Meeting Case Study: Adventure Travel Trade Association's
2024 AdventureELEVATE

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains between the scenic wonders of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, Asheville is in the heart of North Carolina’s outdoor industry.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding French Broad River

Attendees can enjoy excursions on the French Broad River when visiting Asheville.

The beauty of the region combined with the outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and rafting, as well as the many suppliers who can organize those activities for meeting and event groups, caught the attention of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). On June 11-13, it is bringing some 350 to 400 adventure tourism planners to Asheville for the ninth AdventureELEVATE North America conference.

“Part of the appeal of selecting Asheville is that it's an outdoor industry town,” explained Russell Walters, regional director, North America, of the ATTA. “There's a lot of outdoor industry experts, both on the outfitting side and the tour operator side, that we'll be able to use,” for the event's Days of Adventure pre-show experiences and the post-trip fams.

Liquid Logic manufacturing

Asheville is a major hub for outdoor manufacturing, including Liquidlogic, which produces a range of kayaks and canoes.

“We're really excited to work with local bike companies and raft outfitters and walking tour operators,” Walters said. “It’s such a natural venue with all that there is to offer from the surrounding activities.”

Beyond that, he added, there is a large network of outdoor manufacturing and retail businesses around Asheville and North Carolina that the organization will be tapping into to help with the design of some of the educational sessions. These sessions will cover topics ranging from technology and marketing to safety and risk management.

Those speakers and local knowledge experts will “really help us define the event and what it is that adventure in the Southeast looks like,” he said. “I think that there's a lot of interest, there's a lot of demand. People have been in the mountains up in Canada and in the West. And now it's, ‘Well, what are these Blue Ridge Mountains? What is it that North Carolina has to offer?’”

The Great Indoors

The offerings of the city itself, including its event venues, were a big factor in choosing Asheville to host AdventureELEVATE, Walters said.

Addison Farm Vineyard group

Groups can leverage a range of outdoor venues and experiences when visiting Asheville.

“Asheville has got quite a culinary scene, a craft brewing scene,” he said, pointing to his own experience trying the local barbecue. “You've got an incredible art scene, an incredible music scene. We're really excited to be able to bring our delegates and show them all that Asheville has to offer.”

Walters said he thinks outdoor adventure planners will be looking at the Southeast, and at Asheville in particular, as a place to develop new product and new opportunities.

“I think they're going to really enjoy it,” he said.

A Walkable City

Enjoyment aside, networking is a big part of the conference and the layout of Asheville makes that easy, Walters said. 

“One of the reasons that Asheville was selected is it's a very walkable city,” he said. “I think some of the networking sessions, some of the educational sessions will be walkable sessions in the park just adjacent to the Renaissance Asheville Downtown Hotel.”

Downtown Drone Festival

The easy accessibility and walkability of Asheville's downtown was one of the reasons ATTA selected it for the AdventureELEVATE conference.

Located in the heart of Asheville’s downtown, the Renaissance will be the main hub from which attendees will go off and explore the town after sessions are over, Walters said. “They will literally be able to walk out of the door of the Renaissance Asheville Downtown Hotel and see all that Asheville has to offer.”

Good Experience

Another reason, he added, was his experience with Explore Asheville.

“It takes a long while to bring these events to fruition from the initial RFP all the way through the contracting stage, and then site inspection and working through the details,” Walters said. “Every step of the way, the whole team at Explore Asheville has been incredibly professional, very timely.” 

Questions were answered quickly and with great detail,” he said. “I think their genuine sense of excitement was also one of the determining factors.

“They really want to showcase what it is that Asheville has to offer,” Walters said. “They were convinced that our delegates would have a great time there. And we've been learning from their enthusiasm and their professionalism.”

Planning Support

The team at Explore Asheville is deeply connected to the community's industry leaders and a planner's best point of contact to host a meeting in this dynamic city. Connect with Explore Asheville's destination experts to tap into its complimentary meeting planning services and create a meaningful agenda.


Tina Porter with Explore Asheville will assist your organization in securing the right-size hotel and make the connections you need to local outdoor industry expertise.

Contact Tina early in your planning stages for time-saving assistance and access to Explore Asheville's Exclusive Services. Plus, your meeting could qualify for our incentive program.