Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: March/April 2014
There Isn't A Much Brighter Idea Than Holding Your Next Meeting In The Sun "Sunshine State"



Florida, also known as "The Sunshine State", is located in the south-eastern region of the US. With its iconic Disney and Universal theme parks, picturesque scenery, stunning geographical elements throughout, Florida is sure to fulfill all travelers expectations both leisure and business. Meeting planners will find a diverse collection of meeting, resort and convention facilities in which a vast number of them have "gone green."

Because of its unique terrain Florida offers conference attendees unlimited activities, from boating, dining, golf, spas and ecotourism, to theme parks and sporting events.

According to a recent research study surveying both corporate and association meeting planners across the country, Florida is ranked the highest state for affordable travel, accessibility and value. Add to this the state's beautiful weather and diverse hotel and venue opportunities, and Florida is the perfect meetings, conventions, and incentive travel destination. Hosting your next meeting will definitely "brighten" your attendance and agenda.

FORT LAUDERDALE

The moment you take your socks off, you're free. Warm your toes in Greater Fort Lauderdale's 23 miles of sun-kissed beaches - an easy walk from many hotels, restaurants and activities. In this city business and leisure go hand in hand with its amazing ambiance and geographical backdrop. Conference attendees will be able to celebrate the spirit of diversity in a friendly beach resort setting.

With the 600,000-sq. ft. Gold LEED Certified Broward County Convention Center, you'll enjoy high-tech meeting and exhibit space as well as five-star food service, an Internet café and elegant banquet rooms. Equipped with 119 meeting, rooms the convention center is just a short drive from the airport, the beaches and downtown arts and entertainment district.

Six hotels in the Lauderdale Convention Collection offer clustered booking advantages, beach or Intracoastal views, discounts, amenities and are close to the Convention Center, where you'll enjoy complimentary space and welcome reception. The Collection is comprised of Embassy Suites, Fort Lauderdale 17th Street, Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel, and the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel.

Take groups on a dine-around via Water Taxi to fashionable Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District. Attendees can navigate this walkable entertainment district with a wide assortment of group-friendly restaurants. And groups can dine around in downtown Hollywood with an ethnic flair.

Retro cool Hollywood is home to the Boardwalk, which runs 2 ½ miles along sun-kissed beach. Bike or stroll and find an outdoor café to wile away the hours. Take an art class during the day, stay for dinner and drinks, and then party the night away at Seminole Hard Rock Casino.

Attendees are encouraged to visit the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, as well as discover the heritage of the Seminole Indians. Travelers can enjoy Caribbean-style and Latin fusion cuisine and some of the south's best soul food and BBQ.

For Meeting Planners that want to learn more about diverse vacation, family reunion and meeting opportunities, contact the multicultural team: Albert Tucker, Vice President of Multicultural Development; 954-767-2456.

Arriving and departing is a breeze at Fort Lauderdale/ Hollywood International Airport (FLL), located just three miles from hotels, the Broward Convention Center, Port Everglades and the beaches.

STATS (for sidebar)

HOTEL    ROOMS

Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa 650

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina 589

Embassy Suites, Fort Lauderdale 17th Street 363

Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel 236

EXHIBITION FACILITIES

Broward County Convention Center

Total Exhibit Space 600.000 sq. ft.

Meeting Rooms      119

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB

(954) 765-4466 | (800) 22-SUNNY

www.sunny.org

South Florida Black Chamber of Commerce

(754) 206-3608

KISSIMMEE

Plan your next meeting in Kissimmee and it is sure to be a shining success. Aside from beautiful weather all year round, Kissimmee also boasts an impressive inventory of meeting facilities and unique venues. When you begin planning your next meeting, reunion or getaway, look no further than Kissimmee.

Easy access to and from Orlando International Airport and minutes from world-famous attractions make Kissimmee ideal for any group whether it be a professional meeting, family reunion, military reunion or faith-based meeting.

Kissimmee offers unique meeting facilities including large arena spaces such as Osceola Heritage Park and performance spaces such as the Kissimmee Civic Center.

A 120-acre complex, Osceola Heritage Park includes the 8,000-seat Silver Spurs Arena, 47,850-sq. ft. Exhibition Building, ideal for trade shows, meetings, or breakout sessions, and Osceola County Stadium, Spring Training Home for the Houston Astros.

The Osceola County School for the Performing Arts, a 2,000-seat theatre originally built by the Tupperware company, is another inviting option for your Florida meeting or conference. This professionally equipped theatre is the perfect setting for presentations and recognition events, as well as meetings, conferences, and seminars.

Kissimmee Civic Center is a  meeting facility that hosts sporting events including volleyball, basketball, boxing and more with seating for up to 3,400. The Grand ballroom accommodates large and small groups seating up to 400, while the tradeshow area boasts 16,000 sq. ft. All this in a beautiful lakefront park location.

