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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w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 44 Texas E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O TX B L U E B O N N E T S : A T E X A S T R A D E M A R K Each spring, bluebonnets cover the vast prairies of Texas and they are especially prevalent in the area known as Texas Hill Country. Central to the state and home to the capitol as well as the University of Texas, this area is culturally diverse and marked by rolling hills, sparkling rivers and vast fields of bold bluebonnets, the official state flower. BY D. FRAN MORLEY, SABE FINK AND T. WAYNE WATERS It's Like A Whole Other Country According to the state's office of Economic Development & Tourism, Texas has 267,000 square miles of amazing opportunities and unforgettable desti- nations, offering plenty of inspirational locations for meetings, conventions and special events. Texas Hill Country The "Heart of Texas" combines cowboy cul- ture and cosmopolitan style, with a strong Ger- man influence. Wineries, beer gardens, music venues, water parks and world-class shopping abound. Austin & Area 2016 was a big year for Austin with the addi- tion of more than 3,000 new hotel rooms, new event and meeting facilities, and an increase in nonstop flight options, according to the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). The number of downtown guest rooms, now 8,568, is expected to grow to 12,000 by 2019. Hotels opening in 2017 include Fairmont Aus- tin, a $370 million project, with 1,048 guest rooms, more than 128,500 square feet of event space and direct access to the Austin Conven- tion Center; and Aloft and Element, two hotels in one tower, aimed at "young, hip" business travelers, with 422 guest rooms and 3,000 square feet of function space. Also opening in 2017 are a 190-room Hyatt House Austin Downtown/University and a 139-room Hyatt Place Hotel Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. Set to open in 2018 and 2019 are The Proper Austin Hotel, with 244 guest rooms and 12,500 square feet of meeting space; Hotel ZaZa, with 200 apartments and 160 guest rooms; Autograph Collection/AC Hotel by Marriott, with 347 guest rooms plus 6,000 square feet of function space; and Marriott Downtown, with 615 guest rooms and 65,000 square feet of event space. ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7