Meetings are a key driver of Georgia’s economy and workforce, playing a vital role in fueling other industries. Meetings and conventions directly supports thousands of jobs and helps power small and local businesses throughout Georgia, including in Athens. Visit Athens and The Classic Center are pleased that Explore Georgia profiled our destination as an example of the impact meetings has on our local community as part of a statewide "Meetings Matter" feature.


Athens Meetings

When people attend meetings or conferences at The Classic Center in Athens, they are in the midst of the excitement of downtown restaurants, shops and hotels. The Classic Center hosts more than 700 events annually, adding 80,000 room nights to local hotels and an estimated $46 million of economic impact to Athens-Clarke County.

During summer, the community depends on meetings like the Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education’s (ACTE) Summer Leadership Conference, which brings in 1,300 attendees and an estimated $1.3 million in economic impact. And, as a professional organization for career technical agriculture education teachers, Georgia ACTE depends on in-person events to help members build skills to provide relevant and innovative instruction. “We have discovered that we can meet virtually occasionally, but we know that the human connection is essential for us to continue to meet the educational needs of our students,” says Jody Reeves, executive director for Georgia ACTE.

Georgia ACTE selected Athens, home of the University of Georgia, for its annual conference so that members, many of whom travel from rural communities, can take advantage of all the cultural, culinary and family-friendly experiences in the town. “We believe that the location is as much a part of the attendee experience as the content,” Reeves says. “Many bring their families so they can take a walk down memory lane of their own college experience or they want to expose their children to a college town. We encourage our members to take advantage of all that Athens has to offer in the way of culture, food, and experiences.”

Building on the successful history of hosting a wide variety of events and meetings in Athens, The Classic Center has broken ground on construction of The Classic Center Arena. The multipurpose venue with capacity for 8,500 people is scheduled to open in early 2024 and can transform for any occasion from concerts and sports tournaments to banquets and general sessions.

Read the full article from Explore Georgia here.