Page 1

contents M AY / J U N E 2 0 0 8 | V O L / 1 0 | N O / 3



11 | Texas Meeting Destinations Texas Meeting destinations including Houston, Houston-Hilton Americas, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Laredo.

26 | Hispanic Associations The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was formed in 1978 to monitor legislative and government activity that affects Hispanics.

32 | Florida Meeting Destinations Florida Meeting destinations Fort Lauderdale and Kissimmee are at the center of it all.

42 | Top ten Hispanic Meeting Destinations The Top Ten List of Hispanic Association meeting destinations throughout the United States.

4 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

Departments 06 | Editors' Comments 06 | Credits 08 | Industry Briefs


Celebrating Our 10th Anniversary This issue of Hispanic Meetings & Travel celebrates our 10th year of publishing. During that time we have presented "Hispanics in the Industry" to identify our colleagues working within the Visitors & Convention Bureaus, the Convention Centers, and the hotel industry all across the country. We have also presented profiles of outstanding Chefs in Las Vegas and in Napa Valley who are ahead of the game in preparing delicious "Nuevo Latino" cuisine. More importantly we have brought an awareness of the growing Hispanic Meetings and Events Market and the economic value of Hispanic meetings. With thousands of Hispanic associations in the USA, the Travel Industry Association of America estimates the value of the Hispanic Market at over 50 billion annually.

The 10th Anniversary would not be possible without the advertising support we have received. In recognition of that support Hispanic Meetings & Travel celebrates the 10th year by introducing the annual Imagen Advertising Awards. Our readers will determine who will win the Imagen Award during the 13th Annual IAHMP Conference, December 3-7, 2008 in San Diego, California. See page 2-3 for information on how you can win the Imagen Award. THE BEST OF TEXAS - The Lone Star state awaits you. Bigger and better than ever, meeting planners are in for a surprise when they come down south and find sparkling skylines, world-class museums and sport venues, elegant hotels and resorts, and endless beauty. In this issue we begin with the Latin Granny Awards that has selected Houston for it's program this fall. This is an event that has grown in popularity throughout the world, so the focus will be on the nation's fourth largest city when the entertainers hit town. After hosting the event in Miami, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles the 6 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel


L/R Margaret Gonzalez, OJ Hernandez, Sales Manager and Rebecca L. Martinez Director of Public Relations Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. See page 16.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Austin CVB, Chicago CVB, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Dallas CVB, Denver CVB, Fort Lauderdale CVB, Fort Worth CVB,

Latin Granny Awards will be held at the Toyota Center in the heart of the downtown district. Starting on page 11 you can see what Texas has in store for today's meeting planners.

Steven, Gonzalez Margaret Gonzalez, Guadalajara CVB, Hilton Cancun Resort, Houston CVB, Houston Hilton Americas, Kissimmee CVB, Laredo CVB, Las Vegas CVA, Ovations Food Services, Phoenix CVB, San Antonio CVB, San Diego CVB, Destination DC

The Top Ten Cities - Be sure to see the destinations selected by Hispanic associations for their meetings and conventions. Each year, Hispanic associations select a city and hotels to host their events. Some of these events are huge with 10 to 18,000 persons attending. Throughout the year, Hispanic meetings are an important part of the equation that makes up the multi-billion dollar travel, tourism, and meetings industry. See which cities are among the top ten destinations beginning on page 42.

PHOTOGRAPHY Austin CVB, Chicago CVB, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Dallas CVB, Denver CVB, Fort Lauderdale CVB, Fort Worth CVB, Margaret Gonzalez, Guadalajara CVB, Hilton Cancun Resort, Houston CVB, Houston Hilton Americas, Kissimmee CVB, Laredo CVB, Las Vegas CVA, Margil Villarreal Design, Ovations Food Services, Phoenix CVB, San Antonio CVB, San Diego CVB, Destination DC, Margil Villarreal Design.

ADVERTISING SALES OFFICE 1322 Space Park, Suite A258

Focus on Florida - Florida is named for the Spanish feast of flowers and now is the perfect time to plan your meetings in the Sunshine state. In this issue we feature Fort Lauderdale known as the "Venice of America" and Kissimmee an important destination at the center of it all. Explore what they offer and why you should chose to take your next meeting or event to these great destinations in central Florida. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy this issue and will write to tell us what you think.

Margaret González

Happy travels,

Margaret González, Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Houston, Texas 77058 281-333-1755 / 281-333-1996 (fax)

W E B PA G E WEB MASTER - Margil Villarreal Hispanic Meetings & Travel, ISSN # 1527-8387 is owned and published bi-monthly by the GVR Public Relations Agency, Inc. at 1322 Space Park, Suite A258, Houston, Texas 77058. ©1999-2008 All rights Reserved. Hispanic Meetings & Travel cannot by held responsible for unsolicited material. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited material and will return only those accompanied by stamped self-addressed envelope. We reserve the right to edit all copy. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the publisher. Subscription rates: $30.00 per year within the USA, $52.50 in Canada, and $75.00 elsewhere. All subscriptions must be paid in U.S. currency. Single copies: U.S. $5.00, Canada $8.75, and $12.50 elsewhere. Produced in the USA.


N E W * F R E S H * P R O G R E S S I V E

The World Economic Forum on Latin Americawas held at the Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico. The Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort was the backdrop for the World Economic Forum on Latin America which has brought together over 500 senior global leaders from business, politics, government, academia, civil society and the media from 46 countries. More than 100 of the most influential companies in the world descended on the resort to discover and highlight business opportunities as well as discuss the complexity of doing business today in the ever changing global market. The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by

engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. This prestigious meeting was co-hosted by the Government of Mexico under the patronage of President Felipe Calderon.

Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico is greeted by Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort General Manager Carlos Abaunza.


Ovations Food Services and Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Hosted the

"Cinco De Mayo Pachanga" at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center The event was open to the Hispanic Chamber Members and invited guests and featured mariachi bands, folklorico dancers and holiday themed food and beverages along with vendor opportunities. The Ortiz Center is located just inside the Inner Harbor of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel under the spectacular Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge. With a breath taking view of the Inner Harbor and ship channel, the Ortiz center features multiple rooms of varying sizes to accommodate most audiences and an additional 50,000 square feet of outdoor hospitality space. Ovation Food Services, based in Tampa, FL, operates 90 different accounts in 26 states and eight in Canada.

Ovations Food Services takes Cinco de Mayo to new level at Ortiz Center in Corpus Christi, TX. (from left) Melanie Ramos, Administrative/Sales Assistant, Rebecca Hanson, Assistant General Manager, Mary Lou Elizondo-Gonzales, Catering Sales Manager, Jayme Jeffries-Terrell, Catering Sales Manager, Jason Green, General Manager, and Mariachi Huasteca.


CelebrityScoopswith Denver Mayorand GM Servesas Doormanfora Day New Sheraton's in Denverand Dallas Celebrate Reflagging with Unique Events Starwood Hotels & Resorts' Sheraton Dallas and Sheraton Denver both recently shed Adam's Mark past with unique events for associates, guests and customers. To celebrate the Dallas reflagging, Sheraton Dallas general manager Ray Hammer served as Doorman for a Day and greeted guests wearing a brand new Sheraton uniform. The 1,840-room property, located in the heart of the city's rejuvenating downtown core, is the city's largest hotel and offers 230,000 square feet of meeting space and onsite parking for more than 1,200 vehicles. A planned $90M renovation will begin in the fall. To celebrate the Denver reflagging, Sheraton Denver general manager Mike Ehmann hosted Celebrity Scoops- Colorado's Largest Ice Cream Social. Ehmann and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper helped scoop ice cream as well as raise the Sheraton flag. The 1,225-

room property benefits from a premier location adjacent to the 16th Street Mall and within three blocks of the recently expanded Colorado Convention Center. In addition to its 125,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel offers an additional 50,000 square feet of office space in a connected building. A planned $70M renovation will begin in 2009. The Sheraton brand's growth forecast includes more than half a dozen "big box" hotels, and over $160 million in renovations will be invested into the Sheraton Denver and Sheraton Dallas properties, adding more than 3,000 rooms and 360,000 square feet of meeting space to the brand. These hotels will reflect Sheraton's brand positioning of providing comfortable spaces where guests can connect with one another through socialization and networking.

