Atlanta emerged as a leading health care meetings host last year, booking a record number of room nights for the segment in 2012.
The city’s 251,127 room nights stemming from medical meetings represented an 11-percent gain on its 2011 totals and a 125-percent increase from just four years ago, according to the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We have a pretty good anchor here to attract medical meetings,” says Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He notes the presence of the several major industry institutions—the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Cancer Society are headquartered in or around Atlanta, for example—that make the city a natural fit for a medical audience. A multitude of hospitals and university research centers are also nearby.
A new $1.4 billion international terminal at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport also plays to the strong foreign-attendee bases of most medical events.
More is on the way, Vaughan says, as the city continues to pursue relevant companies and events. More than 65 shows made the decision to commit to events in Atlanta last year alone, including newcomers like the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections and American Academy of Otolaryngology Annual Meeting and OTO Expo in 2018.
“You’ll see a little transformation in Atlanta and Georgia over the next couple of years in the bio space,” he says. “The state has been actively attracting bio companies for a couple of years now and a lot of those efforts are paying off.”