The Greater Phoenix area, with its booming economy and vibrant community spirit, sports 180 golf courses. Phoenix's downtown, revitalized with new sports facilities, also has new shops, restaurants, brew pubs, and sports bars. Adjacent to the America West Arena, where the NBA and the NHL play, the domed Bank One Ballpark, known as BOB, is now home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to a new art museum and science center, the Heard Museum has just opened a new wing, enlivening the art and cultural scene.

On the medical front, the Mayo Clinic has expanded its presence in the Greater Phoenix area. In addition to its renowned clinic, a new hospital has recently opened and the Mayo Clinic has established a women's health center. The Greater Phoenix area is also home to the Arizona Heart Institute.

Scottsdale keeps building on its reputation for world-class resorts, serious shopping, and fine dining. The addition of Arizona's first Nordstrom department store to Scottsdale Fashion Square has generated excitement, and the art scene has been enhanced by the opening of the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum.

Tucson is experiencing a downtown renewal that includes a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion of the Tucson Museum of Art, known for its pre-Columbian artifacts and western art.

GREATER PHOENIX hotel news wThe financial deal for a long-awaited major downtown Phoenix hotel has been finalized. The $167 million, 31-story Marriott at Collier Place, with 20,000 square feet of meeting space, is scheduled for a 2001 completion.

wWigwam Resort this year celebrates its 70th anniversary, and its signature Arizona Kitchen restaurant has earned a Mobil Four Star Award for the fourth consecutive year. Sited on 463 acres of Sonoran desert, Wigwam Resort has 331 adobe casitas, three golf courses, and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. The 10,000-square-foot Sunset Point is the Wigwam's 1880s western-style town specifically designed for theme functions. Group activities include a cattle drive.

* Chaparral Suites Hotel Scottsdale is replacing its pavilion with a 23,000-square-foot conference facility. An extensive renovation will be completed in November. The resort has 311 suite-style rooms.

* The 210-room Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is set to open in December, with 9,400 square feet of meeting space.

* The 270-suite Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains has opened in North Scottsdale, with 15,000 square feet of meeting space.

* Resort Suites of Scottsdale has completed its $12 million expansion and renovation, bringing its total number of accommodations to 338 rooms and 488 suites. A new 3,600-square-foot, open-air pavilion has doubled the function space available for groups.

* The 253-room Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas recently completed a $17 million makeover. It included the addition of a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and conference center, bringing its meeting facilities to over 16,000 square feet.

* The 404-room Scottsdale Plaza Resort is completing a $2 million guest room and suite refurbishment. The resort has 30,000 square feet of meeting space.

* Scottsdale Conference Resort will complete a $2 million renovation this month, which includes a new casita pool deck, meeting room lighting, and soft-goods redecoration throughout all public areas. The resort has 325 guest rooms, 12 golf course casitas, and 50,000 square feet of meeting space.

* Radisson Resort & Spa Scottsdale has been acquired by Meristar Resorts, which will renovate the property's 318 guest rooms and common areas. The resort has 30,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a 20,000 square-foot area for outdoor functions, and a 20,000-square-foot wellness center.

* Holiday Inn Old Town Scottsdale completed refurbishment of its 206 rooms and added a restaurant, the Brown Derby Roadhouse. The Holiday Inn has 9,000 square feet of meeting space plus additional outdoor function space.

* Carefree Conference Resort in Carefree completed a $13.5 million expansion. The new 10,000-square-foot meeting room brings total meeting space to 30,000 square feet. Other additions include the 800-seat opera house and 66 new guest rooms, for a total of 249 rooms, suites, and casitas.

* The Tempe Mission Palms recently completed an $11 million renovation that included remodeling its 30,000 square feet of meeting space and 4,000 square feet of outdoor patios, as well as installing a high-tech telecommunications and audiovisual infrastructure. The completion of this renovation qualified Tempe Mission Palms to receive certification by the International Association of Conference Centers.

* The 210-room Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel in Tempe reopened after a seven-month, $6.5 million renovation that expanded its meeting space to 10,000 square feet (for up to 300 attendees), rewired for high-speed Internet access, and added an Executive Club floor.

