CHANGING FACES The International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus has named Barbara Brady director of marketing and communications. Brady spent 13 years at the National Spa and Pool Institute in Alexandria, Va., in progressively more responsible positions, including that of manager of communications. Also at the association, Heidi Wunder has been promoted to communications manager and will have major responsibility for IACVB publications, including IACVB News, E-News, media relations and the IACVB Web site, www.iacvb.org.
Speros Batistatos has been named executive director of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. He formerly served as president of the Lake County (Ind.) CVB.
The San Diego CVB recently named Dawn D. Rockas national sales manager, citywide conventions. Rockas' most recent position was national sales manager at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Vickie Van Horn moved from the bureau's travel industry sales department to become sales development manager of the convention sales department. Also at the SDCVB, Christine Shimasaki has been promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing, Kerri Verbeke Kapich to vice president of marketing, and Kevin Kamenzind to vice president of citywide convention sales.
GOING PLACES A new convention center in Oakland, Calif., has 58,300 square feet of convention space plus 15,000 square feet of pre-function space. Located on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay, the Oakland California Convention and Visitors Bureau is a full-service bureau with a $1 million annual budget.
When the Adelaide (Australia) Convention Center expansion opens in September 2001, there will be a total of 99,780 square feet of column-free exhibit space divisible into six halls. The three new exhibit halls are being built adjacent to the existing ones and will be linked to the now-separate convention facility by a glass-enclosed atrium.
Because the existing exhibit halls are carpeted and the new halls will be as well, exhibitors avoid the expense of carpeting and the exhibit halls are suitable as a banquet venue. Consequently, the expansion will increase the facility's banquet capacity to 6,300 from the current 1,800. A riverfront promenade will also be available as function space.
Meeting space in the convention center includes a plenary hall that seats 3,500 people and 11 meeting rooms accommodating 10 to 200 people. There are 1,000 hotel rooms within walking distance, literally across the street from the convention center.
The Convention Center at La Jolla de Mismaloya has opened in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The freestanding center can accommodate more than 600 people in a 7,000 square-foot area divisible for smaller meetings. It has state-of-the art audiovisual equipment and a trained AV staff as well as high-speed telephone lines. A stage, dance floor, and service kitchen are also parts of the facility.
The new convention center will be included in La Jolla's all-inclusive pricing packages. The deluxe, all-suite resort stands alone on beautiful Mismaloya Bay and has the atmosphere of a private club. In addition to the new convention center, terraces around three pools and beside the beach can accommodate more than 1,000 people for receptions and events.
Ground has been broken for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), slated for completion in late 2003. Located on a 60-acre site in the South Boston waterfront, the BCEC will offer 600,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space, a 50,000 square-foot ballroom, and 170,000 square feet of meeting space that includes 80 meeting rooms. A 1,120-room Sheraton hotel will be connected to the center.
Ground was broken in Puerto Rico in April for the new Americas World Trade District, a $600 million public/private investment that represents one of the largest urban waterfront developments in the United States. At the center of the 110-acre district will be the new Puerto Rico Convention Center, a World Trade Center, a first-class headquarters hotel and casino, lush parks, promenades, and a restaurant-lined Grand Canal.
The waterfront convention center, developed with the help of a team of U.S. meeting planners, will open in three phases. The first, scheduled for fall 2002, will include a 150,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art meeting space, and a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. The site is at the tip of Isla Grande, formerly the San Juan Naval Station and Coast Guard base. It is convenient to Old San Juan as well as to the international airport and the Condado hotel and tourist district.
The district goal is to position Puerto Rico as a first-class business destination. "We are entering a new level of the game and playing in a new league," says Jose A. Corujo, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Projections developed for his agency estimate that the center will draw 242,000 attendees in its first year of operation.
"The economic impact of this development is huge for Puerto Rico," Corujo adds, noting that Puerto Rico is ideally positioned to become a leading business center for commerce and conventions, given its central location between North and Latin America.
On Location Meeting in the Garden of Good and Evil The best-selling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt, dramatized in colorful detail Savannah's eccentric personality and historic appeal. Now, Savannah is working its charm on meeting attendees as well as leisure visitors.The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center opened in May on Hutchinson Island, a two-minute water-taxi ride to the city. The facility, which fronts the Savannah River, has 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 25,000 square foot ballroom, a 400-seat multimedia auditorium, and 17 meeting rooms and boardrooms. It is equipped with Category 3 and Category 5 cabling and multiple fiber-optic connections. Corporate groups slated to hold meetings at Savannah's convention center include IBM and Erisa Systems.
Next door is the 403-room Westin Savannah Harbor Resort; adjacent to the hotel is The Club at Savannah Harbor, featuring an 18-hole championship golf course and a Greenbrier Spa.