Who’s the man? Dan.


The meeting was a huge success. So was Dan. He promised high-style in a small city when he brought the meeting to Norfolk, Virginia. Now Dan’s “The Man.” And everyone knows it. Contact the NCVB today and start planning your next meeting.


10 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

Albuquerque CVB Receives Public Relations Awards The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) was honored with two gold awards at the annual Cumbre Awards Dinner for the New Mexico Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The ACVB's gold awards recognized the website in the website tactic category, and the ACVB Press Tours earned a gold award in the media relations tactic category. The website tactic award recognized great design, functionality and successful marketing, with huge increases in web traffic. Comparing 2006 to 2007, user sessions are up 51%, unique visitors are up 36%, search engine referrals have increased 117% and total page views are up 263%. Recent efforts have moved the ACVB website up 335 positions in various search engine categories. ACVB travel media relations efforts were recognized because of substantial increases in media coverage in 2007 over 2006 - 19% increase in number of articles, 21% increase in circulation and 57% increase in advertising equivalency. The additional coverage was due in large part to the success of press tours, contributing to increased exposure for the city of Albuquerque as a travel destination. Megan Mayo, ACVB's Communications Manager, was also named the Ted B. Sherwin "Member of the Year." The Ted B. Sherwin Award is presented annually to a member of the chapter who has gone above and beyond in their service to the chapter over the past year. Mayo has served on the chapter board as vice president of membership and secretary. In the nomination, it was noted that as a past Cumbre Awards Chair, Mayo has been instrumental to the development and progression of the New Mexico Chapter. The Cumbre Awards Banquet brings public relations practitioners from around New Mexico together to celebrate the work of their peers in a variety of industries and markets. Awards are given in two categories: tactics and campaigns. Entries are judged based on a standard of excellence scale and are not judged against other entries. This year's entries were judged by the New Orleans Chapter of PRSA.


Texas Destinations

HOUSTON THE FOURTH LARGEST CITY IN THE NATION WILL HOST 2008 LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS The 9th Annual Latin GRAMMY速 Awards will be broadcast live from the Toyota Center in Houston on Thursday, November 13, 2008. This marks the first time Houston will host the premier international showcase of Latin music. The Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony previously has been held in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas. This important event recognizes and celebrates excellence in Latin music and will feature performances from the most prestigious names in the Latin music industry. ABOUT HOUSTON - The fourth largest city in the United States (trailing New York, Los Angeles and Chicago), is a thriving arts nexus and is rich in diversity. Home to world-class museums, acclaimed galleries and internationally renowned performing arts, the city boasts first-rate shopping, top-notch restaurants and a sophisticated but very eclectic

nightlife. According to the Travel Industry Association of America, Houston ranks among the nation's top 10 cities visited by HispanicAmericans, making it an ideal location for the Latin GRAMMYs. ABOUT TOYOTA CENTER - Home to the NBA's Houston Rockets and the IHL's Aeros the Toyota Center is the newest premier sports and entertainment facility located in the heart of downtown Houston. The state-of-the-art facility can accommodate up to 19,000 guests in the arena and contains over 60,000 square feet of private event spaces. The 9th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will air live on the Univision Television Network on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. Additionally, the telecast will be seen globally in more than 100 countries. | HM&T 11

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Who's whoat the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau Greg Ortale President and CEO Greg Ortale assumed the helm of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau in December. A 35-year industry veteran, he returns to Houston following his role as president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. Ortale served as executive vice president and general manager of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Council from 1979 to 1987. Mr. Ortale is passionate about introducing younger generations to the hospitality industry. In Minneapolis he helped establish the Minneapolis Academy of Tour and Travel, a magnet high school that has led numerous students into the hospitality profession. Mr. Ortale graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science.

Ken Middleton Vice President of Sales Ken Middleton is Director of Sales at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Middleton previously held positions as Director of National Accounts at the St. Louis CVB and sales manager at the Indianapolis CVB. Mr. Middleton has received numerous awards for sales production and performance and is an active member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and a Corporate Board of Advisors member of the International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals. He is also a member in MPI, IAEM, IACVB, ASAE, PCMA and CESSE. He received his B.A. in Economics from Indiana University in 1984.

Jorge Franz Vice President of Tourism Jorge Franz is Vice President of Tourism for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau where he oversees international promotion for the City of Houston. Mr. Franz also manages tourism outreach to travel professionals both domestically and internationally and directs a staff of seven individuals, along with three contracted Houston CVB offices in Mexico, Germany and Japan. Jorge Franz is currently vice chair of the Governor of Texas' Tourism Advisory Committee and secretary of the board for the Houston Image Group. He also sits on the Mayor of Houston's "International Traveler Task Force" and "China Tourism Task Force" and works with various Houston organizations on issues pertaining to international tourism. Jorge Franz was born in Santiago, Chile and has lived in Chile, Venezuela, Spain and the United States. He enjoys traveling immensely and thinks he has one of the best jobs in the world. He has a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications from the University of Houston and has been a proud Houstonian and Texan for more than 25 years.

Daniel Palomo Deputy Director of International Tourism and Group Sales Daniel Palomo is the Deputy Director, International Tourism and Group Sales for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau where he has implemented a business network in Mexico and Latin America and developed international group sales in the Asian and European markets to position Houston as a premier travel and convention destination. Before joining the Bureau, Mr. Palomo worked as Marketing/Strategy Director for the State of Mexico Office for North America and tourism diplomat at the Mexico Tourism Board based at the Consulate General of Mexico in Houston. Born in Sonora, Mexico he has lived and studied in Mexico, Spain, Belgium, UK, Colombia, Chile and the US. He received three scholarships from the governments of Mexico and Spain to pursue postgraduate studies in the E.U. and the Americas. He has a degree in Industrial Engineering from the ITESM in Mexico; an MBA from ESADE business school in Barcelona and the KU Leuven in Belgium and a MSC in Politics of Development in Latin America at the London School of Economics. Mr. Palomo was a PhD in Government candidate at the LSE and PhD in Management candidate at ESADE. He has lived in Houston for the past 8 years with his wife Joselin, 5 year old daughter Ivana and 2 year old son named Daniel.

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Downtown Houston Hotel Goes Green his month, Earth Day will be celebrated around the world as more and more people come to the realization that we must conserve and protect our planet's finite resources. Some of our resources' greatest threats come from what we throw away everyday. Through recycling, composting and planning, we can all take a step toward a better future…a greener future. Hilton Americas-Houston, in support of the global green initiative, is going green and taking steps to do their part to preserve our environment. As one of the first hotels in the city to Go Green, Hilton Americas-Houston is taking the lead in the Green Movement in the city's hospitality and tourism sector. As a relatively newly built property, many of the features originally built into the hotel are already green-compliant, thus giving the hotel an edge as the leader of the movement. Other, older properties must do expensive rehabs or remodels in order to bring those properties up to the green level at which the Hilton AmericasHouston already exists. As many meeting planners now make their site-selection decisions based on a venue's commitment to environmentally friendly practices, green hotels are the way of the future. According to a recent survey, 67% of meeting planners take environmental issues into consideration when selecting a meeting destination. A recent Google-search for "green meetings" found more than 27,000 entries that include information on green initiatives and how to plan a green meeting. The green topic has become such a major focus of meeting industry associations that even more structured organizations are evolving to facilitate the venue-choice processes. Since 1995, Green Seal has promoted the use of environmentally responsible products and practices within U.S. lodging properties. Hilton Americas-Houston is putting into place multiple additional green


14 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

practices in order to become a Green Seal property. In addition to recycling and composting to minimize paper and food waste and using materials made from post-consumer recycled content, Hilton Americas-Houston has also begun many innovative programs to reduce waste in other areas including offering guests the option to reuse their towels and linens for multiple nights in an effort to reduce the quantity of laundry loads, thus reducing not only energy consumption but also waste water output. Also, disposable food service items such as plates, cups and utensils are being replaced with washable, reusable or biodegradable items. Additionally, Hilton Americas-Houston is using energy efficient lighting and is making the move to turn off lights in areas that are not occupied. By installing programmable on/off timers in low traffic and low occupancy areas, the wasteful consumption of energy in all areas of the hotel is being reduced. Each step, seemingly small by itself, brings us closer to an ultimate goal. Step by step, we can all move forward into our future…our green future. Directly connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Hilton Americas-Houston contains the city's largest number of guestrooms, ballrooms, hotel meeting space and the most technologically advanced services available under one roof. Conveniently located between Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park and directly across the street from Discovery Green, this AAA Four Diamond rated hotel boasts 1,203 luxuriously appointed guestrooms, 91,500 square feet of flexible meeting space, three restaurants, lobby bar, coffee emporium, and full service spa and health club.

