NOV 2017

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 ⎜ N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 7 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 32 MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: YOUTH & FAITH BASED EVENTS Sponsored by: How Southern Destinations Meet The Needs of Youth & Faith- Based Groups By Shannon Rasmussen Friendly, Fun, Safe & Affordable Fritz's Adventure in Branson, Mo. Experiences matter. The newest generation of adults – ages 18 – 34 – are more inclined to spend money on life experiences rather than material stuff. They are more interested in connections than possessions. These characteristics, according to entertainment platform Eventbrite, are contribut- ing to a boom in the event industry that includes a growing amount of participation in youth and faith-based organizations. One example is Extreme Winter, a three-day event featuring live Christian music concerts and national celebrities, which will be held in Gatlinburg, Tenn. in late December. The popular annual gathering draws more partici- pants every year and the 2017 event was sold out by mid-October. Most activities take place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, where targeted and evangelistic messages are delivered by some of the leading youth communicators in America. Addi- tionally, youth leadership workshops are offered each day of the event. Event organizers point out that they strategically selected Gatlinburg and Branson, Mo. as host sites because these destinations "provide fun and escape from the everyday." While in Gatlinburg, youth leaders are encouraged to engage their groups in such nearby activities as hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, skiing and snow- boarding at Ober Gatlinburg, and enjoying aquar- ium shows at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. The Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bu- reau notes that the area is attractive to youth and faith-based meetings because it offers a number of family-oriented attractions, affordable accommo- dations, public transportation, and a walkable and safe downtown. "The beauty of Gatlinburg makes it the ► Sponsored by:

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