National Forensic League Tournament coming to Overland Park in 2014
The Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association (KCCVA) and the Overland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau (OPCVB) have announced that the metro area will host the National Forensic League (NFL) for the fourth time in June 2014. Kansas City previously hosted the high school honor society for speech and debate last summer. The Overland Park area will welcome the event for the first time in 2014. The KCCVA and the OPCVB collaborated to secure the gathering. Nearly 5,000 students, parents and coaches from across the nation will attend the weeklong event, which features the NFL’s National Tournament and National Student Congress. Generating close to 12,000 room nights at more than 20 Overland Park hotels, the tournament will pour more than $4.5 million into the local economy. The tournament will be the largest event Overland Park has ever hosted in terms of room nights. Several local schools in the Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission districts will serve as venues for the tournament, with final rounds being held at the Overland Park Convention Center. All competitions will be free of charge and open to the public. For more information about the organization, visit www.nflonline.org
BRANSON AIREXPRESS GOES GLOBAL
Branson AirExpress reservations are now available to travel agents through Sabre, Worldspan, Apollo and Galileo Global Distribution Systems (GDS) ticketed through Hahn Air, allowing agents to book connecting flights from all over the world. A GDS is a worldwide computerized reservation network where agents can book airfare, hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel-related necessities from a single point of access. FlyBranson Travel, located at the Branson Airport (BKG), manages Branson AirExpress, a scheduled public charter that began service in April 2009, offering seasonal nonstop flights to Austin, Chicago, Des Moines, Gulfport-Biloxi, Houston, Indianapolis, Shreveport and Nashville. Individuals and travel agents can also book online at www.BransonAirExpress. com, or call 1-888-FLY-BKG1 (1-888-359-2541) or 417-334-8857
Renaissance St. Louis Airport Awarded AAA Four-Diamond Rating
The Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Award. Located at 9801 Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis, it is the only hotel in the St. Louis airport area to receive the Four-Diamond rating for 2010. The property is managed by Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation’s largest hotel management companies. The hotels that receive this award are upscale in all areas. The award’s stringent criteria are based on an enhanced level of quality throughout the hotel, an extensive array of amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. Recently renovated, the Renaissance St. Louis Airport’s 393 guestrooms feature extravagant pillow top mattresses, down comforters, luxury linens, stylish work and seating areas, high-speed Internet and dual-line phones. Executive suites provide extra touches of comfort with oversized rooms and wet bars, while Club Level lodging options provide guests with deluxe accommodations and enhanced services. Located one-half mile southeast of Lambert – St. Louis International Airport, the hotel offers a total of 37,000 square feet of meeting space and can accommodate groups up to 1,100 people. There are 32 meeting rooms highlighted by the 11,400-square-foot Concourse Ballroom and 12th-floor Penthouse Ballrooms. For more information about the property, St. Louis weekend getaway packages and reservations, contact the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel directly at (314) 429-1100, call the tollfree Renaissance line at (888) 340-2594, or visit www.renaissancehotels.com/stlsa
New Route 54 Expressway Helps Make Lake-Area Travel Faster and Safer
Motorists at the Lake of the Ozarks are experiencing a new traffic configuration on U.S. Route 54 from Lake Ozark to Camdenton. Opened on Sept. 20, 2010, with a gala ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Route 54 Expressway has already improved traffic flow and safety. The new four-lane divided highway begins near Business Route 54 (Bagnell Dam Boulevard). It is called the Osage Beach Parkway as it travels toward the Grand Glaize Bridge. Construction from that point to west of Route KK in Camden County will be completed later this year. Six interchanges will provide access between Route 54 and the new Expressway. The completed 8-mile project will cost $158 million
MPI Redefines Content, Connectivity for Meeting Professionals
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has announced three initiatives focused on connecting the global meeting industry to MPI’s career-enhancing content and tools, anywhere, anytime. A new service for non-member planners called MPIWeb Connect enables planners to connect to education, tools, careers and a professional network to elevate the global meeting industry. MPIWeb Connect allows meeting planners who are not currently members of MPI to access select online content, tools and discussions for free. Planners interested in the MPIWeb Connect service are required to provide their professional profiles at mpiweb.org to become an MPIWeb Connect user. Participants have online access to new articles, white papers and research not available to general Web site visitors. Additionally, participants have access to MPIWeb Groups that traditionally only members accessed. In addition, MPI has launched an iPhone app and new mobile Web site. The MPI iPhone app is free and content is available only to members and MPIWeb Connect participants. It is available through the Apple app store. BlackBerry and Android compatible apps are scheduled for release in late February 2011. Finally, the MPI Mobile Web tool, found at m.mpiweb.org, provides the community with key information in an easy-to-read mobile format. The Web site is designed for pros on the go who want to connect to trending topics, research, event details and the MPI community.