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

San Antonio Expands its Famed RiverWalk an Antonio recently began a $216 million improvement project to lengthen the River Walk from two to 13 miles-making it the nation's largest linear park. Currently, this two mile stretch flows through downtown's central business district, winding alongside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, hotels, sidewalk cafes, theaters and historic locales. Designed to evoke Venice, the River Walk has helped craft the city's economy and inspire its culture. The planned extension will connect the original River Walk to San Antonio's four Spanish colonial missions to the south (the Mission Reach) as well as to museums, the historic Pearl Brewery and cultural attractions to the north (the Museum Reach). Scheduled for an early 2009 completion, the Museum Reach will include walkways, overlooks, boat landings, stairs, accessible ramps, lighting, signage, additional water features, benches and pocket parks. By 2014, the more bucolic Mission Reach will offer serene, natural environments, an enhanced aquatic habitat, over 20,000 new trees and acres of native landscaping. Features will also include trails and pedestrian bridges. Projected benefits from this expansion include flood damage reduction; an increased quality of life due to the added charm to San Antonio's already unique character; cultural connections as the expansion will link people, neighborhoods, cultural resources and San Antonio's historic missions; as well as the immense potential for further economic development along and adjacent to the river improvements. For more information on San Antonio, contact the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-ALAMO-07 or go to


San Antonio Welcomes the Grand Hyatt San Antonio recently welcomed the highly-anticipated Grand Hyatt hotel with 1,003 rooms on the River Walk, adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. This prime location makes it a big draw for both business and leisure travelers. The Grand Hyatt's soaring architecture and glass-dominated design have made a stunning addition to the San Antonio skyline. Inside, a lavish dĂŠcor immerses guests in a Latin meets contemporary art theme. This feel is carried throughout the hotel's meeting space, rooms, and common 16 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

areas and even into its dramatic, river-level bar and restaurant. Here you will find "Pan Latino" dishes that showcase the rich culinary heritage of Mexico, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. Rooms at the Grand Hyatt live up to their luxurious reputation with flat panel HD TVs, impressive furnishings, impeccable views of the city and much more. The hotel's unique blend of amenities and services includes a fully-equipped gym with a heated outdoor lap pool, Perks coffee and 24-hour shop. The Grand Hyatt's location adjacent to the Convention Center makes it an ideal hotel, adding to the city's ability to host large meetings and conventions. The Grand Hyatt features 115,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space, much of which overlooks the famed River Walk; 29 meeting rooms; a 32,000-square-foot main ballroom and a 21,000-square-foot ballroom. The Grand Hyatt's 1003 guest rooms brings San Antonio's total guest room count up to almost 36,000 with more than 12,500 located in beautiful downtown.

The Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa The Grand Hyatt joins the outstanding Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa which opened last year as the two newest Hyatt properties in the San Antonio market. When you stay at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort you step into a world of timeless charm that builds upon the heritage of the original Rogers-Wiseman Ranch where the resort is built. A four-diamond pampering awaits guests who will delight in the exquisite amenities, including 27 holes of championship golf, a world-class Windflower spa and four-acre water park. The Resort also features extensive dining options, event space and unmatched service. Both Hyatt properties recently hosted media representatives to showcase the outstanding locations for travel and leisure, as well as for hosting meetings and events. Learn more about all of San Antonio's outstanding accommodations at or by calling 800-THE-ALAMO.

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Austin, Texas - The Live Music Capital of the WorldÂŽ ustin, Texas may be the State Capital and the seat of government, but it's also the city where Willie Nelson got his start and home to hundreds of other talented musicians who take the stage in September for the renowned Austin City Limits Music Festival. But you don't need to wait for the festival; Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World" where day or night, weekday or weekend, you can always find something playing. And live music is just the beginning for this centrally located City "Deep in the Heart of Texas. Austin is also home to the University of Texas and its famed Texas Longhorn Band. As the largest university in the state its students and faculty add to the charm and excitement of the capital city, unless the politicians are also in town. When not at the State Capital, these guys and gals can be found at the Driskill Hotel one of the oldest attractions where deals are crafted and votes are gathered for the next sweet deal to benefit some lucky Texans. In 1934, Lyndon Baines Johnson, America's future president met his future wife Lady Bird at a breakfast in the Driskill Hotel. Said to be haunted, the Driskill Hotel also contains some important historical artifacts. Like the Austrian gold leaf framed mirrors meant to be placed in the Royal Palace in Mexico City for Carlotta wife to Emperor Maximilian sent by Napoleon to rule Mexico. When you stay at the Driskill you surround yourself in its beauty and enjoy its history.


The Austin City Limits Music Festival on September 26-28, 2008 at Zilker Park in Austin, provides a great opportunity to reach out to fans to educate, inform and inspire. This year's Festival will focus on the environment, and feature three days of music on eight stages with 130 bands performing. There will be a special area within the festival grounds to showcase select local non-profit organizations that relate to this effort. If your nonprofit fits these criteria, please provide an overview of your efforts and send it to:

Tickets Tickets provide access to all Festival areas, including the music stages, Austin Eats Food Court, and SoCo Art Market. See 3-Day ticket holders must exchange their ticket for a weekend wristband. Wristbands are non-transferable, non-exchangeable and cannot be replaced. Wristbands must be worn for entry into the park. Children 10 and under are free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. The Driskill Hotel is managed by Destination Hotels & Resorts, is part of a collection of distinctive, independent, upscale hotels and resorts in the United States offering .exceptional recreation opportunities and conference facilities. The hotel is located at 604 Brazos Street in downtown Austin. The hotel features 189 guestrooms and suites, with 18,080 square feet of flexible meeting space and event facilities. Driskill is also home to the renowned Driskill Grill and 1886 CafĂŠ and Bakery. 18 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

Food & Art Austin Eats Food Court Information Sample the excellent local cuisine at the Austin Eats Food Court. A list of the 2007 vendors is available along with info about vending. The SoCo Art Market features Austin's vibrant and vital creative community. Visit the SoCo Art Market page for info about vending. Over 300 Artists will be featured. For a listing visit the web site at

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Large numberof Hispanic-owned businesses and teamwork earn Dallas the 2010 U.S. Hispanic Chamberof Commerce annual convention he large concentration of Hispanic-owned businesses in Dallas as well as an innovative partnership between the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce led to the city being chosen to host in 2010 the largest group of Hispanic business owners in the United States. The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Annual National Convention and Business Expo should contribute an anticipated $10 million to the local economy. The last time Dallas hosted the USHCC convention was in 1992. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert will join Dallas CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones and a group of Hispanic community and business leaders at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Flag Room at City Hall to discuss what the convention means to Dallas. Other presenters include Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President CiCi Rojas, GDHCC Chairman Frank Rosello, GDHCC Past Chairman Chris Langmayer and USHCC board member and Region 3 Chair Nina Vaca. "On behalf of the USHCC Board of Directors and our 200 local chambers nationwide, we look forward to working with local business and government leaders to host what will be one of the most successful national conventions on record," said David C. Lizรกrraga, chairman of the board for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of - Nina Vaca, CEO, Pinnacle Technical Resources Commerce.


