Leverage Asheville's Health and Wellness Expertise

Meeting planners are looking for ways to put wellness at the center of their events — and there are few destinations more ideal for doing just that than Asheville, N.C.

Over the last 15 or 20 years, incorporating wellness experiences into corporate meetings and group events has become increasingly important for planners. Offering a little something extra to relax and rejuvenate attendees not only helps them start and end the day on a healthy high note, it has proven to be an effective way to improve their productivity and engagement. 

Activities ranging from chair massages to a simple, five- to 10-minute movement session between meetings and seminars "can really help attendees reset," said Nicole Will of Asheville Wellness Tours, a "one-stop shop" for planners bringing groups to Asheville, located in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Group of adults sitting in conference ballroom doing a sound healing experience

Incorporating a wellness activity into a meeting, such as a sound bath experience offered by Asheville Wellness Tours, can help attendees to focus and feel refreshed. 

"It helps you absorb the information or the conversation you've just participated in and then feel refreshed and ready for the next session," she said.

With its legacy as a wellness hub dating back more than a century, Asheville is a great place to create events with this sort of wellness focus, thanks to its deeply rooted, holistic approach to nurturing both the mind and the body. 

Mountaintop Yoga

The stunning natural landscape surrounding Asheville makes it ideal for outdoor wellness activities.

That can mean something as simple as a stroll along the city's miles of greenway, or a visit to the Asheville Botanical Gardens — both easily accessible from the city's downtown — to a wilderness hike along serene forest trails, or a drive taking in the scenic grandeur of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

And while the temperate climate and rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains are at the core of the area's wellness culture, "you'll find that the community is really the secret sauce of Asheville," said Will. "It's very collaborative and very creative."

It's All There

That's what led local ecommerce and event company Love Shine Play to create its wellness- and yoga-focused Love Shine Play Festival seven years ago, said Sarah LaStella, its co-director and co-owner.

Yoga in downtown Asheville, NC at the LoveShinePlay Festival

Asheville's Love Shine Play Festival brings together those interested in health in a wide range of venues and locations throughout the destination. 

"There's just so much of it that it's easy to find what you're looking for," LaStella said. "Whether you're steeped in the industry or just dropping in for a moment and need some help, there's always somebody who's willing to guide you."

"Some people actually believe that there's magic, that there's healing powers in the mountains that surround Asheville," LaStella said. "It really invites a lot of people who are interested in finding peace, finding some sort of wellness, some sort of healing. Because of that, people have come here and put down roots and created all of these beautiful businesses that encompass the wellness community."

Nourishing Food

Asheville is in the heart of Appalachian farm country, a fact greatly appreciated by William Dissen, owner and chef of The Market Place, a farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of Downtown. The 45-year old, pioneering restaurant was named a semifinalist for the 2024 James Beard Awards "Outstanding Restaurant" category and can host groups of up to 100, allowing planners to cater to a variety of dietary needs while supporting local vendors that are environmentally conscious.

The MarketPlace

Visitors to Asheville can enjoy a range of farm-to-table dining options, including a local favorite, The Market Place.

"Fresh food is delicious food, and we're really fortunate that in the Asheville area, there's a number of farms and artisan producers all around," Dissen said. "You might come in the spring and get to taste things like wild ramps or fresh strawberries. Come back in the summer you're tasting heirloom tomatoes and fresh local peppers. And it's all coming within just a few miles of downtown Asheville." 

Fully Integrating Wellness

One important point, Will emphasized, is that "it's absolutely critical to incorporate these elements into the flow and the culture of an event rather than having it be additive and optional." 

While her company offers familiar wellness options such as hikes and mindfulness sessions, they also have more unique offerings, such as tarot readings and sound healing. And for those looking to get out of the boardroom and into nature, forest bathing and goat yoga at some of the area’s local farms are also an option.

Omni Grove Park Inn Spa

Asheville is home to a number of relaxing and luxurious spas, including The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn

"I will admit that we had a couple of participants who were rather skeptical at first," she said of a recent group who took part in a guided forest bathing session. The practice is based on a Japanese concept that focuses on taking in the forest atmosphere as a physiological and psychological exercise in mindfulness.

Sitting there, sipping tea made from locally foraged pine, was an experience of peace and serenity that, Will said, she was still hearing about at the end of the trip.

With team member well-being at the top of planners’ minds, few places offer as many creative ways to incorporate meaningful experiences into their trip as Asheville.

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.