Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2020

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I N T H E N E W S B M & T ••• November/December 2020 ••• 6 VIRGINIA BEACH OFFICIALS DISCUSS TOURISM ECONOMY AND IMPORTANCE OF DIVERSITY WITH U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION'S ELLIOTT FERGUSON U.S. Travel Association's Chairman, Elliott Ferguson (left), poses with Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau's Executive Advisor, William Hanbury (right) at the recently opened Virginia Beach Sports Center, the East Coast's largest indoor sports complex. Ferguson visited the destination on October 23rd to meet with local officials and tourism stakeholders, where he provided an update on the tourism economy and discussed the importance of diversity efforts within the industry. The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (VBCVB) hosted the U.S. Travel Association's Chairman Elliott Ferguson for an intimate discussion on Friday, October 23rd. City officials and business leaders from the resort community were on hand to hear Ferguson talk about the tourism economy and the importance of diversity in hospitality. Ferguson shared that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has seen a 63% decline in international travel and 30% decline in domestic travel. Looking forward, Ferguson discussed several priorities neces- sary for the travel industry to recover including grants to promote safe travel, tax incentives to stimulate travel, meetings and events, and recovery sector loan programs. On the topic of diversity and inclusion, Ferguson emphasized that tourism boards must ask hard questions about their own diversity and action- able steps that can be made to be more inclusive, as well as highlighting some of the industry's recent efforts to counter racial injustice, including webinars, open letter and new digital content. The meeting with Ferguson comes on the heels of VBCC's presentation of positive tourism news to the destination's City Council highlighting its own recovery efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Beach/Norfolk demographic area were occupancy leaders of the top 25 DMA markets for 13 weeks straight. The gains are attributed the destination's marketing efforts, which include the launch of a VB Smarter safety program and its partnership with Norfolk, Virginia, Together at Last. The destination recently launched its new campaign to attract remote workers, Surf, Sand, Study, which offers destination wide offers on accommodations, attractions and restaurants. More information on Virginia Beach, log onto . DUKE ENERGY CONVENTION CENTER NAMED ONE OF TOP 30 CONVENTION CENTERS IN NORTH AMERICA Recognized as a 2021 Center of Excellence by EXHIBITOR Magazine The Duke Energy Convention Center has been named a 2021 Center of Excellence by EXHIBITOR Magazine, an industry lead- ing publication for trade shows and events. Honoring North America's best convention centers for trade shows and events, the Centers of Excellence awards recognize the best large and small trade show venues based on a variety of criteria within five different categories. The myriad criteria considered were categorized into five primary areas: • Facility & Functionality • Location & Accommodations • Service & Execution • Expansions & Upgrades • Awards & Industry Participation "I continue to be in awe of our staff and partners that help keep Cincinnati and the DECC in the national spotlight. We work hard to provide a great experience for our clients, exhibitors, and attendees, and this award recognizes our determination to do just that," says Spectra's Ric Booth, General Manager of the Duke Energy Convention Center. The evaluation process also included a survey of event planners, show organizers, and exhibit managers who have recently hosted (or exhibited at)

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