"It is an honor to be a part of the ninth largest city in the nation and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area where the trailblazing opportunities are endless for minorities and entrepreneurs to advance their future and business,"

According to the USHCC, Dallas was chosen as the 2010 convention site in part because of its large concentration of Hispanic residents and Hispanic-owned companies. According to the state census, one-third of Dallas' population is Hispanic, and there are 55,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the state of Texas. "It is an honor to be a part of the ninth largest city in the nation and part of the fourth-largest metropolitan area where the trailblazing opportunities are endless for minorities and entrepreneurs to advance their future and business," said Nina Vaca, who is also CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc. The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau teamed with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2004 to approach the USHCC with a proposal to host the national convention. Since then, the Dallas Hispanic chamber and the Dallas CVB worked to bring together a group of influential Latino community leaders and support to court the USHCC. The process included a substantial Dallas presence at past USHCC conventions and a site visit by the site selection committee, which were sponsored by American Airlines, the State Fair of Texas, Hyatt Reunion Dallas, Dallas Convention Center and Hilton Anatole Hotel. "Over the last several years, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has formed a strong partnership to aggressively sell Dallas to the Latino market nationally and internationally," said Phillip Jones, President and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This announcement underscores that success, and we predict this will be the first of many that will benefit Dallas and the North Texas region." The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-which has been named the Chamber of the Year by the USHCC several times-will play an important role in ensuring the convention in 2010 is a resounding success, said GDHCC President CiCi Rojas, who as president of the GDHCC was involved in bringing the convention to Dallas. "We are very proud to have been chosen as a host city for the USHCC because it is, in part, a recognition of the growth and success of Hispanic-owned businesses in the Dallas area. Hosting the convention will enhance our city's reputation as a top center of Hispanic business activity and development," said GDHCC Chairman Frank Rosello. "The chamber and its more than 1,900 members have worked very hard to promote Hispanic-owned businesses, and the 2010 Annual Convention and Business Expo will give us the opportunity to showcase the many thriving programs and inspiring stories we have in Dallas," said GDHCC President CiCi Rojas.

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Themed Itineraries Include: "THE CULTURED COWBOY" This tour theme makes the most of Fort Worth's three distinct entertainment districts. Start your tour in the Stockyards National Historic District where you will experience daily longhorn cattle drives, an authentic cattle auction, a live rodeo, or watch a leather craftsman tool a handmade saddle or pair of boots. Drop by the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and see the Sterquell Wagon Collection. Have a meal at one of the great restaurants, enjoy a drink and live music at one of the famous honky-tonks and stroll through some of the country's best Western shopping. Just a few miles from the Stockyards, discover the Fort Worth Cultural District where you will visit five of the most acclaimed museums in the Southwest: Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. As you head from the Cultural District to Sundance Square in historic Downtown Fort Worth you will make a stop at the Cattle Raisers Museum before taking in the great cafés, restaurants, theatres and shopping in this beautiful revitalized area. This area, called "Hell's Half Acre" in the days of the great cattle drives, is now a place where you can polish your best boots and head to the opera, a Broadway musical or a Willie Nelson concert.

Fort Worth "Where the West Begins" ort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas and the eighteenth-largest city in the United States. Situated in North Texas, Fort Worth covers nearly 300 square miles in Tarrant and Denton counties and serves as the county seat for Tarrant County. The 2006 U.S. Census estimates Fort Worth population at 653,320. The city is the second-largest cultural and economic center of the Dallas-Fort WorthArlington metropolitan area (commonly called the Metroplex), the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with a population of 6.8 million in sixteen counties. Fort Worth was established in 1849 as a protective Army outpost overlooking the Trinity River. The city of Fort Worth today still embraces its western heritage and traditional architecture and design more than its more contemporary neighbor, Dallas. You'll find evidence of its legendary past everywhere you go - downtown's Sundance Square, the Cultural District, and especially the Fort Worth Stockyards are among the many places to visit and exciting destinations for planning meetings and events From a daily cattle drive to the annual Fort Worth Stock Show, no other city offers so many ways to relive the areas glorious Western heritage. Known as the city "Where the West Begins" Fort Worth is a must visit destination.


Some of the areas unique sites include: • Billy Bob's Texas • Cowtown Coliseum • Equestrian Events • Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drives • Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo • Fort Worth Western History • Grapevine Vintage Railroad • Log Cabin Village • Ranches • Museums-Western Heritage • Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival • Texas Frontier Forts Days • Texas Trail of Fame • White Elephant Saloon • Will Rogers Memorial Center 22 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

"CITY SLICKERS IN COWTOWN" This tour theme gives city folks a chance to experience the best of the old west cowboy days. Start your tour in the Stockyards National Historic District (as detailed above) then move on to the Sundance Square Historic Downtown where you will make a stop the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art before visiting the Cattle Raisers Museum. From there you can try to catch one of the many great horse and livestock shows at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the Fort Worth Cultural District. After all of this cowboy fun in Cowtown you can visit one of the nearby Working Ranches for a chuck-wagon lunch or dinner with a cowboy singer entertaining you around the campfire. Ranch visits can be designed to include line-dancing lessons and mini-rodeos. Meeting and event planners will discover that in Fort Worth the CVB can provide as much cowboy adventure as you think your group can handle. Contact: Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau 415 Throckmorton Fort Worth, TX 76102 Ph: 817.336.8791 Ph: 800.433.5747

COVER STORY | Texas Destinations

Laredo - Meeting at the Crossroads of twogreat nations Laredo was founded in 1755 in the area of a Spanish Colony of New Spain. In 1840, Laredo was the capital of the Independent Republic of the Rio Grande. After the Mexican-American War, Laredo was ceded to the United States under the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In 2005, Laredo celebrated its 250th Anniversary. Laredo is one of the oldest border crossings and today, the nation's busiest in land port.

Each year Laredo hosts several major events including The Washington's Birthday Celebration held during the 3rd week of February, The Miss Texas USA Pageant, held during June, and The Laredo International Sister Cities Festival - held during the last week of January. Meeting in Laredo is about including a historic city as part of your meeting and embracing everything it has to offer. Laredo offers 3,976 hotel rooms. In the heart of Laredo's historic district, the Spanish-colonial style La Posada Hotel/Suites overlooks the Rio Grande. The recently opened 150-room Embassy Suites is located just across shopping at Mall del Norte. The 202-room Holiday Inn is walking distance from the Laredo Civic Center. New all-suite hotel properties include the Homewood Suites, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites and Staybridge Suites. With more

hotels than ever, Laredo has the accommodations options you need. The Laredo Civic Center offers modern, spacious facilities for conventions, stage shows, trade exhibits, and social events. The complex consists of a large auditorium, a 24,470 square foot banquet and exhibit hall, and four meeting rooms. It is centrally located, accessible by I-35, and then minutes from historic downtown Laredo, the two international bridges, and Laredo International Airport. The auditorium has seating capacity of 1, 979 with a permanent stage, orchestra shell, four group dressing rooms and two star dressing rooms. The auditorium lobby has box office accommodations and a refreshment area. The banquet and exhibit hall accommodate 1,200 to 1, 500 people with 24, 470 square feet of exhibit space. The air-conditioned hall has full kitchen facilities, a public address system, light control equipment, and direct lighting. Four meeting rooms are also available at the Center and can be rented separately. Each room can accommodate up to 65 people. Two of these rooms can also be converted into one larger area. After the meeting schedule there are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop. Attendees can enjoy a wide range of cuisine from fine dining to great tasting Mexican food. Laredo also has a variety of bars and lounges for after hour cocktails. Laredo has a several great shopping centers including:

Downtown Laredo The Laredo downtown district has stood as the cornerstone of the area's economy for decades and promises to play an increasingly vital role in the city's future developments plans. With its rich history and many cultural jewels, the downtown Laredo business district enchants shoppers as well as tourists year-round from throughout Texas and beyond.

