A Recap of Atlanta’s Successful Meetings in 2021

As Atlanta continues to host safe meetings and experiences, travel experts National Geographic Travel and Lonely Planet recognize unique attributes that make our City in a Forest a top destination to visit in 2022. Sharon Sullivan, vice president of brand experience for LeadingAge, notes, “[Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s] handling of the pandemic and returning to in-person events is all the more impressive when you consider they were one of the first cities to be open for business. They didn’t have the opportunity to follow others, but had to set the standards and make the footprints many other entities could follow.”

Atlanta earned the No. 1 spot on the Northstar Meetings Group 2021 list as “Best Destination for Large Events.” As Atlanta’s hospitality industry works together to provide unparalleled service for business and leisure travelers, planners are booking Atlanta for international meetings, large conferences, marquee sporting events and more.

Big South National Qualifier is among many youth sporting events convening at Georgia World Congress Center. (📷 Georgia World Congress Center)

Early 2021, Atlanta Market kicked off the year by hosting the annual eight-day gift, décor and lifestyle market at AmericasMart Atlanta. CHEERSPORT annually welcomes close to 50,000 junior athletes and supporting family members for its National All Star Cheerleading Championship at Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting’s 108th connected new and returning conference-goers online and in-person by raising the bar with special events and continuing education in dentistry.

Atlanta was ranked at the top of SmartAsset’s list in 2021 as No. 2 “Best City for Conferences” out of 32 of the country’s largest cities. Kelli Lusk, strategic account director for Maritz Global Events, points out, “As a local Atlantan, I have had the luxury firsthand in experiencing exceptional growth within our city. Over the years and in my particular industry of citywide events bringing hundreds of thousands to the convention market, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau has been instrumental in attracting customers [and] elevating city development.”

The Southeastern Congress of Optometry (SECO) provided safety-first measures for its attendees at GWCC. (📷 Georgia World Congress Center)

Downtown venues are accompanied by nearly 12,700 hotel rooms within walking distance of GWCC and major attractions, making it easy for attendees to walk from meetings to enjoy dining and after-hours activities. Youth sporting events like Mizuno Big South’s National Qualifier occupied GWCC’s Buildings A, B and C, bringing more than 1,500 volleyball teams to downtown Atlanta’s convention and entertainment district. SECO provided safety-first measures for all attendees at GWCC with its annual convention focused on providing the latest in optical research.

Optavia Convention 2021 held a block party at The Home Depot Backyard. (📷 Jennifer M.)

Liz Hosp, director of operations for International Woodworking Fair (IWF) shared her sentiments: “Everyone working for Atlanta is always excited, enthusiastic and thinking of ways to improve, support and assist you before you even ask or know what you might need. [ACVB] is a real partner in putting on your event, not just a host city.” From the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and Atlanta Market at AmericasMart Atlanta in July to Optavia and Dragon Con, Atlanta transitioned into warmly welcoming first-time visitors for annual summer and fall meetings.

Atlanta’s convention package is one of the best, including GWCC’s exhibit space and championship campus, hotel package and offerings, along with accessibility accommodations. American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) planners cited Atlanta as one of the best cities to host their return to in-person meetings for 7,000+ attendees. With difficult times for planning, our team supported the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) to successfully reunite more than 6,500 people for the annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo.

Atlanta prides itself on collaboration and partnership, flexibility, convenience and caring for attendees across several industries. When hosting a diverse group of organizations like Delta Sigma Theta, American Society of Hematology (ASH), SEC Championship and Celebration Bowl, attendees feel at home in our urban city. That’s why it’s no secret that when the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) selected Atlanta for its host city, Delta’s Flight Museum, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Hotel Midtown Atlanta (formerly W Atlanta Midtown) and others worked together to create a memorable experience for more than 400 attendees representing 27 countries.

There are significant new developments and transformations throughout Atlanta—from recently welcomed to those on the horizon. Whether you’re starting fresh or picking up where you left off, our team at Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) can help you plan for what’s next when the time is right for you to meet in our city. Start by taking a virtual site visit or contact ACVB to see how Atlanta positions meetings and events on a different level.

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