Prevue November/December 2015 - (Page 41)

America's Southeast Many Southern cities are unmistakable in their charm and character-and each is unlike the other. [ON LOCATION] BARBARA SCOFIDIO / JESSIE FETTERLING T hough many cities throughout the Southern part of the U.S. share an Antebellum charm and traditions that date back hundreds of years, they are each distinct. From genteel Savannah, where groups can explore haunted hotels dating back to the early 1800s, to Shreveport, with its multifaceted culinary tradition that has its roots in Texas barbeque, soul food and Cajun specialties, there's something for every group. All of this exists just 45 minutes from the bustle of Orlando and the theme parks. "We're one of the few areas in Florida that specializes in smaller groups," says Stephanie Hunicke, Seminole County Convention & Visitors Bureau group sales manager. "This location provides meeting planners with a natural setting that's less crowded and more relaxed than Orlando." ORLANDO, FLORIDA SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA The feeling in Central Florida's Seminole County is relaxed and unhurried. Visiting groups can immerse themselves in nature, with eco-tours on Lake Jesup, which has the largest population of alligators on any lake in North America, and the St. John's River, Florida's longest. Another spot is the Wekiva River, one of only two National Wild & Scenic Rivers (protected by an Act of Congress for their special character) in the state. A popular choice is an airboat ride; these flat-bottomed boats have propellers powered by either an aircraft or car engine and are able to enter shallow waters to get closer to the wildlife. The biggest ones can accommodate groups of up to 18. At Universal Orlando, a just-completed expansion of Loews Royal Pacific Resort has added more than 55,000 sf of meeting space, including a new ballroom and 4 new meeting rooms. The guest rooms have also been refreshed. The resort was the site of the welcome evening for Prevue's own Visionary Summit in July, where 40 guests enjoyed a Farm-to-Table/Dock-to Door reception featuring local charcuterie from nearby Hearts of Christmas Farms, ceviche and fish tacos from catches farmed in Titusville and pork belly sliders from Palmetto Creek Farms in Avon Park, among other local specialties. The other big news at Universal is the scheduled June 2016 opening of the Caribbean-inspired Loews Sapphire Falls, with | 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue November/December 2015

Planner’s Pick: Salt Lake City
Bureau Buzz: Birmingham
Fresh Meets: Melia Hotels International
Good Business: Community Outreach at ASAE
Sea Shores: Crystal Cruises
Ode to Inspiration
On Location: South Korea
On Location: Istanbul
On Location: Panama
On Location: Scottsdale
Checkout: Kalahari Resort & Convention Center

Prevue November/December 2015