a 10-day Indonesia cruise.

Work is underway on PortMiami Terminal F
Construction has begun on PortMiami's Terminal F, which will be expanded and renovated to accommodate the 4,140-passenger MSC Seaside, due to enter service next December. Terminal F will also be home to the MSC Divina. Miami-Dade County is funding the project, which will enable the terminal to manage embarkation loads of up to 6,000 passengers.

United adds D.C. flight to Turks and Caicos
United Airlines will launch nonstop Saturday service between Washington Dulles and Turks and Caicos on Dec. 17. The seasonal service will run through April 29.

Friends & Colleagues
Peter Roth has been named area vice president of luxury and lifestyle brands for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts as well as general manager of the Park Hyatt New York, the brand's flagship hotel. Roth has spent a decade with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, most recently working with its corporate support team as vice president of operational experiences for the Park, Andaz, Centric and Unbound Collection brands. He has served as general manager at the Park Hyatt Chicago, the Grand Hyatt Moscow and the Grand Hyatt Santiago in Chile. • • • The Travel Corp., parent company of Lion World Travel and 29 other brands, promoted a trio of key players in its adventure division. Lucille Sive has been promoted to the company's Africa Division CEO, and former Contiki Holidays Canada president Brad Ford has been appointed president of Lion World Travel. Sive had been at the helm of luxury safari operator Lion World Travel for more than 30 years. Ford has spent two decades as a travel industry executive, the last six heading Contiki Canada. Also receiving a promotion was longtime Lion World Travel executive Leeann Phayre-Mallo, who will serve as director of product and operations. • • • Mark Morrison has been named the vice president of owner strategy and services at Expedia Inc. Most recently, Morrison had been advising and investing in startups in the travel industry. Before that, he led corporate strategy at Hilton Worldwide for eight years. He has also held roles in hotel asset management, development and financial operations. • • • Andres Pichardo Rosenberg has been named president of Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic, replacing Rafael Torres in that post. Pichardo most recently was responsible for Occidental operations in Mexico as part of the merger between Barcelo Hotels & Resorts and Occidental Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his Occidental positions, he was involved with the repositioning of the Puntacana Resort & Club in the D.R., from 2000 to 2002.


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