ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.
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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 42 EAST TENNESSEE Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee contains many of the highest peaks in the eastern United States, and is good for meeting planners looking to add outdoor adventure and moun- tain heritage to the event schedule. The cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga and Johnson City; the big tourist destinations of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge; and the smaller cities on the east side of the Smokies offer a wide variety of experiences and venues for any type of group event. CHATTANOOGA Chattanooga, twice honored with Outside magazine's Best Town Ever, combines natural beauty with a vibrant downtown and one of the nation's top 10 green convention centers, said Candace Davis, marketing and public relations manager for Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). "In addition, we have family-friendly attractions, cultural pursuits, history and unique off-site function venues." Once in the city, visitors can take advan- tage of the free Electric Shuttle, with a route through downtown and beyond, or the 24/7 Bicycle Transit System with 300 bicycles at 30 stations around downtown. Recently, the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo completed an $8 million renovation and the Tennessee Aquarium opened a new Alli- gator Bayou exhibit. The 200-room Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown is scheduled to open in fall 2015. "In addition, we have several recently renovated hotel properties and many new restaurants. In 2016, an upscale 90-room boutique hotel with restaurant and rooftop event space will open downtown," Davis said. Chattanooga's downtown and immediate area includes much for visitors to enjoy, Davis explained. "In addition to the aquarium and Chattanooga Choo Choo, there's the River Gorge Explorer and Southern Belle riverboat, Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, Hunter Mu- seum of American Art, AT&T Field, and the Bluff View Art District. Less than 15 minutes from downtown, visitors can explore the Chat- tanooga Zoo, Rock City, Ruby Falls, Incline Railway, and ZIPstream Aerial Adventure." The Chattanooga Convention Center was one of the first convention centers in the country to incorporate a "farm-to- table" program and is connected to the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown. T E N N E S S E E Atrium of Hilton Knoxville in Alcoa On the east side of the Smoky Moun- tains, the cities of Townsend, Alcoa, and Maryville bill themselves, collectively, as the "Peaceful Side of the Smokies." Knox- ville's McGhee Tyson Airport is located in Alcoa and is serviced by more than 120 flights a day to 19 non-stop destinations. Open in 2010, Maryville's Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College includes three theaters, three art galleries and outdoor plaza. The main theater seats up to 1,196 people. The college also offers five auditoriums, more than 35 class- rooms and meeting rooms, a chapel and five banquet areas for events. Pellissippi Place, a 450-acre mixed-use technology park is under development in Alcoa and, according to press reports, eventually will provide professional office and entertain- ment venues, restaurants, cinemas, hotels and 800,000 square feet of retail space. Blount and Knox counties and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa each invested $5 million to buy and develop the site. Smoky Mountain Meeting Space • Hilton Knoxville Airport, Alcoa: 17 meeting rooms with maximum meeting capacity of 600; connected to airport by a covered walkway • Highland Manor Inn and Confer- ence Center, Townsend: 49 guest rooms; meeting capacity for 125 • Tremont Lodge & Resort, Townsend: 132 guest rooms, 30 cabins; meeting capacity for 900 Contact: www.smokymountains.org Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville B R E A K O U T S P O T L I G H T : THE PEACEFUL SIDE OF THE SMOKIES