Year-round good weather for outdoor gatherings. An airport with on-site COVID-19 testing capabilities. A slew of diverse new hotels and event venues. Tampa Bay is a more desirable location than ever for group gatherings. Here are five standout reasons to book your next event or meeting in one of the Sunshine State’s most beautiful cities.

1. Peace of mind while traveling

First things first: Event and meeting guests can travel with confidence knowing they’ll be passing through Tampa International Airport—which was ranked No. 2 among large North American airports in J.D. Power’s 2020 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. 

Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport

But beyond just an enjoyable experience, the airport has also launched a robust “TPA Ready” plan to keep travelers safe. Highlights include plastic shields in high-traffic areas, mandated face masks, social distancing markets, reduced seating, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation. What’s more, the Tampa International Airport has partnered with BayCare Health System to launch the country’s first airport testing pilot, which offers two types of FDA-approved COVID-19 tests for all departing and arriving passengers. Now that’s the type of peace of mind we can get behind.


2. Safe meeting venues

That attention to safety and security extends to the city’s most popular event venues, too. The 600,000-square-foot Tampa Convention Center—which recently achieved GBAC STAR accreditation, the gold standard in cleanliness during COVID-19—is offering thermal screenings upon entry, physically distanced room layouts, hand-sanitizing stations, frequent touchpoint cleaning, and new food and beverage protocols. The waterfront venue is also offering hybrid and teleconference packages to bring in a wider group, as well as virtual tours to make planning a breeze.

Tampa Convention Center
Tampa Convention Center
Tampa Convention Center and TECO Streetcar
Tampa Convention Center
Tampa Convention Center

Local hotels are taking similar steps, with highlights including mobile check-in, hospital-grade cleaning protocols, and personal protective equipment for staff. Because when your meeting guests aren’t worried about safety, they can focus on the business that really matters.



3. Exciting new openings and renovations

Speaking of the Tampa Convention Center, the property is currently undergoing a $38 million renovation that will add 18 new meeting rooms, all overlooking the Hillsborough River. It also recently renovated its breakout rooms and ballrooms.  

Element Midtown

That’s not the city’s only new exciting development. Tampa Bay’s first JW Marriott—a 519-room, 26-story property located steps from the convention center and Amalie Arena—is slated to open this fall with 126,000 square feet of event space and the city’s highest rooftop bar. And looking to early 2021, the Tampa EDITION will be the city’s first full-service, five-star hotel. There are also new openings from Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott coming soon, each offering a variety of room types and unique meeting spaces. 

And did we mention the new $500 million Tampa Midtown development? It offers a whopping 1.8 million square feet of retail, residential, entertainment, and hospitality space, connecting the vibrant Westshore district with the downtown Convention District. 


4. Year-round outdoor space and waterfront views.

Guests prefer to gather outside? No problem. Enjoy Tampa Bay’s year-round sunshine at the scenic Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.6-mile pathway that runs along the Hillsborough River, and connects hotels, restaurants, parks, and attractions.

Tampa Riverwalk
Fall Performances
M. Bird
Armature Works
Armature Works
Armature Works

There’s no shortage of outdoor food and beverage options either. A highlight is Sparkman Wharf, situated on the waterfront downtown and offering hip restaurants and bars, a beer garden, and live music. North of the River District, meanwhile, is Armature Works, a mixed-use commercial building consisting of Heights Public Market, multiple event spaces, co-shared workspace, and waterfront restaurants and bars. Our suggestion? Relax after a long day of meetings by watching the sunset at Armature Works’ popular M.Bird Rooftop Lounge.


5. Explore the local culture when business is done.

Even when the meetings have wrapped for the day, Tampa Bay is the perfect place to extend your trip and explore the local culture when business is done. For the adventurous set, groups can arrange a two-hour paddleboard class and adventure organized by Urban Kai Stand Up Paddleboarding. Want something a bit more laid back? Tampa Bay is known as the craft-brewing hub of the Southeastern U.S.; consider a stop at Cigar City Brewing Co., which offers hundreds of locally brewed craft beers.

For the thrill-seekers, the city is also home to Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, which features Tigris: Florida's tallest launch coaster that boasts a 150-foot skyward surge and an inverted heartline roll at more than 60 miles per hour. 

Or why not try to do it all? The city’s free streetcar line makes 15-minute stops at key destinations like the Tampa Convention Center, Amalie Arena, Sparkman Wharf, The Florida Aquarium, and Historic Ybor City.



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