Puerto Rico Readies for Another Recovery
Jan 13, 2021
If any destination knows about comebacks, it’s Puerto Rico. “We have a Pd.D. in recovery,” joked Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. “We’ve seen this movie before.” First, it was Zika—that mosquito-bred virus that targets pregnant women and their unborn children. Hurricane Irma then brought its category 5 winds to the island. For good measure, Hurricane Maria brought Puerto Rico to the brink, putting water and electricity in short supply for months. And to think all of that was a warm-up act to what 2020 brought upon the entire world. Through prior adversities, the island that could… more
A Bevy of Convention Centers Achieve GBAC STAR Accreditation to Promote Safe Events
Jan 05, 2021
Since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. last Spring, more and more convention centers have been demonstrating their commitment to protecting health and safety in the “new abnormal” by achieving GBAC STAR, a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention accreditation program designed for facilities of all types and sizes. Launched on May 7 by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, a division of cleaning industry trade association ISSA, the GBAC program establishes requirements addressing work practices, protocols, procedures and systems to control risks associated with infectious… more
Convention Centers Add Broadcasting Studios to Accommodate Hybrid Events
Dec 08, 2020
Convention centers across the country are making way for hybrid meetings and events. Renowned facilities looking ahead to 2021 and beyond have repurposed spaces to become virtual studios, complete with state-of-the-art AV equipment for digital and in-person presentations. “While hybrid meetings are not new in our industry, the demand for them has increased dramatically due to this pandemic, forcing meeting and event planners to make adjustments to their events to continue to address the needs of their members and attendees who will not be ready to travel anytime soon,” said Tim Muldoon,… more
Dec 01, 2020
The slow-moving transition of power in Washington, D.C., is causing far more damage than anguish and partisan bickering.  With hopes dimming on a new stimulus package before the new year, the American Hotel & Lodging Association reports stalled negotiations are endangering properties that have survived the pandemic so far. A new survey shows dim health predictions before a vaccine is released, combined with economic hardship, point toward closures and significant layoffs within six months. That is, unless the federal government passes new relief measures. “Every hour Congress doesn’t… more
Nov 17, 2020
The city of Grapevine, Texas, played host to Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress, held in hybrid format Nov. 3-6. “Reunite for Recovery” was the theme of the event, which took place at Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center and drew nearly 700 in-person attendees and 1,000 virtual participants. Grapevine CVB partnered with MPI in developing Duty of Care procedures that allowed for safe general sessions, breakout sessions and one-on-one appointments. The goal was to demonstrate the new standards for a safe return to live, in-person meetings and conferences. In… more
Nov 16, 2020
The Puerto Rico Convention Center hosted its first event since achieving GBAC STAR accreditation — the only Caribbean facility to do so — last month. The meeting of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Association of General Contractors of America (AGC) on Oct. 17 featured a debate among local governorship candidates as well as the organization’s annual convention. More importantly for tourism officials and event organizers, it served as a testimony to Puerto Rico’s ability to produce a safe and successful gathering.  “We hope that our event will serve as an example for other associations and… more
Nov 07, 2020
Eight months after Caesars Forum was scheduled to have its grand opening and start welcoming a packed schedule of groups before it was stopped in its tracks by COVID-19, the new venue hosted its first event – the 2020 ConferenceDirect Annual Partner Meeting. “We have always admired the work that Brian Stevens and the team at ConferenceDirect do,” said Michael Massari, chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment. He added, “We enjoy a long-standing partnership and are pleased that we hosted this important event.” During the closing general session, Massari was recognized by Jerry… more
Nov 03, 2020
With more and more planners looking at a hybrid model for their meetings, Louisville Tourism and its industry partners showcased their ability to host such an event while also highlighting the work they’ve done as a city to welcome guests back safely. Held on Oct. 29, Barreling Ahead brought together 35 attendees at Kentucky International Convention Center, with an additional 100 joining virtually.  Currently, all Louisville hotels are open to guests, and event venues and restaurants are allowed to host groups at 50 percent capacity. “Louisville is ready to welcome business to our city,”… more
Nov 02, 2020
With the launch of its pre-travel testing program on Oct. 15, the State of Hawaii officially began welcoming visitors back to the islands. According to John Reyes, senior vice president and chief meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) sales officer for Meet Hawaii, the reopening is positive news for groups looking to book meetings and events — even if, at the moment, allowable gatherings are still small. Currently, Hawaii has limited social gatherings to 10 people inside and 10 people outside. In an attempt to increase that number, Reyes says the tourism industry is urging political… more
Oct 29, 2020
As the second-largest convention center in the state of Georgia, the 400,000-square-foot Georgia International Convention Center — like similar venues around the country — wasn’t accustomed to facing an empty events calendar for much of 2020. To stay afloat, GICC has shifted toward hosting events to help the local community, including food and blood drives, flu shot clinics, funerals and drive-up concerts. It’s also served as a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing site and most recently, as an early voting precinct for the November election. “The City of College Park, the GICC and Gateway Arena… more

Partner Voices

The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) continues to drive the events industry forward with its world-class facilities and innovative solutions to current challenges.