By Jennifer N. Dienst, Contributing Editor
Where big, Southern spaces meet big, Southern hospitality
As the fourth-largest convention center in the United States, within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the country's population, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta has the flexible spaces and easy accessibility the largest meetings and conventions demand. But Atlanta has another asset other destinations don't - genuine Southern hospitality. Throwina host of world-class attractions, dining, and shopping, and it's no wonder Atlanta attracts more than 39.7 million visitors every year.
The 3.9-million-square-foot GWCC is the anchor of Atlanta's convention corridor. The facility's 1.4 million square feet of exhibit space - spread over 12 halls, 106 meeting rooms, three auditoriums, and two ballrooms - have hosted events of every kind and size. The complex also includes the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park, which offers 21 acres of lush lawns, pavilions, and an amphitheater. Getting to and around the GWCC is easy for attendees, with two on-site MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) stations and more than 15,000 parking spaces within walking distance.
They say that getting there is half the battle, but not in Atlanta. Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population is within a two-hour flight, and three interstates converge in the heart of the city. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, just 10 miles south of downtown, is the busiest passenger airport in the world, serving 150 U.S. destinations and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries. The new, 12-gate Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal opened in May 2012, creating a 40-gate international air-travel complex. The new terminal has also eliminated the luggage-rechecking process thanks to upgraded customs and border-patrol facilities.
Atlanta's compact convention corridor has everything meeting attendees need for a productive yet entertaining meeting experience. Metropolitan Atlanta has 92,000 total hotel rooms, 10,000 of which are within a one-mile radius of the GWCC. Attendees will also find plenty of attractions, dining, and entertainment within close walking distance, including the World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest aquarium. Atlanta has an impressive collection of art museums and rich historical sites to explore, from the High Museum of Art to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Performing-arts enthusiasts can take in plays, musicals, and concerts at the historic Fox Theatre or Woodruff Arts Center, and sports fanatics have a plethora of options as well - Atlanta is home to the Falcons (NFL), the Braves (MLB), and the Hawks (NBA).
When it comes to dining, Atlanta truly shines. The city is reinventing Southern food with restaurants that are focused on fresh, local ingredients and down-home inspiration. Atlanta chefs are famous for serving up dishes from the new kitchen of the old South, putting their own spin on Grandma's traditional Southern favorites. Attendees who wish to mix a little pleasure with their business travel can make a stop in trendy Buckhead, often called the Beverly Hills of the Southeast, and other nearby attractions include Six Flags Over Georgia, Stone Mountain Park, and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta.
Atlanta has everything planners and attendees need for a world-class convention experience, but the reasons to choose Atlanta don't end there. The best part about Atlanta lies not in its concrete and steel, but rather in its people. From the chef to the concierge, Atlanta's hospitality industry is here to make meetings run flawlessly from start to finish.
For more information: Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau - Mark Vaughan, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer; (404) 521-6619; firstname.lastname@example.org; iamatl.net
• The Georgia World Congress Center has 1.4 million square feet of exhibit space, and several other venues, like the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, are just steps away.
• More than 10,000 hotel rooms are within a one-mile radius of the Georgia World Congress Center, so attendees can meet, dine, and relax with ease. Attendees will also find a number of attractions just a short walk away, including centennial Olympic Park, the World of coca-cola, and Georgia Aquarium, which can double as off-site event space.
• More than 80 percent of the U.S. population is within a two-hour flight of Atlanta, making it one of the most accessible destinations in the country. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport's new international terminal offers an easy gateway for attendees traveling from around the globe.
Convention Center Specs
• 1.4 million square feet, spread over 12 halls in three buildings
• Two - the 25,722-square-foot Georgia Ballroom and the 33,000-square-foot Thomas Murphy Ballroom
• Three, including the 1,726-seat Sidney Marcus Auditorium and the C100 Auditoriums, which can hold up to 621 total attendees
• 71,250-seat Georgia Dome and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park