Impact Publications : MiceBTN_60
MICEBTN - AUGUST 2015 • Page 73 Strong demand for unusual riverbank venue ThE newly-upgraded and extended Woodside events area at the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf is proving to be a winner for the hotel, thanks partly to its unusual combination of fully enclosed and partly outdoor. As general manager Craig Bonnor said at the opening earlier in the year, this is a bespoke area designed to be in full tune with its environment. “We didn’t want to just be IN Woodside but also want- ed to involve the outside.” That outside is full of colour and appeal. The hotel complex is, as its name signals, sited on a former Yarra River working wharf with restaurants, bars, the historic sailing ship Polly Woodside (from which the revamped ground floor meetings and functions space derives its name), bridges to the CBD, riverside apartment blocks and shops, the Southbank precinct and the Arts Centre close by along the river. Also adjacent is the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Hilton Melbourne South Wharf is, because of this siting and its own facilities, very attuned to MICE sector needs and is often booked heavily in conjunction with events. Its edge-of-CBD locale also positions it strongly for general busi- ness travellers. The Woodside rooms are partnered by a stylish new restaurant and bar, Dock 37 Bar and Kitchen. On the web: www.hiltonmelbourne.com.au US CBP introduces ‘mobile’ screening of departing (non-US citizen) air passengers US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun testing an enhanced mobile device to collect biometric data from a limited number of foreign national air trav- ellers departing the United States at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Officers will compare biometrics collected via a handheld device to the biometrics collected when the traveller entered the United States. During testing, CBP officers will be stationed at the passenger loading bridge of selected flights departing the United States with a handheld biometric device. CBP officers will scan selected foreign national air travellers’ fingerprints and passports using the device. The travellers’ data will be matched to the data col- lected when they entered the United States and then stored in secure data systems managed by the Depart- ment of Homeland Security. The project is one of several initiatives CBP is working on to address a US government mandate to bio-metrically record the departure of foreign visi- tors. The project will test the feasibility of using an enhanced handheld mobile device to collect biometric exit data from foreign national air travellers and to con- duct law enforcement queries that will be used during inspections of foreign national travellers departing the United States. Only non-US citizens are included in the testing, which will expand later this year to coverChi- cago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles. The project will run through June 2016. This biometric capability has the potential to en- hance existing outbound mobile enforcement teams and ensure the departure of a foreign national traveller from the United States through biometric verification. After the testing, CBP will analyse the information collected and use the results to help determine future plans for biometric exit. CBP’s Entry/Exit strategy includes three core pillars: Identify and close the biographic gaps and enhance the entry-exit system; perform targeted biometric opera- tions and transform the entry/exit process through the use of emerging biometric technologies. Currently, CBP relies on biometric screening - dig- ital fingerprints and photos - to secure borders and ensure that foreign travellers presenting themselves for admission to the United States are who they claim to be.