San Bernardo Avenue Laredo's famous San Bernardo Avenue is a 40-plus block collection of countless Mexican import vendors dedicated to promoting Laredo as the shopping attraction for everything uniquely Mexican. Up and down San Bernardo Avenue shoppers can find distinctive products handmade in Mexico from the master craftsmen still practicing a timeless art form unique to their individual regions. Shoppers visiting Laredo have the convenience of exploring Mexico's wealth of crafts and artistry along the San Bernardo Avenue without having to travel and search in the heart of Mexico.

Mall Del Norte Located just off Interstate 35 between Mann Road and Hillside Road in the center of the city, Mall del Norte is the premier shopping destination for South Texas and Northern Mexico. This upscale center showcases over 150 stores amongst an expanded and renovated Food Court - offering great fast food fare as well as several great dining options such as Logan's Roadhouse, Luby's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Tony Romas. Stores include Bealls, Dillard's, Foley's, JCPenney, Joe Brand, Mervyn's, Sears, bebe, Guess?, Hollister and Sharper Image. For more information on planning your next meeting in Laredo contact the Laredo CVB at 956-795-2200 or online at

24 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel


Hispanic Meetings and Travel Annual Association Report

The Congressional

Hispanic Caucus


he Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) was organized in 1976 by five Hispanic Congressmen Herman Badillo (NY), Baltasar Corrada (PR), E. "Kika" de la Garza (TX), Henry B. Gonzalez (TX) and Edward Roybal (CA), to monitor legislative and government activity that affects Hispanics. The Caucus was originally formed to serve as a legislative organization through which legislative action, as well as executive and judicial actions, could be monitored to ensure the needs of Hispanics were being met. The goal was to work in conjunction with other groups, both inside and outside Congress, to strengthen Federal commitment to Hispanic and heighten the community's awareness

26 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

of the operation and function of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Congressional Hispanic the American political system. In 1978, three members of Caucus members. CHC, Congressman Edward Roybal, Congressman E. "Kika" de la Garza and Congressman Baltasar Corrada established a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization to serve as an educational institute whose programs would serve the national Hispanic community. Since then, CHCI's mission has been to develop the next generation of Latino leaders. The Institute's vision is to have an educated and civically active Hispanic community participating at the local, state and federal policy decision-making levels.


As the premier national Hispanic educational organization, CHCI seeks to accomplish its mission by offering educational and leadership development programs, services and activities that promote the growth of participants as effective professionals and strong leaders. In the spirit of building coalitions, CHCI seeks to establish partnerships with other Hispanic and non-Hispanic organizations. Today, CHCI has developed into an organization with programs and services that have successfully developed effective leaders, both in public and private sectors, through CHCI's Alumni Association.

HM&T - In addition toyourannual meeting whatotherprograms and events doyou haveeach year? CHCI - The Institute offers competitive nationally recognized leadership development programs to Latino students and young professionals. The following is a listing of programs CHCI has to offer: • Scholarship Awards • Public Policy Fellowship Program • Graduate and Young Professional Fellowship Program • Congressional Internship Program • Ready to Lead - national and regional leadership workshop for high school students • Student leadership and recruitment workshops • Online educational and career clearinghouse In addition to its programs, CHCI hosts premier events during Hispanic Heritage Month and throughout the year that gather together some of the nation's most prominent Members of Congress, leading policy experts, national celebrities, corporate leaders and nonprofit advocates. Listed below are CHCI events: • Annual Awards Gala • Public Policy Conference • Reyes of Comedy Night • Fiesta de Golf • Regional Events

Through its programs, services, and events CHCI has brought to fruition the original goal of its founding members. CHCI firmly believes it is vitally important for Hispanics to be provided with ongoing tools necessary to compete in today's rapidly changing business environment more than ever since the Hispanic community is the fastest growing and youngest segment of the U.S. population. The Institute hopes to continue challenging corporate America to join in the Institute's efforts in providing young Hispanics the opportunity to explore new areas of educational development, both in the private and public sectors.

EstherAguilera, Presidentand CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Esther Aguilera is President and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a position she has held since November 2004. She has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America, presented with Hispanic Magazine's 2006 Latina Excellence Award in Education, and was featured in Latino Leaders Magazine's 2007 women's issue for her positive impact in the Hispanic community. Aguilera's unique expertise - derived from extensive senior management experience in corporate, public affairs, policy, legislation, fundraising and the non-profit sector - makes her a sought out expert. Under Aguilera's leadership, CHCI continues to aggressively expand national programs and services to Hispanic college and graduate students - growing the organization's annual budget. She began her career in Washington, DC in 1990 as a policy analyst for the National Council of La Raza, a prominent national think tank, with extensive national policy development and research responsibilities leading Aguilera to author several major publications. Aguilera was executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a legislative group on Capitol Hill, whom she worked for from 1993-98. Her responsibilities included legislative and relationship building among congressional, White House and constituency allies. In October 1998, Aguilera was appointed to serve as senior advisor to Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and executive director of the Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Office. Under Secretary Richardson, Aguilera developed senior policy recommendations leading to the implementation of a nationwide Hispanic outreach program, increased DOE's small business contracting, established longterm partnerships with business leaders and launched the first DOE small business conference, now an annual event. Prior to joining CHCI, Aguilera served as Principal at the Dewey Square Group, a nationally renowned public affairs firm, directing strategic national projects for a variety of Fortune 100 companies, trade associations and non-profits. Aguilera has also led strategic membership fundraising for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, exceeding fundraising goals while implementing national outreach programs. She has been a featured speaker at numerous national conferences and forums, including Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, National Council of La Raza, Latina Style Magazine, among others. She holds a BA in Public Policy from Occidental College, Los Angeles. A native of Mexico, Aguilera's family relocated to Los Angeles in 1972 under hardship conditions. The goal, a better life with education opportunities. Overcoming numerous obstacles, today the Aguilera's have achieved the American dream. | HM&T 27


Congresswomen Grace Napolitano with CHCI Ready to Lead participants in Washington, D.C.

HM&T - Whatdoyou think is theeconomicvalueofyour meeting? HM&T is using thefollowing formula togauge the value: Numberofattendees, averagecost of R/T airfare, ground transportation, numberof hotel room nights, average costof sleeping rooms, numberof meal events at the hotel, costof meeting space rental, costofexhibit space rental, off-site events, and decorating company, other‌

HM&T - Doyouworkwiththe Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB)? Do the CVB'scourtyourbusiness? Doesthe CVB helpto hostyourmeeting? How? Doesthe CVB helpwithregistrationoris registrationoutsourced?

CHCI - The economic value of the meeting runs between $1.4 and $1.5 million.

CHCI - No. CHCI currently has an RFP requesting to outsource registration. This will be the first year for outsourcing.

Because this is an election year and much attention is on the Hispanic vote, the impact of the Latino vote is expected to be even bigger. On average, CHCI has 800 participants at its annual conference, but this year, CHCI is anticipating over 1,000 participants. The cost of R/T airfare is approximately $400 per person. The total number of hotel rooms reserved for the annual meeting is close to 600 at an average cost of $280/ night. After CHCI moved the annual events to the Washington Convention Center (WCC), hotel catering was replaced by the WCC. During the CHCI annual conference and Gala week, the Institute also holds events off-site from the WCC.

HM&T - Inselecting a hotel doyoudothe sitevisitsordoyou haveathird-partywho does itforyou? Doyouusethesame brand hotel ordoyouchooseadifferent hotel brand eachyear? Doesthe hotel helpthe association inanyway (rebates, hosta reception, pick-up board membersatthe airport, and amenitiesforVIP's, etc.)?

