Last weekend I went on a press trip to Florida for my job at Black Meetings & Tourism. The event I went to was called Florida Encounter which is a major tradeshow/conference for the state of Florida. Visit Florida, the state's tourism division flies in dozens of meeting planners and suppliers and holds a tradeshow for them all to meet and network. A handful of journalists are also flown in to cover the event and to enjoy everything the destination has to offer.
This year the event was held in the Beaches of South Walton, specifically Destin, Florida and the Sandestin Golf & Beach resort. Where the hell is that you ask? It's in the Northwest section of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico, west of Panama City. It is actually in the Central time zone and not Eastern time like the rest of the state.
The resort I stayed at was absolutely beautiful. It is actually made up of all condos that are placed on a rental program. So my room was a fabulous one bedroom suite with a full kitchen, dining room, living room, balcony, washer and dryer, dishwasher, etc. It was huge and I had no one to share it with.
I was there for 4 nights and it was very busy. My time was divided between meeting with various convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), meeting planners, and executives. We had rountable discussions, one-on-one meetings, and things of that nature. But as media we also got special treatment. We got to tour the area and see all the various properties, hotels, and neighborhoods, eat at some fabulous restaurants, get free gifts, drink a lot of alcohol, and all that. On my last day I got a free full body massage that was just heavenly! Enjoy the photos from my trip to Florida.
Sandestin Resort website