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Groups at Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, can enjoy all-inclusive water sports.

Destinations woo planners with amped-up amenities and sparkling new facilities.

Things just got more interesting when it comes to destinations competing for meeting and incentive business. Those that weren't contenders in the past have now gotten serious about what they offer as hosts and are succeeding in the process.

Call of the north

Tourists have long been attracted to the Yukon for its stunning mountain scenery, gold rush history and lively culture. Today, it's an attractive place to hold conferences and meetings, too, thanks to a new wave of great venues and expanded air service. Combine that with a dedicated meetings team at the Yukon Convention Bureau to assist with planning and, suddenly, the Yukon is a strong option. Another bonus: The Yukon does not have a PST or HST. Saving you up to 7 per cent overall, so budgets stretch further.

Whitehorse boasts venues that can accommodate up to 450 guests, a wide range of hotels, plus plenty of activities, from viewing the midnight sun and the Northern Lights to dog-mushing and outdoor sports. Meanwhile, Dawson City and its gold-mining past dating back to 1898 work for groups of 250 or so. It offers a wealth of unique historical venues so that groups can gather at Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall or dare each other to toss back a Sourtoe cocktail at the Downtown Hotel.

The Yukon as a host destination offers top-notch outdoor activities like hiking.

Tropical punch

There's something enticing about sun-drenched destinations, especially for heat-loving Canadians. For groups, an all-inclusive resort ticks a lot of boxes in terms of meeting expectations and seamless event planning, from weddings to corporate retreats. One company amping up its offerings for gatherings is Sandals. It has been equipping its resorts with state-of-the-art facilities, engaging activities and special incentives, like complimentary cocktail receptions. Through 2017, it's offering a 6th Room Free promotion and a free upgrade to a butler suite for groups of 12 or more.

At the new Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios on the lush northern coast of Jamaica, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces range from a ballroom that can accommodate 500 guests to the intimate Director's Room, which is perfect for up to 16 attendees. There's plenty to keep everyone entertained with 11 bars (including the Caribbean's first speakeasy), 16 restaurants and a beach club, plus unlimited scuba diving, a signature Red Lane Spa, free Wi-Fi, golf and unlimited water and land sports. The resort spans 400 hectares, so there's no shortage of group-friendly areas.

Easterly directions

St. John's, Nfld., is coming on strong as an event host. It's not surprising given the province's reputation for being warm, hospitable hosts. In addition, the city has some pretty spectacular spaces to accommodate meetings and conference guests, like The Rooms, a sleek public space that houses an art gallery, a museum devoted to local culture.

Coming in early 2016, the city's newly revamped convention centre will welcome its first guests. The $60-million, 100,000-square-foot facility promises state-of-the-art technology and a direct link to the Delta Hotel.

Future venues well worth the wait
Halifax Convention Centre, January 2017
The city by the sea solidifies its boomtown reputation with a brand-new convention hall (shown above). Located right downtown, it features 120,000 square feet of space with great features like oodles of natural light and views of the city.
National Music Centre, Calgary, spring 2016
Sure to hit all the right notes is the gorgeous $168-million complex coming to the East Village. The new facility will house not just the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and more than 2,000 artifacts and rare instruments, but also plenty of meeting space.
Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, late 2016
Meeting planners are already coveting the spacious galleries here for future events. The design of the building comes from the Canadian firm KPMB and pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s groundbreaking Prairie style architecture.
Ice District, Edmonton, fall 2016
The city’s downtown will be changed forever with the arrival of a multi-phase urban redevelopment. Highlights of the first wave for 2016 include: the new arena, Rogers Place, the Winter Garden (24,000 square feet of public event space), the Grand Villa Edmonton Casino and Canada’s first Hyatt Place hotel.

This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.