NOV 2015

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 30 Alabama E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O AL B O N S E C O U R D U N E S Located just outside of Gulf Shores, the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama's last remaining undisturbed coastal barrier habitat. The name Bon Secour comes from the French meaning "safe harbor" and the 6,700-acre refuge is a natural oasis of wildlands, where wildlife can exist without harm. Trail hikes and bird-watching are popular activities for visitors. BY D. FRAN MORLEY North to south, Alabama is a state of diverse landscapes, attractions, and first-class meeting facilities. From Huntsville's Space & Rocket Center to the historic attractions and amenities in Montgomery and Birmingham to the wild and beautiful Mobile Bay Delta and the pristine gulf coast beaches of the south, Alabama offers something for everyone and every budget. The state tourism website highlights the state's diversity with an interactive map at Too diverse to break into just a few sections, the map features nearly a dozen cities and areas with highlights about each. Birmingham Birmingham is getting increased attention from planners because of its central location, first- tier amenities and affordable prices. "Birming- ham offers an accessible downtown, just seven minutes from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport," said Barry Hoehn, direc- tor of convention sales and marketing for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). "Once we get planners here for a site inspection, they love it. They say they never realized that we are located at the base of the Appalachians or how green and lush we are. They are sold and the word spreads." In December 2014, the Birmingham-Jeffer- son Convention Complex was rebranded as Legacy Arena at the BJCC, Hoehn said. He added that the BJCC is the largest meeting facility in the state, offering 220,000 square feet of exhibition space, 74 meeting rooms, a

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