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Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale, nicknamed the Venice of America because of its 300 miles of navigable inland canals, is truly something special. Twenty-three miles of white beaches--from Hollywood's action packed promenade to Deerfield's soft friendly sands--are conveniently located 45 minutes away from both Miami and Palm Beach. Fort Lauderdale has found a special niche attracting upscale visitors to its wide array of cultural, sporting, and recreational attractions. Nature lovers are equally drawn to the beauty of the city's coastal locale, as well as to its easy proximity to the dramatic Everglades, 800 square miles of watery wilderness in Broward County.

Add a sparkling new convention center, the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, and the location couldn't be better for an association hosting a meeting in Florida. The center, a $50 million, 370,000-sq.-ft. facility with more than 150,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, opened last year to rave reviews.

Within easy walking distance to the center are 1,500 hotel rooms; 4,000 of the area's total 30,000 hotel rooms are within a four-mile radius. Plus, its location within Port Everglades' five-star cruise port makes the possibilities for creative planning virtually endless. Pre- and post-convention cruises can be arranged as easily as a round of golf. Forget about fighting traffic: Attendees can use a water taxi as a shuttle between the convention center and waterfront hotels; as a convenient link to restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and beaches; and as a direct route to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

In an area known as a haven of socialites, polo players, and celebrities lies Boca Raton--about 30 miles south of Palm Beach and just a little farther north of Fort Lauderdale along Florida's shimmering Gold Coast. Blessed with warm and sunny weather, Boca's central location offers a visitor easy access to all the attractions that bigger cities like Lauderdale and West Palm Beach have to offer, in a relaxed and informal environment.

For an association, Boca Raton offers leisure activities like tennis and golf in addition to excellent resort and meeting facilities. The Gulf of Mexico's two-mile proximity is an added attraction for fishing and deep sea divers.

Jo Ann Miller, exposition director for Semco Medical Expositions in Atlanta, says, "There were a number of factors that went into our choice of Fort Lauderdale. We had monitored the construction of their new facility since the beginning and were very pleased with both its design and its long-term plans for growth. Our conference attracts CEOs and top-level executives; these are people who can afford to go just about anywhere, so choosing the proper environment was key. The amenities like golf, tennis, and fishing are excellent, as are the hotels and restaurants. Heidi Mahoney, our events service coordinator, and the convention center staff were among the best we've worked with. We booked for the next eight years." The International Medical Device Expo and Conference is held every February; it averages 1,700 registered attendees and 125 exhibitors.

C. Dean Hofmeister, president, Fort Lauderdale CVB: "Greater Fort Lauderdale is a rising star on the meeting and convention scene, and the success story of our one-year-old convention center has a lot to do with it. The good news began with its completion four months early and more than $1 million under budget. In its first year of operation, the center outpaced booking predictions made by Laventhol & Horwath for the center's third year. In this first year, the center has hosted 204 events and attracted 440,000 attendees, which yielded an estimated economic impact of $150 million. And our outlook for the future only gets better."
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Guide to Meeting Sites in Florida; convention facilities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Publication:Association Management
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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