Smart Meetings caught up with Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Aug. 11 at the ASAE show in Detroit.

In this exclusive interview Vaughan discusses exciting new happenings in Atlanta, many of which will benefit meeting planners. As Vaughan notes, a new $1.3 billion football stadium is going up, which should start the re-positioning of the campus at the Georgia World Congress Center. The facility is projected to open in Q1 of 2017, in plenty of time for the Falcons to kick off in the fall season. A new soccer franchise will share the stadium.

Atlanta boasts many great event venues. Within a stone’s throw of the Congress Center is the new College Football Hall of Fame, a fantastic facility connected to the Omni Hotel. Planners can also take advantage of the 20,000-square-foot ballroom at Georgia Aquarium. To house attendees there are 10,000 hotel rooms within a mile radius of the Georgia World Congress Center, and more than 95,000 guest rooms in the Greater Metro region.

In a nutshell, why should planners choose Atlanta? “We are the heartbeat of the south, and the gateway to the world,” says Vaughan. “We are well-known for our Southern hospitality. When you come to Atlanta, we’ll make you feel like you’re at home.”

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