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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Springtime is a Hit in Huntsville

Huntsville delivered on its promise to shake the winter blues off attendees from across the globe when more than 400 delegates gathered for the Select Traveler Conference March 30 to April 1 in this progressive Alabama city. The sun was ever present once the conference got underway, and cherry blossoms abounded throughout downtown, making this meeting the perfect antidote to months of winter weather.

“The weather was perfect, and I don’t know how many delegates mentioned how clean and attractive our city was,” said Judy Ryals, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I think many were surprised at how many things there are to do here. The event at the Space and Rocket Center was terrific, and we had 20 or so stay over for sightseeing tours after the event. We were delighted to have this group in Huntsville.”

Delegates who had a break from appointments could be seen sitting together on the steps of the convention center, soaking in the 75-degree weather and reveling in this city’s green-and-pink landscape topped off by bright blue skies.

“Huntsville really put on a show for these delegates,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello. “These banks, chambers and alumni programs have the potential to bring hundreds of upscale groups back here now that they know how contemporary and gracious this city is.”

Known internationally as Rocket City USA, the host city made the most of its well-deserved reputation by taking delegates out to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for the opening evening event on Sunday.

Spread out in the cavernous Saturn Hall beneath an actual Saturn V rocket were food stations offering American, Asian, Italian and German foods and desserts, and numerous beverage stations. Delegates had their choice of enjoying the outstanding cuisine, sitting and enjoying a local band, or taking an escorted tour of the center’s renowned Space Camp. Many did all three.

“We were honored to host this prestigious group in our facility for the blastoff event,” said Tom White, director of sales and outreach for the Space and Rocket Center. “We had many of these travel planners take guided tours of the center and the Space Camp, so I know we’ll see groups coming back as a result. I think they know now that we’re unlike anything else on the planet.”