* In North Scottsdale, Gainey Suites has opened with 164 one- and two-bedroom suites and studios, and 2,000 square feet of meeting space.

important info Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center * (602) 262-6225

* Fax: (602) 495-3642

* www.ci.phoenix.az.us/civplaza.html

The center has 375,000 square feet of flexible meeting space with up to 43 meeting rooms. Its exhibit space totals 221,000 square feet and includes five exhibit halls. There is a 28,000-square-foot ballroom with a 5,000-square-foot multipurpose stage. Symphony Hall seats 2,577.

Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau * (800) 535-8898

* Fax: (602) 235-4415

* www.arizonaguide.com/phoenix

Total Hotel Tax: 10.625% in Phoenix, 9.875% in Scottsdale, 10.025% in Mesa

TUCSON hotel news * By March 2000, the Sheraton El Conquistador Resort and Country Club will add 25,000 square feet of function space, nearly doubling its size. It will include a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, three 500-square-foot conference rooms, and interior and exterior pre-function areas. Also under way is a $2.1 million, 18-month renovation to the resort's golf courses.

* A five-year, million-dollar renovation and expansion at Lazy K Bar Ranch includes refurbishment of the lodge and all guest rooms. A 6,000-square-foot special events venue is set to open this November.

* In the scenic Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, the historic Bellota Ranch, built in 1890, has been renovated. Opened in June, it now operates as a working ranch with about 700 head of cattle. The main ranch house can accommodate up to 24 people.

important info Metropolitan Tucson CVB * (800) 638-8350

* Fax (520) 884-7804

* www.arizonaguide.com/visittucson

Tucson Convention Center * (520) 791-4101

* Fax: (520) 791-5572

* www.ci.tucson.az.us

The convention center has 205,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including 120,000 square feet for exhibits, a 22,500-square-foot ballroom, a 2,277-seat music hall, a 9,700-seat arena, and a 511-seat theater.

SEDONA hotel news * The 225-suite Doubletree Sedona Resort opened last December, with a 10,000-square-foot Executive Meeting Center, an 18-hole championship golf course, and a full-service spa.

* Enchantment in Sedona has completed The Village, a cluster of meeting rooms which includes a 5,000-square-foot ballroom; the Pow Wow Pavilion, divisible into three separate rooms; and an 8,000-square-foot landscaped terrace. Total meeting space is now 12,000 square feet, with 18,000 square feet of outdoor space. Enchantment also added 60 new junior suites, in the project, bringing its inventory to 222 guest quarters.

important info Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce * (800) 288-7336,

* (520) 282-7722

* www.sedonachamber.com

Venue Menu The legendary Wild West. Cowboys and Indians. The roots of Arizona's multicultural, multinational history. All can--and should--be sampled and savored by visitors to the state, from Wild West shoot-outs and cowboy cookouts around a campfire under the stars, to colorful Mexican fiestas and theme parties set at art museums.

* Folks can't get enough of the saguaro-studded Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona and the ambience of the Old West. Exciting inducements for attendees can include vintage train trips, trail rides, desert Jeep and HumVee tours, hot-air balloon rides, and river rafting adventures, both wild and mild.

* Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse is Scottsdale's western theme park. With banquet facilities for groups and an outdoor venue for cowboy cookouts, Rawhide offers staged shoot-outs, a saloon, and specialty stores.

* In Tucson, it's Old Tucson Studios that attracts meeting and incentive groups to its movie-set western streets.

* The Heard Museum, one of the nation's most renowned Native American museums, has recently nearly doubled in size, adding 50,000 square feet of public exhibition space. This cultural treasure of ancient artifacts and Native American art has flexible space for private gatherings accommodating from 50 guests to several thousand. Tours of the exhibits and access to the museum's shops can be offered to those attending private events.

Association Meeting Planners Say The BONES Society, a national association of orthopedic administrators based in Rosemont, Ill., held its May 1999 annual educational conference at the Pointe Hilton South Mountain Resort in Arizona. There were 931 attendees. "This was the first time we've used a resort," says Sheila Duda, society manager. "Normally we hold our meetings at downtown hotels. However, the reaction was so overwhelmingly favorable--98 percent positive in a survey response--that the association is seriously considering coming back."

Duda cites the opportunities to get attendees out of meeting rooms for all-important networking in interesting local venues. The society's opening reception, for example, was held at the new Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix, and another party took place at Rawhide, an Old West theme park in Scottsdale. Giving attendees a real taste of Arizona, from the Southwest food to the unique desert environment, added to the overall favorable response, Duda says.