HM&T - How is the site selected (City, Hotel, Convention Center)? Do you make the decision or does the Board make the decision? CHCI - The selection is based on location and quality. Most of the Institute's events are in the D.C. area because a large portion of its constituency is within the National Capital Region. For meetings 28 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

in other locations, CHCI uses the same formula to select event sites. Event staff collaborates with Board members to decide on city/hotel.

CHCI - Event staff conducts all site visits and selection. The Insti-

tute partners with some hotels, but has no official host. CHCI selects hotels with its Union partners in mind. If the Institute has worked with the hotel properties before and has established professional relationships with its staff, CHCI is assured the services provided will ensure a successful event.


Convention Center. Since America Ferrera, star of the size of the conference Ugly Betty with CHCI Chairman Joe Baca (CA-43). has outgrown the hotel space in the city, CHCI moved it to the convention center where the space was accommodating to a conference of its size. Next year, CHCI will hold its Public Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center again. The Institute selects its conference site on an annual basis.

HM&T - Is thereanything elseyou think is importantaboutyour annual meeting.

HM&T - How earlydoyou begin towork on theannual meeting? How many peoplework with you? Doyou hirean outsidecontractor? CHCI - Preparation typically begins 6-8 months in advance, having

selected the venue a year in advance. In the events department, there are three people on staff-a small department with a big mission to say the least! However, during event season, the entire office staff participates with logistics. For some aspects of CHCI's events, outside contractors are temporarily hired, i.e. event designers, but typically works on the events until completion. The events staff typically works closely with the designer to ensure the desired look is achieved every year.

HM&T - Wherewill your meeting be held thisyear? Nextyear? How manyyears out are sites selected? CHCI - CHCI's Hispanic Heritage Month events are always held in Washington, DC with the event venue changing from year to year. The 2008 Public Policy Conference will be held at the Washington

30 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

CHCI - Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) is one of the most anticipated times of the year for CHCI because it allows the Institute to honor the achievements and contributions Latinos have made to the nation. Since 1977, CHCI has recognized Latino luminaries, veterans, civic leaders, and community activists who display an unparalleled commitment to Latino society. Through its Gala and weeklong conference during HHM, hundreds of sponsors, supporters, and participants actively engage in programs and activities that not only provide educational enrichment as well as fellowship, but also continue to promote the advancement of the next Latino generation as well. It is also a time of cultural exchange as hundreds congregate from all over the world with the collective goal to support CHCI and its mission to prepare future Hispanic leaders.

HM&T - Doyou think the industryvalues the Hispanic meetings market? Explain‌ CHCI - Hispanic organizations are becoming more powerful and more visible especially with the themes of this year's election concerning, immigration, border control and the economy. Hispanic meetings are gaining visibility and attendance due to the interest from not only the Hispanic community, but from the world. This trend is irreversible due to the estimated growth of the overall Hispanic American demographic through 2020, which is projected to double.

Honored veterans during CHCI's Tribute to Veterans Reception at its 2008 Public Policy Conference.

Florida Meetings & Vacations


lorida is named for the Spanish feast of flowers, and stretches more than 400 miles from its state line with Georgia to the Florida Keys. It's famous for its coastline, it’s Everglades, and it’s colorful coral reefs, but there are lesser-known wonders as well. Jeff Ripple writes in Florida the Natural Wonders - “did you know Florida houses one of the largest underwater cave systems in the continental U.S., a type of prairie found nowhere else in the country and an ancient forest system perched on prehistoric dunes? The state possesses great treasures including the Everglades, coral reefs, clear springs, and magnificent forests. It also conceals small jewels, such as tropical tree snails, torreya trees and wild rosemary. And Florida has a soul." 32 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

Florida Meetings & Vacations

The City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

"Venice of America"



ncorporated on March 27, 1911, the City of Fort Lauderdale is situated on the southeast coast of Florida, centrally located between Miami and Palm Beach. Encompassing more than 33 square miles with a population of nearly 190,000, Fort Lauderdale is the largest of Broward County's 30 municipalities and the seventh largest city in Florida. Embraced by the Atlantic Ocean, New River and a myriad of scenic inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale truly lives up to its designation as the "Venice of America." The City of Fort Lauderdale is named for a Second Seminole War fortification built on the banks of New River in 1838. In that year, Major William Lauderdale led a detachment of Tennessee Volunteers south along the east coast of Florida to capture Seminole agricultural lands and battle the elusive Indian warriors. Altogether, three forts named after Major Lauderdale would be constructed: the first at the fork of New Riv-

er; the second at Tarpon Bend; and the largest on the beach at the site of Bahia Mar. None of the forts survive today. There is more historical information at An advantageous economic climate is helping the City of Fort Lauderdale establish itself as a world-class international business center and one of the most desirable locations. Fort Lauderdale also offers visitors a semi-tropical climate, rich with natural beauty an array of cultural, entertainment and educational amenities. Blessed with over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and pleasant year-round ocean breezes, world-famous Fort Lauderdale Beach offers premier opportunities for recreation, relaxation and enjoyment. The picturesque Riverwalk serves as the cornerstone of the City's arts, science, cultural and historic district that features the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery and Science, Museum of Art and Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum. Las Olas Boulevard has gained international acclaim as Fort Lauderdale's centerpiece of fashion, fine dining and entertainment.

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Downtown Fort Lauderdale

On the beach at Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk, “Florida's Most Beautiful Mile� One of the most memorable walks you can take in Fort Lauderdale is on the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. This recently completed linear promenade along the New River in downtown is considered by many "Florida's Most Beautiful Mile," linking boutiques, restaurants, shops and museums with lush, tropical scenery. From the Historic District, including the 1901 trading post now called the Stranahan House, to the exciting Arts & Science District with the Museum of Discovery and Science, Riverwalk reflects the many faces of Fort Lauderdale - past and present. Riverwalk also encompasses Esplanade Park, with interactive navigational and meteorological exhibits, which is located at the foot of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Included along Riverwalk's path you'll find romantic gazebos, a picnic area, native plant exhibits and a butterfly garden. Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk is a "must see" when you are in town. For a free brochure, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 954-828-7275. | HM&T 35

Florida Meetings & Vacations

Fort Lauderdale Beach is Oneof the World's Premier Beachfronts The City of Fort Lauderdale boasts more than seven miles of sparkling beaches that offer visitors premier opportunities for recreation, relaxation and enjoyment. The City's award-winning wave wall and signature beachfront promenade highlight Fort Lauderdale's world famous coastline, which is punctuated by an array of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues. Beachgoers can participate in a wide range of activities from boating, wind surfing, jet skiing and volleyball to snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and rollerblading. Or, if relaxation is what you desire, simply sit back, unwind and enjoy breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue supervises the two miles of continuous public beach from the South Beach Picnic Area up to and including the beach in front of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. In the guarded areas of the beach, there are 15 year-round, permanently staffed lifeguard towers spaced between 200 and 400 yards apart. There are also as many as 10 temporary-auxiliary stands that are used during the peak season, special events and holidays. Additionally, Fort Lauderdale offers a 600,000-square-foot convention center that can play host to trade shows from all over the country. Fort Lauderdale offers a lively downtown, with museums, galleries, live music, and theater and fine restaurants. And for sports-crazed fans, there are seven pro teams to root for in the surrounding area, along with the usual pleasures expected from a city by the sea (sun, surf, sailing, and swimming).

