Black Meetings and Tourism

Nov/Dec 2010

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AREA GUIDES OAKLAND TOP WEST COAST MEETING DESTINATION MOVES TO ATTRACT MORE LEISURE TRAVELERS TOO BY BUCK SAMUELS For a city its size, Oakland has very impressive meetings and conventions product offerings, undergirded by the well-appointed Oakland Convention Center/Oakland Marriott City Center complex. Conveniently located in the downtown area just 10 minutes from Oakland International Airport and sur- rounded by major area attractions like Chinatown,OldOakland and Preservat- ion Park, the facility boasts 64,000 sq. ft. of exhibition andmeeting space,with the adjoining Marriott City Center offering an additional 25,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and 483 deluxe guest rooms. TheCenter itself features 48,000 sq. ft. of column-free exhibit space and 12 meeting rooms, while theMarriott kicks in three ballrooms (10,400 sq. ft., divisi- ble into seven sections), plus another 10 boardrooms and hospitality suites for meeting and entertaining. There are a number of other fine hotels and inns located in close proximi- ty to the Convention Center including the Courtyard by Marriott,Washington Inn,BestWestern Inn at the Square and theWaterfront Plaza Hotel, to augment your block at theOaklandMarriott City Center. Notwithstanding Oakland’s prowess as a popular convention city, local offi- cials have undertaken a campaign to fur- ther its status as a leisure destination as well. By the end of 2010, the Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau OCVB will be incorporating the Visit Oakland brand, a new graphical logo and the URL into all of its sales and marketing materials. The Visit Oakland name reflects changing trends 70 Oakland, Lake Merritt, in the city of Oakland and the broader travel industry. “The name Visit Oakland has broad appeal for all visitors, both leisure and business,” said Manette Belliveau, CEO and president of theOCVB,which is the official destination marketing organiza- tion for Oakland and serves as the umbrella organization for all travel to Oakland.“It reflects our emergence as a desirable destination for individual leisure travelers.” In addition to the website, the Visit Oakland brand will be used in social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. It will also be incorporat- ed into corporate stationery and business cards, emails, print marketing materials such as the Official Oakland Visitors Guide and signage. The official title Oakland Convention &Visitors Bureau will continue to be the name of organiza- tion’s legal entity. It’s said variety is the spice of life; well, Oakland has its share of variety. Today, Oakland is one of the nation’s most ethnically integrated cities.The city features awealth of neighborhoods filled with history, shopping, and wonderfully diverse restaurants. Oakland’s down- town and waterfront are popular with out-of-town visitors, but many of the city’s commercial and residential neigh- Photo Credit: Oakland CVB borhoods offer terrific treats for tourists also. Located between Broadway and Clay, from Seventh to 10th Streets, his- toricOldOakland is linedwith elegantly restoredVictorian buildings dating back to the 1870s that now house shops, gal- leries, and restaurants. Jack London Square offers world-class jazz, dining, lodging and shopping along the water’s edge. The FruitvaleDistrict has emerged as a thriving multicultural commercial area; cultural events there attract tens of thousands of people. And old and young alike can reach for the stars at the Chabot Space and ScienceCenterwhere they’ll find a plethora of fascinating exhibit and events. Oakland sits in the center of the San Francisco Bay Area and is easily acces- sible by plane, train, automobile, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), bus, and ferry. Few places in the country offer as many modes of transport as Oakland, making it easy for business and leisure travelers to get in and around town quickly. The Oakland International Airport is the most cen- trally located airport in the Bay Area. It has more than 200 flights per day from 37 nonstop destinations. VISIT OAKLAND (510) 839-9000 Black Meetings & Tourism November/December 2010:

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