APR 2014

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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A P R I L 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 31 ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MARYLAND MISSISSIPPI MISSOURI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA I N S I D E R ' S G U I D E By Selena Chavis The region encompassing the cities of Destin and Fort Walton Beach is home to the Emerald Coast Convention Center, offering 35,000 square feet of meeting space, in- cluding a 21,000-square-foot grand ballroom with 24-foot ceilings. According to Sales and Marketing Manager Tisha Maraj, the facility is completing an expansion of its out- door meeting space to the tune of 30,000 additional square feet. "Our new space, yet to be named, will offer a beautiful setting with incredible Bay views," she said. "The area will be equipped with power, lighting, water, with tenting options as well." Located across the street from the convention center, the Four Points by Sheraton Destin-Fort Walton Beach that just completed a renovation to the lobby, Dempsey's Bar and Restaurant, interior guest corridors and the addition of a kid's splash pad and large Jacuzzi tub, according to Director of Sales Scott Petrine, adding that the prop- erty surrounds a landscaped courtyard featuring an expansive pool area. Wyndham Vacation Rentals was recently voted "Best of the Emerald Coast" for the fifth consecutive year, and TOPS'L Beach and Racquet Resort, managed by the group, was recog- nized as the "Best Tennis Facility," according to Joyce Danser, director of group sales and market- ing. Situated on 52 private acres, the full-service resort's tennis center was ranked No.10 in the world by Tennis Resorts Online. Along with its world-class tennis facility, the resort backs up to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and 3.2 miles of secluded, white sand beaches and majestic dunes more than 25 feet tall. The resort's two meeting spaces recently underwent an audio/visual up- grade, and the property also received a land- scape renovation and introduced the TOPS'L Club Tiki Hut Bar and Grill. The new lounge offers seating for 40-50 people in an atmosphere accompanied by eight LED TVs and a fire pit. ■ Home to more than 150,000 square feet of meeting space, Pensacola and Pensacola Beach can accommodate its largest groups at locations such as the Pensacola Civic Center, renowned Saenger Theatre and National Naval Aviation Museum. More than 8,000 hotel rooms and 2,000 condominium units are available through- out the greater Pensacola area. Along with the white sand beaches and aqua waters of Pensacola Beach, groups will find downtown Pensacola a sweet retreat. Named one of the "10 Great Streets in America" by the American Planning Association (APA), Palafox Street runs through the heart of downtown and is known for its unique local restaurants, chic bou- tiques, trendy bars and art galleries as well as the big five—a professional bal- let, opera, symphony, theatre and ac- credited museum of the visual arts. "It's energizing to see more and more people flock to the streets of our historic downtown to enjoy its revival, which undoubtedly has made it a must-see year-round stop along the Pensacola Bay Area," said Steve Hayes, vice president of tourism for Visit Pensacola. ■ There's More Than The Gulf Waters Sparkling In Destin & Fort Walton Beach Downtown Pensacola Or Pensacola Beach— Tough Choices Marcia Bradford Emerald Coast CVB 23-52 CS April 2014_Layout 1 3/27/14 4:18 PM Page 31

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