Fort Lauderdale Beach Conditions Hotline: 954-828-4597 Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau 100 East Broward Boulevard, Suite 200 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 (954) 765-4466 o Fax: (954) 765-4467 For a free vacation or Meeting Planning kit call (800) 22 SUNNY. Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau

Airboat Ride at Dusk

Florida Meetings & Vacations

Kissimmee, Florida at the Center of it all! Book Meetings in Kissimmeefor Quality, Knowledgeable Assistance ith the ongoing addition of high-end and flexible meeting space and updates to existing meeting venues throughout Kissimmee, meeting planners see the popular Central Florida destination in a whole new light. Shining brightly for meeting planners is the discovery of what has always been great about Kissimmee: a wide range of accommodations and meeting space from which to choose, as well as exciting add-on options at area attractions and natural adventures. Best of all, they're discovering the friendly, creative and helpful staff at the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau, who work to make even the busiest meeting planner's job easier. Kissimmee's sales and services manager Debby Rivera and her destination services team have enhanced the bureau's existing services to best respond to the growing and unique needs of groups booking in one of the area's venues. "We recognize that as new development is opened, and the size and the type of convention properties are more diverse, a new clientele with new needs is arriving in Kissimmee," said Rivera, a certified meeting planner. "If we give meeting planners all they need to be successful and ensure they have a positive experience from booking to completion of the event, they will want to continue booking meetings in Kissimmee."


The Kissimmee CVB offers traditional services meeting planners have come to expect from a convention and visitors bureau, but the CVB's staff also has extended help in ways that are rare among other Bureaus. These include using unique and proactive ways to create awareness among the client's key constituents in order to increase attendance, for example creating and helping to disseminate a news release announcing the conference. The aim was to increase attendance at the conferences by announcing it was to be held in the popular destination. Kissimmee's housing bureau service also has been popular, allowing attendees to check room rates and availability online, thereby offering a central contact where meeting planners and the CVB can better control room blocks, monitor reservations and provide key information and insight on pick-up, availability, reservations types and more. Over time, Kissimmee will see even more space added to an already impressive inventory that ranges from more than 400,000 square feet to more intimate venues and very unique spaces that are sure to please. Also, many of its longstanding properties have updated their meeting space to appeal to modern meeting planners and their clients.

Couple at Canyon Ranch Spa

Fueling that growth is great meeting space: •

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The award-winning property, with more than 400,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space along with 1,406 guest rooms, is one of Kissimmee's premier meeting properties. The resort also recently launched a comprehensive Green program.

Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. A 730-room golf-adjacent resort features more than 70,000 square feet of meeting space, a 25,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, a 20,000-square-foot Junior Ballroom, 11,000 square feet of pre-function space, more than 16,000 square feet of outdoor function space, 27 meeting rooms and areas to accommodate groups of up to 2,000 delegates. Accommodations at The Villas at ChampionsGate are scheduled to open this summer.

Osceola Heritage Park. This 120-acre multi-purpose facility is another venue that satisfies the demand of meeting planners and attendees visiting Kissimmee. It features, among other things, an 89,500-square-foot Exhibition Building with divisible, column-free exhibit space, flexible meeting space and pre-function space.

Reunion Resort. A 4,700-square-foot Heritage Ballroom is available in the Heritage Crossing section of the sprawling golf resort. Reunion Grande also opened recently 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including a divisible ballroom and three breakout rooms. The resort also offers planners a water park and pristine riding stables to inspire a planner's imagination to create a highly memorable meeting.

Orlando Sun Resort. A longtime Kissimmee favorite property in a prime location near Interstate 4 reopened to fill a need among meeting planners

Gatorland trainer at pit

already familiar with the property and those who will soon discover it. A 921-room resort with 12 suites, the hotel was once known as the Hyatt Orlando and has 60,000 square feet of meeting space. With a new and con-

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

temporary tropical look and offers four pools, numerous breakout rooms and a Latin-flavor dance club. •

Holiday Inn Main Gate East: The world's largest Travelodge has re-emerged after a $10 million renovation project as the Holiday Inn Main Gate East, Kissimmee's newest hotel on the U.S. 192 corridor. The 444 beautifully appointed sleeping rooms compliment perfectly the hotel's colorful new lobby and 3,571-sq.-ft. flexible meeting space.

Radisson Resort Orlando Celebration. This 718-sleeping-room property has warm and inviting meeting space that includes 6,270 square feet of meeting space among eight meeting rooms. It is ideal for small meetings, incentives banquets or trade shows. | HM&T 39

Florida Meetings & Vacations


Poolside at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Local historians have offered many variations of the origin of the city's name. Most agree that Kissimmee is a modern spelling of a tribal word. The book, Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe by Jerald T. Milanich, links "Kissimmee" to a village of the Jororo, one of Florida's lesser-known tribes. Historian John Hann researched Spanish documents about missions established to convert the Jororo and other groups to Christianity in the late 1600s. Spanish records indicate that a mission was built near the tribe's main village, also called Jororo. Another mission was called Atissimi. Milanich writes, "Hann suggests that the name Atissimi, sometimes given as Jizimi and Tisimi, may be the source of the modern place name Kissimmee." A 1752 Spanish map used the name "Cacema," which has evolved into today's spelling of Kissimmee.

Downtown Kissimmee

Kissimmee is conveniently located within a half-hour of Orlando International Airport and has small to large facilities that appeal to all meeting professionals. To request a 2008 Meeting Facilities Guide or for help planning an event in Kissimmee, Call 800-831-1844, ext. 42484 or 407-944-2484 or visit Key people at the Kissimmee CVB include:

Debby Rivera, CMP Sales & Manager Services

Sara Melendez Senior Sales Representative

Find out how the Kissimmee Convention & Sales Services team can save you time and money! Call today: 800-831-1844, ext. 42484 (US/Canada). Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau 1925 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy Kissimmee, FL 34744 in Kissimmee: 407-944-2443 Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm EST, except major holidays.

Historic downtown Kissimmee provides visitors with a variety of shops and dining experiences. In an effort to promote reinvestment in downtown, the Kissimmee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has completed two major streetscapes on Main Street and Broadway and upgrades to the pleasant street parking lot including Toho Square pedestrian plaza and stage where monthly events are hosted by the Kissimmee Main Street Association. The CRA has also restored the Key's Service Station on the corner of Broadway and Drury Avenues. The building was remodeled with furnishings including a 1926 gas pump replica. The Key's Welcome Center includes information about Kissimmee and is home to Breck's Gourmet Cookies.

CHIEF OSCEOLA Chief Osceola was a member of a Native American tribe in Florida. Although most tribes did not oppose the white encroachment, Osceola was furious about the way the Seminoles were treated. He was determined to help maintain the Seminole heritage and homeland. This determination led to his willingness to take a leadership role within the tribe even though he never held the formal title of Chief. The county was named in honor of "Chief" Osceola in 1887, when Osceola County became Florida's 40th county.

Osceola County Names New Tourism Director A seasoned local attorney with over 30 years experience promoting public-use facilities and activities has been selected to lead the Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau, the travel and tourism marketing arm of Osceola County government. Tom Lang began his new duties April 28, filling the director position vacant for nearly a year, announced Osceola County Economic Development Administrator Maria (Grulich) Toumazos. Lang reports directly to Toumazos who characterized him as bringing "a dedicated professionalism that will help us maximize return on our current and future tourism growth and development opportunities." Solid community and organizational management credentials, knowledge of complex transactions and facility management, along with marketing, communication and team-building skills were instrumental in the hiring decision, according to Toumazos. Lang doesn't claim to be a trained tourism veteran but he has been a Floridian for most of his life and has been involved in selling the world on Central Florida's athletic venues for the last 20 years. He is very excited to be taking on the challenge of leading the Kissimmee CVB in concert with the plans and strategies set forth by Toumazos, Osceola County Manager Mike Freilinger and the Osceola County Board of Commissioners. In addition, he plans to garner support and input from local constituent groups such as the Tourist Development Council. "Challenge alone doesn't concern me so much as it excites me," Lang said. "This is an exciting time for Osceola County which is setting in place a foundation for

tourism development and economic growth that will help shape the economic future of the community. "I've met or will be meeting with key CVB staff and I am convinced that we have a team that can lend their extensive experience and talent to the vision for the future, a vision that incorporates aggressive pursuit of growth opportunities within the meetings, convention, groups and sports travel segments." This is not intended to displace the effort to attract the leisure tourist, he said, but it is creating a new emphasis. Lang also is convinced that there are many sources of knowledge and support in the community from which the CVB can draw information and assistance. Since its inception in June 1978, the Kissimmee CVB has promoted Osceola County to mostly leisure travelers, vacationers fascinated by the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, the area's other high-profile theme parks and a host of complementary smaller attractions. Last year's county staff reorganization aligned the CVB's efforts as a tool of economic development and re-directed its strategies toward meetings, conventions, groups and sports. Lang will lead the re-directed effort, calling on over three decades of community involvement while practicing law in Central Florida and on lessons he has learned in a variety of tourism and entertainment related activities. He is a past chairman of the Orlando/Orange County Civic Facilities Authority (Amway Center, Citrus Bowl and Bob Carr); was a member of the committee that brought the World Cup to Orlando in 1994; has represented professional athletes and coaches; has coowned and operated a restaurant; and worked as co-host on radio sports talk. Lang most recently was the president of a company committed to building and marketing privately owned student housing around the United States. He remains active in the local community working with many local organizations, including the University of Central Florida, the Central Florida Zoo, and in youth and senior citizen activities. | HM&T 41


