Phoenix, AZ (March 3, 2010) — “If you build it, they will come.” That mystical plan of action might work for Iowa farmers looking to populate their cornfields with ghostly baseball players, but it just doesn’t fly in today’s meetings and convention market.

That’s why the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau has created the “Phoenix Fly-In” promotion, which gives top clients an open invitation to come see Phoenix’s new convention center and resort meeting facilities. Qualified clients — those representing at least 200-plus peak room nights — can dispatch two staff members to Phoenix, and the CVB will arrange airfare and hosted accommodations. The promotion runs through May 31.

In all, the promotion is intended to reach more than 150 citywide and single-property accounts representing nearly 400,000 delegates and an estimated $465 million worth of direct spending.

“We want to give our customers a true ‘see-it-to-believe-it’ experience,” said Steve Moore, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix CVB. “For so long, Phoenix was relegated to the sidelines when it came to hosting the country’s largest conventions, because we just didn’t have a downtown convention center that could accommodate them. But that’s all changed. Downtown Phoenix has undergone a metamorphosis, and our new convention center is big part of that.

Phoenix’s re-born downtown not only includes the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center but the nation’s newest light-rail transportation system and a 1,000-room Sheraton hotel. These three projects alone amount to a $2.4 billion investment in Phoenix’s urban heart, and they have been accompanied by the rise of several new hot spots for dining, nightlife and shopping.

The Phoenix Convention Center recently emerged from a $600 million expansion that tripled the size of its meeting and exhibit space. The convention center’s architecture is inspired by the colors and angles of the Grand Canyon, and its LEED-certified environs include a water-harvesting garden, rooftop solar panels, and chairs made of recycled car batteries and seat belts. Thoughtful touches include air-conditioned loading bays, exhibit halls with pre-scored floors, and outdoor meeting areas that capitalize on Phoenix’s greatest natural resource — the sun.

Next up for downtown is a new 280-room Westin hotel, the rebranding of a 520-room hotel by Marriott and the opening $900 million mixed-use development called CityScape — all located within a stroll of the convention center.

CityScape will feature a Kimpton Palomar hotel, a chic Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley, a wine-country-themed Oakville Grocery, at least six local restaurants, and retail shops such as Urban Outfitters and Republic of Couture. The first phase of the project opens this year.

Beyond downtown, several renowned resorts in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have undergone multimillion expansions and renovations to both their rooms and meeting facilities.

“In terms of facilities, transportation, competition and price, there’s probably never been a better time to meet in Phoenix,” Moore said. “And our weather is still as great as ever.”

Clients who take advantage of the Phoenix Fly-In promotion in late February and March can soak in the sunshine and warm temperatures that annually attract more than a million baseball fans to Cactus League Spring Training. And meeting planners who visit during the last week in March, when WWE’s WrestleMania comes to town, can see how Greater Phoenix and the convention center handle a mega event,

The Phoenix Fly-In promotion encompasses a Resort Familiarization Tour that will be held March 17-20. The Arizona Biltmore will host the tour, which will include events at several other resorts across Greater Phoenix. More than 20 meeting attendees have signed on for this tour, and their clients represent an estimated $6.5 million worth of direct spending for the Phoenix area.

Since the launch of the Phoenix Fly-In promotion in January, the Greater Phoenix CVB has hosted more than 20 clients representing over 50,000 delegates and an estimated $75 million worth of direct spending.

Meeting groups interested in participating in the Phoenix Fly-In can learn more by contacting Resort Sales Director John Harmon at