APR 2018

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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Page 33 of 67

F L O R I D A ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 34 Florida E V E N T P L A N N E R ' S G U I D E T O FL E M E R A L D C O A S T I N G Boating in the turquoise waters off the coast of Destin, whether on a chartered yacht, sailboat, kayak or canoe, is a great way for groups to experience the beauty of northwest Florida. From watching stunning gulf coast sunsets, to seeing dolphins and sting rays at play to viewing the area's award-winning beaches, the experiences abound. BY D. FRAN MORLEY, T. WAYNE WATERS & MARCIA BRADFORD There are many reasons why Florida has long been a popular tourist destination. Much of the state enjoys warm weather all year long and it has more than 1,300 miles of coastline, with an abundance of beautiful beaches and back bays to explore. Over the years, resorts, theme parks and recreational venues have added to allure. Today, the area is also known for its numerous meetings destinations, with accommodations in a variety of settings and price ranges, more than 1,000 golf courses that challenge all levels of play, boating, fishing, kayaking, standup paddle- boarding and all sorts of water adventures, along with historic, educational and cultural attrac- tions, world-class shopping and entertainment. Pensacola/Pensacola Beach/Perdido Key A dynamic and diverse area in the far north- west corner of the state, the Pensacola Bay Area is has three unique areas: Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. The area is rich in history, dating back to early exploration in the 1500s, but also includes an active arts scene, military bases and many venues that offer unique team-building activities. "The Pensacola Bay Area is a place of countless riches," says Visit Pensacola Pres- ident Steve Hayes. "We have sugar-white beaches washed with clear emerald waters, award-winning restaurants, and two magical islands. There are stunning sunsets, skies filled with Blue Angels, and an abundance of recre- ational pursuits which will tempt any attendee to extend their stay." The metro area offers a total of 9,700 guest rooms and a variety of meeting venues ranging from beachfront resorts to historic downtown hotels to boutique properties, and one-of-a- ¬kind spaces, according to Visit Pensacola Destination Sales Manager Lori Coppels. Among the larger meeting facilities in the area, the Pensacola Bay Center is located in the heart of downtown and can accommodate up to 10,000 attendees in its 22,000-square-foot facility. Additional downtown meeting space is available at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front (30,000 square feet) Skopelos at the New World Inn (12,500 square feet), the historic Saenger Theatre (3,000 square feet) and the Pensacola Grand Hotel (7,584 square feet) .The University of West Florida Conference Center Courtesy Emerald Coast CVB

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