Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2016

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MEETING IN THE DESERT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE APPEALING BY SOLOMON HERBERT II Phoenix makes meetings memorable. Hotels and resorts bask in near-perpetual sunshine. Jaw-dropping sunsets paint the desert sky on a nightly basis. And the Phoenix Convention Center sits in the middle of a walkable downtown filled with independent restaurants, craft brewpubs and live-music venues. In some cities a giant concrete box passes for a convention center. Not in Phoenix. Inspired by the red-rock walls and turquoise waters of the Grand Canyon, the Phoenix Convention Center is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated convention centers in the United States. Its interconnected campus includes three ballrooms, 99 meeting/breakout rooms, a 2,300-seat performance hall and an Executive Conference Center. As well as being a great destination for business meetings Phoenix offers ameni- ties and amazing hospitality that can sat- isfy any group. Greater Phoenix's broad spectrum of hotel choices and value- packed summer rates make it a perfect choice for religious meetings and confer- ences. Whether you're planning a 20,000- attendee annual convention or an inti- mate church retreat, the Religious Meetings sales team at Visit Phoenix can steer your event toward success. With its diverse portfolio of conference- friendly resorts, Greater Phoenix has long been a popular destination for medical meetings. Now, thanks to the rise of the spectacular Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the implemen- tation of HCP-compliant pricing at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix offers medical- and science-focused organizations more meeting options than ever. The Phoenix Biomedical Campus — which is home to more than a dozen research facilities — serves as a natural extension of the learning environment provided by the nearby convention cen- ter. The biomedical campus' numerous classrooms and laboratories — all tech- nologically sophisticated and designed for environmental sustainability — offer smart options for off-site meetings and tours. The Sonoran Desert is home to the kind of cactus most people only see in cartoons. The majestic saguaro, found in no other desert in the world, can grow as tall as 50 feet and live as long as 200 years. And you don't nec- essarily need hiking boots or a moun- tain bike to see one: Professional out- fitters are happy to put adventurous sightseers in the saddle of a horse, the seat of a Jeep, the basket of a hot-air balloon or the harness of a glider. Be sure to reach out to James Jessie if you are c o n t e m p l a t i n g bringing a meeting to Phoenix. Jessie, senior VP of Sales at the Greater Phoenix CVB, will make sure his team provides you with all f the support services you need to make your event there successful. While in Phoenix, if time permits from a busy schedule of meetings to attend, delve into the city's rich African-American culture. With dozens of historical sights to visit attendees are guaranteed to leave with a better understanding of African- American's influence in "Arizona's Urban Heart". In the early half of the 20th century, the segregated and growing African- American middle class developed its own community of businesses, from restaurants to hotels and barbershops. In 1946 the William H. Patterson Elks Lodge No. 477 was established and became a popular gathering place for the community as well as an Elks Lodge for the Black men of the com- munity. The Paul Lawrence Dunbar School was established in 1925, by the Phoenix Union Elementary School District to accommodate African-American stu- dents during these racially segregated times. The school was named after the famous African-American poet, novelist and playwright. He was also one of the first blacks to gain national attention as a poet. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is located in the middle of the Phoenix area, less than ten minutes from downtown, and within 20 miles of almost all of our towns and cities. B M & T ••• September/October 2016 ••• 37 Phoenix Convention Center interior • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel 1,000 Hyatt Regency Phoenix 693 Renaissance Phoenix Downtown 520 Westin Phoenix 242 Hotel Palomar 242 EXHIBITION FACILITIES The Phoenix Convention Center Total Exhibit Space 900,000 sq. ft Meeting Rooms 99 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Visit Phoenix (877) CALLPHX or (602) 254-6500 Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce – (602) 307-520079009 AREA GUIDES P H O E N I X Photo Credit: Phoenix C.C. J A M E S J E S S I E

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