CIC Releases New Edition of the APEX Industry Glossary
The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has announced the release of a new edition of the APEX Industry Glossary. The Glossary is recognized as one of the most comprehensive guides to terminology in the industry. “The new 2011 edition of the Glossary is part of the APEX leadership’s commitment to keep these industry-specific, industry-developed resources relevant, up-to-date, and accessible,” stated Teri Tonioli, CMP, senior vice president at Experient, and chair of the APEX Leadership Council. “The previous edition of the Glossary was released in 2005, so a top-to-bottom review by the APEX Standards Review Council was imperative.” APEX Standards Review Council (SRC) chairman Doug McPhee, CMP, agreed. “The SRC had a number of objectives in the review. These included eliminating common words not specific to our industry or with common definitions available elsewhere; eliminating terms that had gone out of use; adding some new terms that had emerged; ensuring that all terms had concise and precise definitions; and leaving protocols in place for regular updates moving forward. “When the APEX Industry Glossary was created, an enormous number of terms were contributed from all parts of the industry, spanning approximately 20 source documents and countless individual submissions,” stated McPhee. “As a result the Glossary had grown to more than 4,000 terms. The 2011 edition streamlines that to roughly 1,450.” Meeting the needs of CMP candidates and students was another important consideration in the project and its publication. “Our process included a series of checks to ensure that no term referenced by a CMP exam item was removed, no matter how obscure, and that the release date fit into the CMP cycle,” said McPhee. CMP candidate and student needs also guided a major improvement to the Glossary’s term categories. The categorization of terms is now more closely aligned with the Convention Industry Council Manual, 8th Edition. The 2011 edition is available immediately in print and online at www.conventionindustry.org. Customers who purchased a print copy of the 2005 Edition from CIC in the past 90 days will receive a free copy of the 2011 Edition in the coming weeks.
Jefferson City Outdoors opens doors for new sporting events
In the spring of 2010, the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau Athletic Events Committee (AEC) hosted a retreat to address various issues regarding sporting events in Jefferson City. Out of that meeting came many good ideas, one of which recently came to fruition. The idea was for the CVB and AEC to form a planning group for sporting events. In December, a group of event planners met and formed Jefferson City Outdoors, focusing on outdoor and adventure sports. Jefferson City Outdoors’ mission is to provide outdoor recreational and competitive opportunities to encourage active lifestyles, community development, economic impact and the enjoyment of our unique natural resources by our residents and visitors. The Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau is now in the process of creating a Web site that will act as a one-stop shop for people interested in outdoor and adventure sports. The site, www.Jefferson- CityOutdoors.com, will be used as a tool for planning and promoting events. It will include a calendar, general information, registration forms and photos. Along with newly created events, Jefferson City Outdoors will assist with events such as Race to the Dome, Jefferson City Adventure Race and Capital Cat Classic. For more information about Jefferson City Outdoors, contact Daniel Helton, CVB sports sales manager, at (573) 632-2820 or [email protected]
Thousand Hills and Pointe Royale Join Branson’s Rising- Star Golf Destination Group
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB have announced that Thousand Hills Golf Resort and Pointe Royale Resort & Golf Course have joined the area’s new golf-destination cooperative, formed to provide discerning travelers with value and options. Designed by renowned golf architect Bob Cupp, Thousand Hills appeals to players of all abilities and is located in the heart of Branson, next to the area’s worldclass collection of live entertainment and many other attractions. In addition to undulating terrain and greens, superb conditions and great golf, the property offers a variety of stay-and-play and lodging options – from lakefront to on-course. Pointe Royale is host to many of Branson’s stars thanks to a fun, scenic design that traverses rolling hills and offers tree-lined holes nestled below the bluffs of beautiful Lake Taneycomo. Rental condominiums are available for stay-and-play packages. These two courses join four others in comprising a rising-star golf destination, including the No. 1-rated course in Missouri (which is also rated among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest) and courses designed by or in tribute to PGA Tour stars. The award-winning golf courses comprising the golf destination – known collectively under the brand promise “Branson: Discover Golf ’s Ozark Mountain Oasis” – are Pointe Royale Resort & Golf Course, Thousand Hills Golf Resort, John Daly’s Murder Rock Golf and Country Club, Payne Stewart Golf Club, LedgeStone Golf Course and Branson Creek Golf Club. While completely distinct in style and design, these six courses share a commitment to stellar hospitality, course conditions and value-oriented experiences amid the Ozark Mountains’ dramatic elevation changes, rock outcroppings, and unbridled nature in its abundant glory
INDEPENDENCE MAKES PLANNING MEETINGS A SNAP
The Independence Tourism Department offers complimentary assistance with creating meeting proposals, preplanning counseling, site inspections, housing, transportation and publicity. Its guest services coordinator also provides welcome bags, an ambassador welcome reception, hospitality table, group programs and itineraries, tour discounts and step-on guides. Facilities available for groups include banquet and meeting spaces at national chains such as the Hilton Garden Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn and Bass Pro World. There are also one-of-akind options such as the historic Truman Memorial Building, the Truman Library and Museum, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, National Frontier Trails Museum and the cutting-edge technology and amenities of the Independence Events Center. As part of the greater Kansas City metro area, Independence shares in the Travel and Leisure 2009 survey that ranked Kansas City number two in the nation for affordable getaways and hotel costs. For a downloadable meeting planner guide with complete details about meeting facilities, or to request a hard copy by mail, go to www.visitindependence.com.