Prevue September/October 2010 - (Page 18)

bureau buzz the new urbanists TAMpA, BALTIMORE + pORTLAnD CVBS DISCuSS hOw ThEY’RE LuRIng gROupS BACk TO ThEIR CITY CEnTERS developments is the new Tampa Riverwalk. It gives the visitors the opportunity to get out and explore versus several years ago when you had to take taxis to get around.” Located along the downtown riverfront, the riverwalk connects the convention center to a variety of shops, restaurants and attractions such as the Tampa Museum of Art, which opened in February, The Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Bay History Center. Just a short jaunt away is Channelside Bay Plaza, an entertainment hub with restaurants and live music venues like Howl at the Moon. “Also in that area, we have five hotels within walking distance of each other: the Westin, Marriott, Embassy Suites, Hyatt and Sheraton,” says Hayes, adding that last year, the Marriott, Hyatt and Sheraton hotels all completed large-scale upgrades. Located just across the channel from the riverwalk, visitors can savor some of the city’s best food at Jackson’s Bistro. The Japanese restaurant specializes in fresh seafood with picture perfect water views from its private banquet rooms. Capacity is 140 pax. And here’s a fun Tampa-style group activity. Check out the 131-ft Yacht StarShip, which offers dinner cruises on Tampa Bay departing right from the docks at Channelside Bay Plaza. BALTIMORE When planning to attend a meeting in Baltimore, leave your car keys at home and bring comfy shoes. “Once you get to Baltimore, you will not be driving around town, you’ll be walking,” says Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, adding that the city is a meeting planner’s dream come true. “Let’s say you wanted to plan a convention from scratch. You’d want to put it on the water and then surround it with hotels, restaurants, attractions and accessible transportation. That is what we have here in Baltimore.” The city’s Inner Harbor, a historic seaport and Baltimore’s main, happening neighborhood, offers a bevy of meeting-friendly spots located only feet from each other, starting with the Baltimore Convention Center. Nearby, visitors will find Oriole Park, Pier Six Concert Pavilion, the National Aquarium, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Baltimore Maritime Museum and the Maryland Science Center. Also in close range is the Hilton, which opened in 2008 adjacent to the Tampa Museum of Art convention center; the Sheraton, renovated in 2007; and the Hyatt, renovated in 2008 and connected to the convention center. Goodbye suburban sprawl; hello urban revival. These days, cities all over the country are beefing up their downtown regions, which is good news for meeting planners. Renting shuttles for conventioneers is now a thing of the past in many destinations thanks to new and improved convention districts offering everything from hotels and restaurants to high-end boutiques, attractions and meeting spaces—all within walking distance. This helps cut down on transportation costs, lessens environmental impact, emphasizes the importance of exercise and On each gives safari destination more of a neighborhood feel. We spoke with three meeting hot spots—Tampa, Baltimore and Portland—to learn why they’re shining examples of cities riding the walkability wave. TAMpA BAY Inside the last five years, Tampa has undergone serious revitalization efforts and today offers a convenient meeting package with a variety of attractions, restaurants and hotels close to the Tampa Convention Center. “Over the last several years, Tampa has become a lot more walkable,” says Steve Hayes, executive vp for Tampa Bay & Company, the city’s CVB. “One of the most exciting 18 | prevue magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue September/October 2010

NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte
Four Seasons Scottsdale
Marriott Costa Rica
Starwood Hotels
Virginai Beach
The Green Meetings Megatrend
Dude Ranches
Cast Off to The Caribbean
Hyatt Regency Curacao
Riu Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Nature of Orlando
Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando
Renaissance Vinoy, St. Petersburg
A (Meeting) Room with a view
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver
Berlin + Dusseldorf

Prevue September/October 2010