Black Meetings and Tourism

Nov/Dec 2010

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FAM REPORT#1 VIRGINIA BEACH FAM TRIP GROOVY & GREEN BY VICTORIA HEAD green. The city was recently named a “Virginia Green Destination” in the Commonwealth, as a result of theVirginia Beach tourism and hospitality industry’s commitment to decrease its impact on the environment and provide environ- mentally friendly alternatives for visitors. VirginiaGreen is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s campaign to promote environ- mentally friendly practices in all aspects of theVirginia tourism and hospitality industry. To date,more than 60Virginia Beach hospitality businesses are certified byVirginiaGreen, including restaurants, hotels, attractions and events. “By conserving energy, reducing waste, and utilizing renewable resources, we are better able to serve our community andmeeting planners,” said James B. Ricketts, director of the Virginia Beach Convention&Visitors Bureau (CVB). At Virginia Beach’s recent FAM, Groovy & Green was the theme as The Virginia Beach CVB demonstrated just how groovy it is to be mate,sit-downdinner for 20 toa cocktail receptionfor 2,000, the VirginiaAquarium can accommodate any event amidst a set- ting of aquariums and live animal habitats. The Aquarium is proud to announce that they are soon opening their new inter- active exhibit, Restless Planet, featuring habitats and animals that chronicle Virginia’s ecological history. Habitats include a Malaysian peat swamp, a Red Sea, a coastal desert and an erupting volcano along with the animals that adapted to those environments. A fabulous luncheon was provided at The Virginia Beach Convention Center, which also is certified by Virginia Green. The Virginia Beach Convention Center was the first convention center in Virginia to meet the program’s required “core activi- ties,” which include water efficiency, energy efficiency, mini- mized use of styrofoam/disposables, recycling, and supporting green conferences and events. Association Green held their “Get Green Already” Conference at the VBCC. As a green resource for organizations of all types, Association Green is a company whose goal is to create opportunities for groups to network, obtain education, and locate resources for organiza- tions that want to become environmentally responsible. Keynote speaker Kimberly L. Lewis and panelists, Beth Sinnott, Christopher Moyer and Tim Lee educated their audi- ence on The Green Way to a Black Bottom Line, Green meet- ing standard certification and Realistic guidelines for green meetings. Some Guidelines for your Green Meetings: Encourage presenters to leave handouts behind and go “paperless.” Have a sign up sheet available for capturing e-mail addresses in each roomfor those requesting an electronic copy of the speaker’s presentation. Encourage attendees to deposit all recyclable items in the center’s recycle containers. Avoid dating promotional items such as goodie bags, cof- fee mugs, or note pads. Overages are easily reused at futuremeetings. Print all conference materi- als on recycled paper with veg- etable based inks, printing on both sides. Have water served from Al Hutchinson, vice president of Convention Sales and Marketing at the VBCVB, stated “these days, many meeting planner’s deciding factor in choosing a meeting destination is its ability to host green meetings. We wanted to showcase the progress Virginia Beach has made in that area, including our restaurants,Convention Center and other top venues. With all the efforts we’ve put forth,Virginia Beach wants to be recog- nized as a leader in destinations that have eco-friendly meet- ings.” At theVirginiaAquarium&Marine ScienceCenter,we dis- covered a distinctive venue for parties, special events, business functions andmore. Adelightful breakfast buffetwas served in one of their reception areas overlooking the lake. Froman inti- 20 pitchers rather than plastic bot- tles. Guests of the Groovy & Green FAM stayed at the luxurious Westin Virginia Beach Town Center, which has 236 beautifully appointed Deluxe Rooms and Suites. TheVirginia Beach CVB invites meeting planners to “Bring it to the Beach!” Virginia Beach is four hours southeast ofWashington, car and within a day’s drive or less from two-thirds of the U.S. population. For the latest information and project updates on the new Virginia Beach Convention Center, visit or for visitor information, call (800)VA-BEACH (800/822-3224) or visit theWeb site for online trip planning. Black Meetings & Tourism November/December 2010:

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