The Top-Ten Hispanic Meetings Destinations of 2008 is determined by the number of Hispanic Association and Organizations holding meetings in these cities. The list changes year to year, as meeting destinations change, we are recognizing these cities as preferred destinations for Hispanics Associations and Organizations.

42 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel


1. WASHINGTON, DC Washington, DC welcomes over 15 million visitors each year generating an estimated 5.4 billion in visitor spending alone. The Greater Washington Region is home to over 4 million square feet of event, exhibit, meeting space, with 2.2 million square feet of event space in DC alone. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center has over 700,000 square feet of exhibit space and 150,000 of meeting room space. Washington DC has over 110 properties and 27,500 hotel rooms. DC's museums and memorials attract tens of millions each year. Groundbreaking for the Marriott Marquis is expected in 2009. The Marriott will serve as the convention center headquarters hotel, the hotel is projected to open in 2012. Some of the Hispanic Associations and Organizations, holding their meetings in Washington DC include HACU, NHBA, NAHFE, and NALEO.

Greater Houston area offers over 60,000 hotel rooms, with over 5,000 room's downtown. The downtown area is also home to Minute Maid Park, and the Toyota Center. The Reliant Center is located in Reliant Park and offers 1.4 million square feet of convention and meeting space. Houston is hosting HENACC and the Latin Grammys in 2008 among many other Hispanic meetings.

2. HOUSTON The Greater Houston area greets over 35 million visitors each year, generating over 10 billion dollars. The George R. Brown Convention Center offers more than 1 million square feet of meeting, registration and convention space. The Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel is the official convention center hotel for Houston, the hotel offers 1,200 guest rooms, meeting and retail space, and skywalks to the George R. Brown Convention Center. The | HM&T 43


3. LAS VEGAS Las Vegas welcomed over 6.2 million convention and trade show delegates in 2007, generating $8.4 billion in non-gaming revenue. Las Vegas has over 9.7 million square feet of convention and meeting space, including the Las Vegas Convention Center's 2 million square feet, Mandalay Bay's 1.5 million -square-foot conference center and the 2.25 million-squarefoot Sands Expo and Convention Center. Las Vegas has over 136,000 guest rooms in close proximity to McCarran International Airport. MGM MIRAGE is building what's being billed as the single largest private investment in U.S. history - the $7 billion CityCenter. Scheduled to open in 2009, the 66-acre development will include a 60-story, 4000-room hotel-casino and a ebony-condominium tower with 1,543 units. In addition, there will be two, 400-room nongaming boutique hotels operated by Mandarin Oriental and the Light Group. In the center will be 500,000 square feet of retail and two glasscondominium towers with 810 lofts. Las Vegas is hosting several major Hispanic Conventions in 2008.

4. FORT WORTH Fort Worth is the 17th largest city in the United States with a population of over 660,000. Fort Worth is booming with tourism bringing in approximately 9.5 million visitors and con44 HM&T | Hispanic Meetings & Travel

tributing nearly 1.3 billion in direct spending annually to the city's economy. Omni Hotels and the City of Fort Worth are currently constructing a 608-room, firstclass property adjacent to the Fort Worth Convention Center. The plan calls for Omni to build a $115 million, 38-story hotel with 48,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, two ballrooms, and other first-class amenities. The plan also includes 97 condominiums to be built atop the hotel. The new convention center headquarter hotel will complement the $75 million renovation and expansion at the Fort Worth Convention Center, which opened May 2003.

5. PHOENIX The Phoenix Convention Center is undergoing a $600 million renovation and will elevate Phoenix to top-tier status in the convention market. The first phase of the project, a new 150,000+-sq.-ft. conference and meeting facility, will be complete in late 2006. A new, cityowned, 1,000-room Sheraton hotel will be located just a block from the Convention Center, providing guests with convenient access. The $350 million hotel is slated for about 30 stories, with a completion in 2008. METRO light rail will begin service in December 2008, providing visitors with convenient access from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the downtown area, including the convention center, as well as many other venues. Phoenix is hosting the Hispanic Business Conference and SHPE along with other Hispanic Meetings.

6. CHICAGO Chicago's thriving hospitality industry is filled with new openings, renovations and developments that make Chicago the world-class destination that it is. The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel opened in March 2008 with 332 guestrooms, 13,230 square feet of meeting space, and a health club and business center. Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago opened in January 2008 with 339 guestrooms, 20,000 square feet of function space, and a 23,000 square foot spa. Located along the shore of Lake Michigan, McCormick Place features four state-of-the-art buildings: McCormick Place North, McCormick Place South, Lakeside Center, and the new West Building. The four buildings allow for optimal configurations for small corporate meetings, mid-sized conventions and mega trade shows, while maintaining the identity of the different events. Chicago is hosting HACE and the NAHJ this year along with other Hispanic Meetings.


infrastructure with new venues, an improved airport, upgraded transportation systems, and a fresh hotel package. Denver has 40,000 hotel rooms from downtown to metro area resorts. The Colorodo Convention Center has 584,000 square feet of meeting space and is located in Downtown. Denver is hosting HACU this year.

10. SACRAMENTO Flexible, affordable meeting and event space is available at the 384,000-square-foot Sacramento Convention Center, the 350-acre indoor/outdoor facilities of Cal Expo, historic Memorial Auditorium, Arco Arena (home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings), and many fullservice hotels. There are approximately 10,000 hotel rooms in the Sacramento region, with more than 1,800 rooms within walking distance and 4,000 within a three-mile radius of the convention center. Full-service hotels, affordable inns, and historic bed & breakfasts create an extensive list of accommodations from which to choose. Sacramento is hosting the USHC.

9. NEW YORK CITY 7. SAN DIEGO The San Diego Convention Center is located on sparkling San Diego Bay in the heart of a vibrant downtown. The San Diego Convention Center expanded in September 2001 and boasts 1.7 million interior gross sq. ft. It features 615,701 sq. ft. of exhibit space; 204,114 sq. ft. of meeting space including two 40,000-sq.-ft. ballrooms; and 284,494 sq. ft. of pre-function, lobby and registration areas. Over half a million square feet of contiguous exhibit space is divisible into seven halls of varying size, with streamlined columns in selected halls for column-free space.San Diego has 120 conference hotels in a variety of settings, from seaside and urban to mountain and desert. San Diego is hosting the International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals and the National Council of La Raza.

From elegant hotel ballrooms to a dedicated meetings and events center to a new museum, venues throughout the City provide unique spaces for events, certain to make an impact on attendees. With a variety of original options, New York City gives planners an array of options when it comes to choosing the perfect venue. NYC has over 73,000 hotel rooms stretched across 301 square miles.

8. DENVER There's a reason Denver has won every major industry service award for 15 consecutive years: The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) goes the Extra Mile for every group. The city has also invested in its | HM&T 45

HM&T 2008 May  
HM&T 2008 May  

Hispanic Meetings & Travel