Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: April/May 2009
Texas Gold Special
By: Patricia Ann Jordan

Try Texas, again! That's the word to meeting planners, from Convention and Visitors' Bureaus across the Lone Star state. Texas' urban cities feature world-class attractions, hotels, resorts, dining and shopping, plus festivals year-round and a vast number of historical attractions. For those looking for a more relaxed setting, there are lots of smaller towns where attendees can experience country inns, state and national parks, dude ranches or bed-and-breakfast stays. Yep, in Texas there are enough choices to fit diverse individual needs.

The Texas Department of Tourism has created a Texas Tour & Meeting Guide jam-packed with useful information to help you plan your next meeting or convention. If the key to a successful meeting is location, Texas wants you to know it has it covered. The "Big" state is known for some of its world-class convention facilities, hotels, resorts, dining and shopping.

Black Meetings & Tourism presents the following cities as prime choices for your next big or small meeting:

ARLINGTON

Excitement is Building in FUN CENTRAL Arlington, Texas. The new Dallas Cowboys stadium will open Summer 2009 and host Super Bowl XLV, 2011.

Arlington enjoys a well deserved state and regional positive reputation for the meetings market. The Convention Center has a 48,600-sq. ft. column free exhibit hall.

The newly built Holiday Inn Arlington, 10 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, offers 2,400 sq. ft. of meeting and event space.

Six Flags Over Texas had its opening day February 28th with a new coaster, Tony Hawk's Big Spin, and Hurricane Harbor has added a new ride, Mega-Wedgie.

More information? Call (800) 433-5374 or visit www.arlington.org

AUSTIN

Austin caters to a diverse audience of music fans, art aficionados, history buffs, sports enthusiasts, politicos and more. As the city's popularity as a travel and meetings destination grows, so does the demand for entertainment, new attractions and distinct accommodations. Austin answers the demand with new hotels, museums, restaurants and retail projects.

Now Open: Bass Concert Hall at the University of Texas Performing Arts Center. The University's flagship 3,000-seat theater has completed a $14.7 million renovation. This new glass facade has a five-story, light-filled lobby with an elegant restaurant and has new seating and flooring, state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and other updates.

The Lance Armstrong Bikeway is under construction. The long anticipated bikeway will enable bicyclists to travel east and west on a dedicated route through downtown. The path consists of a combination of off-street concrete trails, on-street striped bike lanes, and on-street signed bike routes. The Long Center for Performing Arts, a world-class facility, continues to provide a permanent, acoustically perfect performance space and meeting area.

The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art has more than 17,000 works of as part of the collection at the nation's largest university art museum. Located on campus at the University of Texas, it showcases American, contemporary Latin American and European art. The second phase of construction, the Edgar A. Smith Building, opens this fall and includes an auditorium, lecture hall, café, bookstore and outdoor gardens and plaza.

Kimber Modern, a European-style bed-and-breakfast features seven modern guestrooms located just off South Congress Avenue, is now open. It's within walking distance of eclectic dining, vintage shopping and live music. Urban design, natural light and do-it-yourself amenities cater to urban travelers, who enjoy everything from keyless entry to wireless Internet and iPod docks in each room. Centered around an expansive patio, the Kimber Modern is ideal for meeting gatherers.

Hotel Saint Cecilia, a boutique 14-room hotel just off South Congress Avenue, in Austin's hippest neighborhood, was named in honor of the patron saint of music. This hotel offers private bungalows, a new pool and modern lounge.

AT&T's Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas, the newest meeting facility on the University of Texas campus, includes a 300-seat amphitheatre, 800-seat divisible ballroom, classrooms, conference rooms and breakout rooms. The center will house 297 guestrooms and three dining outlets.

Austin is excited about several new hotels in progress - the Westin, an 18-story, 300-room hotel in Austin's popular Warehouse District with 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; the Block 21/W Hotel project - A W Hotel anchored by 200 luxury condominiums, studios and a nightclub, co-owned by Willie Nelson; and a Marriott Hotel Complex housing two Marriott-branded hotels. This project will add 1,000 rooms to the downtown hotel package and will serve as a convention center hotel. Together, the hotels include 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and two large ballrooms.

The Austin Convention Center offers nearly 900,000 total sq. ft. More than 290,000 sq. ft. is devoted to exhibit space and can accommodate 1,600 booths.

Contact (800) 926-2282 or www.austintexas.org.


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