Successful Meetings - December 2008 - (Page 12)

News & Analysis the economy. Employees of corporations can’t be penalized for the good business practice of rewarding employees.” And yet, they are being penalized already. In a joint statement issued in October, AIG and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that the insurer “agreed to immediately cancel all junkets or perks which are not strictly justified by legitimate business needs, [including] more than 160 conferences and events, some exceeding more than $750,000 per event.” This specifically includes a $750,000 “best operator” conference planned for Las Vegas, a $500,000 risk management conference that was to have been held in California, and a $350,000 sales conference in Georgia. In total more than $8 million worth of AIG conferences and events have been canceled. > On The Record 20/20 Vision A year after taking the helm of the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO, is poised to transform the sun and surf destination into a meeting planner’s dream. Spa, golf, and beach resorts are familiar aspects of Palm Beach, but there are also the country’s largest equestrian facilities, an array of cultural venues, the second largest lake within U.S. borders, and an airport with direct flights from 35 cities. Pesquera spoke with Successful Meetings about the bureau’s plans to double the impact of tourism, business travel, and meetings travel to the county by 2020, and what planners can expect in the years to come. SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS: What is the “Palm Beach County CVB’s 2020 Vision” we’re hearing about? JORGE PESQUERA: We’re saying that in 12 years we should be able to go from a $2.8 billion contribution to the economy to a $6 billion industry. The reason is because, to a great extent, Palm Beach County—which was really one of the first two states in the nation [at 2,386 square miles, Palm Beach County is bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware]. It has 38 different cities. We have cataloged nine different tourism clusters of activity. We believe that we can work with the cities, towns, and municipalities, and county governments to grow our tourism assets in a significant way over the next 10 to 12 years. SM: Is this investment in growing tourism expected to bring more meetings and convention groups to the county? PESQUERA: Absolutely. Meetings and conventions will be central to our strategy. Certainly we have some of the most classic resorts in the country that have a long history of accommodating major events, such as the Boca Raton Resort and The Breakers—and we have a Four Seasons, a Ritz-Carlton, and the PGA National Resort. But more importantly, the Palm Beach County Convention Center, which was built three and a half years ago, is a catalyst for additional room inventory around the West Palm Beach area that will grow our appeal to the group market. We’re seeing a lot more of that, and we’re retooling internally within the CVB to make that happen. SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS JORGE PESQUERA President and CEO Palm Beach County CVB true resort destinations in the country—has been relatively stagnant as it pertains to room inventory and tourism assets over the last several years. We believe that we have a great destination. It’s a county that is vast in its geographic extension. It’s bigger than 12 DECEMBER 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - December 2008

Successful Meetings - December 2008
Editor's Note
Corporate Events
On the Record
Planner Spotlight
Personal Success
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Professional Development
Quick Tip
Tools of the Trade
On Site: Retire Those Tired Power-Point Slides
On Site: 12 Tips for Thriving on a South African Safari
Deep Impact
Recession-Friendly Speakers
Showing Off
Hawaii Insert
Places & Spaces
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Fort Worth
South Florida

Successful Meetings - December 2008