Contact: Lyn Lewis, Director of Communications, Greater Wilmington CVB
What sets Wilmington apart from larger cities for small meetings?
Accessibility is a key factor in Greater Wilmington's popularity as a site for meetings. Wilmington is located on I-95 midway between New York and Washington and is less than thirty minutes south of Philadelphia International Airport. An average of 80 trains, including Amtrak's high speed Acela Express, stop in Wilmington each day. Wilmington can be accessed by car, train or plane without incurring a lot of additional expense.
Once you arrive in Wilmington, there's plenty to do and see. Discover world-class museums and gardens, historic towns that retain their 17th- and 18th-century ambience, a revitalized Riverfront, a wide selection of performing arts, family owned wineries and breweries and top-notch restaurants and hotels...all this is just minutes from Downtown Wilmington.
Wilmington, DE has NO sales tax on meeting rooms, food, beverage, entertainment and shopping and the lodging tax is lower than surrounding areas. Esther Lovlie, Director of Meeting Sales at the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau points out that "...this translates into an immediate return on investments for planners and can easily add thousands of dollars to a planner's bottom line." Lovlie notes that "...the tax-free component is also an enticing lure to attendees when they realize the savings that they can experience."
In addition, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a $20,000 Transportation Incentive to help Meeting Planners reduce their costs and encourage them to book meetings, reunions and events in the New Castle County Area. To be eligible for the award, a minimum of 100 room nights must be generated and a contract with a GWCVB member hotel in New Castle County must be signed between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011and the actual event must take place between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2013. Funding is awarded on a first come-first serve basis.
Why do meeting planners choose Wilmington?
Esther Lovlie, Director of Meeting Sales at Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau says there is much more behind Greater Wilmington's success than accessibility. According to Lovlie, "Our area is uniquely positioned to provide immediate ROI because there is no sales tax on meeting room rentals, food & beverage. This unique attribute can instantly add thousands of dollars to a planner's bottom line. The "tax-free" component also proves to be an enticing lure to the attendees themselves when they realize the savings they too will experience."
Lovlie notes that the Transportation Incentive has been a powerful inducement for meeting planners.
The diversity of facilities is also appealing to meeting planners. They can choose a venue that is tailored to their specific needs. The Greater Wilmington Area has more than 6,500 hotel rooms and 300 meeting spaces ranging from state-of-the-art facilities that can accommodate 1,600 attendees to small boardrooms and unique meeting spaces. For those seeking a unique venue for their meeting, Greater Wilmington offers many different options. They include The Delaware Contemporary situated in Wilmington's revitalized Riverfront, the Delaware Art Museum which underwent a $31-million makeover, the Delaware Folk Art Museum in Blue Ball Barn, Winterthur Museum & Country Estate which houses Henry Francis du Pont's world class collection of decorative arts, the Soda House at Hagley and The Inn at Montchanin, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Historic Hotels of America, and the list goes on and on. The DuPont Environmental Education Center overlooking the Wilmington Riverfront holds 80 guests and provides panoramic view of the Christina River and surrounding urban marsh. Just minutes from Downtown Wilmington, the Columbus Inn has just reopened under new management. Buckley's Tavern is a long-time favorite. Located in the quaint village of Centreville, Buckley's features casual meeting and dining space in a pub-like atmosphere and can accommodate groups up to 40.
Do you tie in the town, local attractions, history, arts and culture?
Greater Wilmington is the gateway to the beautiful Brandywine River and all its treasures. The city itself is experiencing a great resurgence and its riverfront area hosts major business enterprises like AAA's Mid-Atlantic Headquarters, Barclays Bank and ING Direct as well as the Chase Center on the Riverfront which is the city's largest conference facility. There is a full complement of restaurants and exciting attractions including The Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Theatre Company, Delaware Sports Museum and Frawley Stadium's ever popular Blue Rocks Minor League Baseball Team. Brand new additions to this list are the DuPont Environmental Education Center located in the Russell Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge and the Delaware Children's Museum.
There's plenty to do in the Greater Wilmington Area during down time. Nationally recognized entertainers perform at the Grand Opera House and the DuPont Theatre features touring Broadway productions. Go to Hagley Museum & Library, the ancestral home of the du Pont family in Delaware and site of the original gunpowder mills that provided the foundation for the DuPont Company. Visit Winterthur Museum & Country Estate where you will see Henry Francis du Pont's world-class collection of American decorative arts and antiques. Built in the style of a French chateau, Nemours Mansion & Gardens has been returned to its turn-of-the-century magnificence after undergoing a $39-million renovation. The Delaware Art Museum's excellent collection of American and Pre-Raphaelite art is supplemented by traveling exhibits. The Delaware Contemporary hosts thirty changing exhibits of regional and national significance each year. Works by three generations of the Wyeth family are on display inside a tastefully restored gristmill at the Brandywine River Museum. Longwood Gardens is spectacular with its twenty outdoor gardens and four-and-a-half acres of gardens under glass in the conservatory. Charming towns like Historic New Castle and Odessa which retain their 18th- and 19th-century ambiance, family operated wineries and breweries and a revitalized Riverfront with excellent restaurants are just waiting to be discovered. All this and more is just minutes from Downtown Wilmington-and it's all tax-free!
Team building opportunities abound. The newly remodeled and expanded Bowlerama is a perfect choice. This state-of-the-art facility has 62 bowling lanes and multiple on-site dining options including Spare Ribs Xpress, Kegler's Sports Pub and Dunkin' Donuts. Try indoor karting at Mid-Atlantic Grand Prix. Take a day sail on the Kalmar Nyckel, a seaworthy recreation of the Tall Ship that brought the Swedes to Wilmington in 1638. Go rock climbing in Alapocas State Park or rafting on the Brandywine River. Spend an enjoyable afternoon at one of Wilmington's premier golf courses like Deerfield or Rock Manor followed by an interactive dining experience or cooking demonstration at Celebrity Kitchens.