Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: September/October 2010
Great Meetings Come Naturally Here

Located midway between New York and Florida, Virginia is the gateway to the South. It is also sometimes classified in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Commonwealth is bordered by Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, and Maryland to the north; the Atlantic Ocean to the east; North Carolina and Tennessee to the south; and West Virginia and Kentucky to the west.

The creative “Virginia is For Lovers” campaign has branded the Old Dominion State as a place for those who love life, love fun and love the beautiful gifts of Mother Nature. What’s becoming more evident with each passing year is that Virginia is also the place for planners who love to organize great meetings!


Having long enjoyed being a premier vacation destination, Virginia Beach is now a top choice for the meetings and conventions industry. The East Coast resort city offers the excitement of a large metropolitan area, nestled in the mild climate of a rich coastal atmosphere.

Center stage is the new $202.5 million Virginia Beach Convention Center, offering over 500,000 gross sq. ft. of flexible meeting space including a 150,000-sq. ft. columnfree exhibit hall, 28,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 31,000- sq. ft. ballroom with LED lighting. Proudly certified by Virginia Green which promotes environmentally-friendly practices, the facility offers competitive rates, 2,230 free parking spaces and is just blocks from the Virginia Beach oceanfront.

Young girls enjoying their stay at Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel (Photo Credit: Virginia Beach CVB)

Additionally, Virginia Beach boasts a variety of other unique venues for a themed event or special dinner. The new Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, located at Town Center, is a 1,300-seat performance venue hosting performing artists of regional and national acclaim. For a truly grand affair, meeting planners can host an evening reception in the Sandler’s grand lobby, with sweeping staircases and an exquisite chandelier providing an elegant backdrop. Or, stroll through the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, which can accommodate 350 guests, and enjoy exhibitions from international artists. Explore the ocean depths at the Virginia Aquarium during an evening reception for 2,000. The aquarium is home to 700,000 gallons of aquariums, 300 interactive exhibits and an IMAX theatre.

Virginia Beach boasts 12,000 hotel rooms citywide and 3,500 committable rooms within a two-mile radius of the Convention Center. New properties include a Spring Hill Suites by Marriott at the Virginia Beach oceanfront and a Westin located at the Virginia Beach Town Center. Many of these properties also offer meeting space.

This seaside resort’s mild climate year-round adds to Virginia Beach’s appeal as the perfect meeting destination for every season. In the fall and spring shoulder season, Virginia Beach offers reduced hotel rates and unique activities such as whale watching. So after the meeting, tee up on award-winning golf courses, kayak through a wildlife refuge, charter a fishing boat and relax at a spa.

Virginia Beach offers a variety of sports, fitness and outdoor activities for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. A number of outfitters teach surf lessons and surf camps geared for enthusiasts of all ages. For outdoor enthusiasts, Virginia Beach boasts more than 18,600 acres of state parks and wildlife refuges perfect for hiking, biking. Or, for a more relaxed experience, you can indulge your taste for Coastal Cuisine at more than 300 restaurants and savor local favorites such as Chesapeake Bay crab cakes, striped bass, she crab soup and oysters on the half shell.

Getting to Virginia Beach is a snap, with Norfolk International Airport located just 20 minutes away, hosting most major airline carriers, and offering 200 flights daily.

For more information, call (800) 700-7702 or visit


Located in the heart of the mid-Atlantic, Norfolk boasts a vibrant urban renaissance and takes pride in its military and American heritage. It has many miles of riverfront and bayfront property, and is linked with its neighbors through an extensive network of Interstate highways, bridges, tunnels, and bridge-tunnel complexes.

A wonderful walking city, with a yearly average temperature of about 68 degrees, Norfolk is an appealing destination for visitors year-round to experience the city’s diverse attractions, special events and festivities, cultural activities, waterside activities and eclectic dining.

Underpinning Norfolk’s meetings industry is the Waterside Convention Connection (WCC), an alliance that provides more than 1,200 first-class rooms and suite, 55 meeting rooms and 216,000 sq. ft. of convention space, all located in the heart of the downtown corridor. The WCC is comprised of the Waterside Convention Center and the Norfolk Waterside Marriott, the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Waterside Festival Marketplace and Norfolk Scope, an arena which is located just blocks away with an additional 85,00 sq. ft. of meeting space. The Waterside Convention Center contains 36,365 sq. ft. of function space, 19 meeting rooms and is elegantly decorated with fine furnishings and antiques. The largest exhibit hall is 14,400 sq. ft. and can accommodate 2,400 guests in a reception, 2,000 in a theater set-up and 1,400 for a banquet.

Waterside Convention Connection (Photo Credit: Norfolk CVB)

From full-service hotels to boutique inns and bed and breakfasts, Norfolk offers over 5,000 rooms with rates to accommodate any meeting budget. Many of these hotel rooms are located within walking distance of the city’s downtown meeting venues, shopping, dining, attractions and nightlife. Norfolk also offers many unique meeting venues such as Attucks Theatre, The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk Botanical Garden, Nauticus; onboard Battleship Wisconsin or one of several harbor cruises as well as at private venues available at many of the city’s restaurants.

There’s plenty to do after the workday is done. Norfolk is host to a number of chef-owned restaurants, great nightlife, and a variety of recreational activities. Not to mention – exciting family oriented attractions, world-class performing arts and over 100 festivals throughout the year. For those who enjoy the outdoors, Norfolk rests on a beautiful waterfront just waiting to be explored by land or by water.

In addition to Norfolk’s own attractions, many of southeast Virginia’s major attractions are less than an hour away. Visit historic Williamsburg, step onto the sandy beaches of Virginia Beach, escape to Busch Gardens, or take a lighthouse tour at Ft. Monroe or Old Cape Henry. Not only is there plenty to do in Norfolk, there’s plenty to do nearby.

Not only is Norfolk exciting, they’re environmentally conscious. Norfolk is a city with “green” on the brain. A number of hotels, restaurants and venues have become Virginia Green Certified. So when you stay here, you can feel good about the footprint your meeting or convention is leaving on the environment.

Centrally located along the mid-Atlantic coast, with easy access from Norfolk International Airport, the Greyhound Bus Station, AMTRAK train station, and two interstate highways, as well as by boat, via the Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk is as easy to get to as it is to get around!

Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is the major airport serving southeastern Virginia with 80 daily departures provided by American, American Eagle, Continental, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Connection, Northwest, Northwest Airlink, Southwest, United Express, US Airways and US Airways Express.

For more information call (800) 368-3097 or visit