JUN 2013

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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ALABAMA ARKANSAS FLORIDA GEORGIA KENTUCKY LOUISIANA MISSISSIPPI NORTH CAROLINA OKLAHOMA SOUTH CAROLINA TENNESSEE TEXAS VIRGINIA WEST VIRGINIA Visit Jacksonville Cummer Museum via Facebook INSIDER'S G U I D E By Ashley Wright Northeast Florida You Can Feel Jacksonville's Vibrancy Jacksonville's meetings industry is as strong as ever. In fact, the city was selected as one of the Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States by Cvent, leader in cloud-based event management solutions. The award-winning destination has a new leader at its helm. Visit Jacksonville has announced that Paul Astleford has been named their new CEO. He has 42 years of hospitality industry experience, and arrived in Jacksonville after a successful tour of duty leading Experience Columbus, in Columbus, Ohio, where he served as its president and CEO since 2000. "I see Jacksonville as a city with huge potential as a destination for corporate, group and leisure travel," said Astleford. "I look forward to working with the city, community leaders and our hospitality industry and partners to elevate the awareness of all the assets that northeast Florida has to offer." The destination has a number of traditional w w w. c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m and unique meeting venues for groups to take advantage of. One of the most unique venues in the area has received an extensive facelift. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens has started a renovation project that will give its campus a new look and feel as it integrates to the community, according to museum officials. This project encompasses the restoration of the Olmsted Garden—a riverfront garden that dates back to 1931—as well as the renovation of the entire Riverside Avenue portion of the Cummer's campus that will include an outdoor café, an outdoor statue garden and more spacious sidewalks. The city has also seen numerous improvements and additions to its 18,000 hotel rooms. For instance, the Clarion Airport Hotel is becoming a Doubletree Hotel and is undergoing complete renovations throughout the property while remaining open for guests. The new DoubleTree Hotel is located on the grounds of the Jacksonville International Airport. Jackson ville's Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (pictured above) w ill s debut a v oon ibran new look t . A new TownePlace Suites by Marriott Jacksonville Airport will open in 2014. The $7.5 million hotel will have 107 rooms and will be located at River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville. In the fall of 2012, the Omni Jacksonville Hotel began renovations to its lobby and restaurant, and in 2014 the hotel expects to renovate all guest rooms. The hotel offers 354 guest rooms and 14,000 square feet of meeting space. The aLoft Tapestry Park will be undergoing some structural rebuilds in the coming months. Expected closure time is 6 months, after that the boutique hotel will reopen. ■ J U N E 2 0 1 3 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ 31

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