ConventionSouth

JAN 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 ⎜ J A N U A R Y 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 42 N O R T H E A S T F L O R I D A Ever hear the quote, "if you build it they will come?" Kevin Costner made the line  famous in the inspirational baseball movie Field of Dreams.  Now, the folks in Amelia Island are loading their bases with a real heavy hitter of an incentive that's bound to be a homerun with meeting pros.  If you're thinking of bringing a group to this authentic island, but want to check it out first, you can.  The Flights for Sites  program offers planners up to $400 in airfare reimbursement to do just that. "Once we get the meeting planner here, it becomes a whole lot easier to sell the product and the conversion rate becomes very high," says Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.  What keeps planners coming back is the sheer, untouched beauty of this  13-mile long and two-mile wide impeccable island community.  Stunning seaside accommodations with breathtaking views and meeting space to match are also high on the list.  Recent multi-million dollar renovations at the five-star, five-dia- mond, 446-room Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, and the completion of the re-imagi- nation project at the 404-room; 300-villa Omni Amelia Island Plantation, help  keep Amelia Island a fan favorite.   "We offer the comfort and relaxation of a Southern destination, delivered in a sophisticated manner with outstanding customer service," adds Langley.  n Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast Southern Elegance: Amelia Island Known as the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine also holds the distinction of being one of the country's most charming. Founded in 1565, the city has some serious staying power – in fact, it's about to celebrate a 450 year birthday, and still reflects a rich Spanish heritage and Old World charm. Unique attractions, historic hotels, charming inns, museums and historical sites provide inspiring settings for meetings accommodating 10 to 1,500 or more attendees. And this city stays open late. "In a lot of places, they roll up the streets at 6pm…not us," says Glenn Graham, Director of Conference Sales for the CVB. "We keep everything open, even the historical areas." ‰Serious Seaside Settings – The area's multitude of beautiful beaches, captivating waterways and inspiring terrain are prime back- drops for outdoor gatherings and teambuilding programs.  Top-rated  resorts, including the Four-Diamond Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort  Spa, the Five-Diamond Ponte Vedra Inn   Club, and the Four-Diamond Ponte Vedra Lodge   Club — combine to offer 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Each resort has recently completed major renovations and added spectacular resort and meetings facilities. ‰Legendary Links – Known as the world center of golf, the area is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the famed King   Bear course, the only course co-de- signed by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. The Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass offers 13,000 sq. ft. of function space with inspiring views of the famous TPC Stadium Course, home of the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship. The Renaissance Resort at The World Golf Village also adjoins to the St. John's County Convention Center. n Historic Meetings: St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & the Beaches

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