A wide variety of spacious and flexible accommodations make planning a gathering stress-free no matter how large or small your group may be. First-class convention hotels and conference centers include the impressive Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, Omni Resort at ChampionsGate and the new Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista South.

When it comes to outdoor activities, Kissimmee puts the "do" in things-to-do. From incredible boating, fishing and camping adventures to experiencing the great outdoors like never before, this city makes Central Florida one big fun zone. For the more adventurous, one way to experience nature is on a zipline safari or hot air balloon ride. 

Most major airlines fly into Orlando International Airport, just 30 minutes from Kissimmee, with additional flights arriving at Orlando Sanford International Airport, less than an hour's travel time away. Kissimmee Gateway Airport, is the closest airport to the major theme parks and convention centers, and offers prime access for those flying in on private or charter jets.

STATS

HOTEL     ROOMS

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center        1,406

Omni Resort at ChampionsGate 720

Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista South 300

EXHIBITION FACILITIES

Exhibition Building at Osceola Heritage Park

Total Exhibit Space 98,416 sq. ft.

Meeting Rooms        7

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Experience Kissimmee - (407) 742-8200

www.experiencekissimmee.com

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ST. AUGUSTINE

When it comes to selecting an inspirational and memorable venue for a mid-size or small meeting, St. Augustine is the perfect choice. Legendary history and seaside elegance, combined with complete meeting services and outstanding facilities, put this destination at the top of the list for meeting planners seeking success and "something different." St. Augustine holds a unique place in the history of African-Americans in North America as the location of the first legally sanctioned free African-American town in the nation. And from the time Spanish explorers stepped onto the shore of Florida, Africans had a place among the adventurous crew and among the earliest settlers.

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is St. Johns County's leading multi-purpose arts and recreation facility. This award-winning, state-of-the-art, 16-acre outdoor theatre includes 4,100 seats, 4 concession stands, a merchandise area, a large plaza, and an elaborate arboretum of walking trails all within 1 ½ miles from the City of St. Augustine.

St. Augustine offers some of the finest lodging options in the state, from contemporary motels to historical boutiques. Renaissance World Golf Village Resort offers top level hospitality and within 15 minutes of the resort enjoy 108 holes of championship golf, including the Slammer and Squire, located just steps from your guestroom.

Rich in the old and the new, St. Augustine blends historic sites, famous restaurants, shopping from antiques to boutiques and breathtaking nature. Experience living history in museums, take in the beauty of unspoiled nature, walk St. George Street to feel like you're living in the past, then visit one of the boutique hotels for 21st-century luxury.

The Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach is truly the place in the community to create, understand and experience the arts. This is accomplished through exhibitions of local, regional and national artists in a variety of media; through exciting events for the community; and through quality arts classes, lectures and workshops.

STATS

HOTEL    ROOMS

Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa 510

Renaissance World Golf Village Resort 301

Marywood Retreat and Conference Center   64

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB

(800) 653-2489

www.floridashistoriccoast.com

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MIAMI

Nowhere else on earth will you find such a combination of cosmopolitan conference facilities and tropical splendor like those in Greater Miami and the Beaches. In short, this unique destination can only be described as "Tropicool," which means Miami meetings are the ultimate choice for your next meeting.

Miami offers meeting planners an array of venue options including the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) boasting over 1,000,000 sq. ft. of flexible space, including over 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, over 100,000 sq. ft. of versatile pre-function area space and 70 meeting rooms, while the Miami Convention Center offers 34 meeting rooms, including a 444-seat auditorium and a 117-seat lecture hall.

Fresh from a major re-design, the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC) is located adjacent to Miami International Airport, adjoining the Doubletree Hotel and the Miami International Merchandise Mart. Minutes from Downtown Miami, the MACC features 172,000 sq. ft. of high-tech meeting, conference and trade show space, including a 29,000-sq. ft. social catering ballroom (second largest in the region) and 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibition and function space. With a great location, dynamic meeting space and professional, attentive service, the MACC has the flexibility to host everything from trade shows and social functions to conventions and conferences.

Miami museums cover a broad range of interests. From contemporary to historical treasures, Miami's cultural and art museums offer an overview of international art drawn from private collections and traveling exhibitions. You'll find out about Miami's earliest inhabitants at HistoryMiami, which has interactive exhibits and offers exciting boat, walking, coach and eco-history tours of Miami.

STATS

HOTEL ROOMS

Hilton Miami Downtown 527

Four Seasons Hotel Miami 221

Marriott Marquis Miami Hotel 313

InterContinental Miami 641

Biltmore Hotel 275

EXHIBITION FACILITIES

Miami Beach Convention Center

Total Exhibit Space 500,000 sq. ft.

Meeting Rooms         70

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

Greater Miami & The Beaches - (800) 933.8448

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