Black Meetings and Tourism

September/October 2014

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Page 48 of 52

B M & T ••• Septemebr/October 2014 ••• 48 AREA GUIDES B I R M I N G H A M BIRMINGHAM'S GOT IT ALL….CULTURE, RICH HISTORY & TOP LEVEL MEETING VENUES BY SOLOMON J. HERBERT II With world-class attractions, lodging and dining fueling its reputation and 15,000 guest rooms in the greater Birmingham area, the city is a popular, affordable meeting host. Meeting plan- ners enjoy the impressive inventory of convention services offered and have come to expect exceptional service from the CVB Services Staff. Birmingham's unique cultural history gives planners an interesting lineup of venues and sites to hold events ranging from private parties and weddings to larg- er conferences and trade shows. The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is Alabama's foremost conven- tion, meeting and entertainment center. The venue is fully equipped with 220,000 plus sq. ft. of exhibition space, 74 meet- ing rooms totaling 100,000 plus sq. ft., a 1,000 seat theatre, a 3,000-seat Concert Hall and two elegant ballrooms seating up to 2,000 guests. One of the most convenient and unique features of the Birmingham- Jefferson Convention Complex is that it adjoins the 757-room Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. The hotel can accom- modate groups from 10 to 1,000. Located in the heart of the of Birmingham's central business district, the Birmingham International Center's conference facility boasts newly renovat- ed amenities with a space that seats approximately 120, or 100 for dinner. This facility is perfect for business meetings, corporate parties, club functions, per- formances, wedding receptions, career fairs, art exhibits and seminars. Birmingham is well known for its prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. A visit to the many educational institutions and muse- ums throughout city gives visitors an in- depth look at that important era. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is a "living institution" which views the lessons of the past as a positive way to chart new directions for the future. BCRI's permanent exhibitions are a self- directed journey through the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles. Distinguished as "A Place of Revolu- tion and Reconciliation," historic Kelly Ingram Park serves as a threshold to the Civil Rights District. During the Civil Rights Movement, this public park became the focal point of a grassroots resistance to the inhumanities of racism and discrimination by law and by custom. Conference attendees can take a glimpse into the lives of Birmingham's prominent jazz musicians at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. From the boogie woo- gie beginnings of Clarence "Pinetop" Smith to the velvet crooning of Nat King Cole, legendary jazz greats are immortal- ized in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, within the historic Carver Theatre. This 2,500 sq. ft. theater is an excellent option for planners looking to hold a smaller event with a touch of Birmingham flavor. Sara Hamlin serves as vice president of Tourism at the Birmingham CVB. Her staff is avail- able to work with travel agents and group travel lead- ers who are inter- ested in bringing clients to Birming- ham. If you are planning a reunion or wedding, the staff is also available to assist you in the selec- tion of your hotel and can make sugges- tions to help you save time and money. Michael Gunn is the vice president of Sales at the CVB. From the earliest planning stages of your meeting until the last delegate leaves the city, Gunn and the Convention Sales and Servicing team will assist you in finalizing the details of your meet- ing. B i r m i n g h a m - S h u t t l e s w o r t h International Airport is Alabama's largest airport serving the Greater Birmingham area and surrounding Southeastern cities as well as offering 126 daily flights to 50 airports in 47 cities throughout the United States. Skyline view of the city of Birmingham Photo Credit: Steven Frame SARA HAMLIN MICHAEL GUNN • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Sheraton Birmingham Hotel 757 Birmingham Marriott 295 DoubleTree by Hilton Birmingham 298 Embassy Suites Birmingham 242 EXHIBITION FACILITIES Metro Toronto Convention Center Total Exhibit Space 220,000 sq. ft. Meeting Rooms 74 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau – (800) 458-8085 Greater Birmingham Black Chamber of Commerce (205) 578-2522

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