Tucson is emerging as one of the most interesting cities in the U.S. for meetings and event planners. Through injecting its rich culinary roots into local hotels and connecting planners into its creative downtown scene, Tucson is a case study for how destination marketers can help meeting planners realize the creative potential of a city by amplifying its unique assets beyond the convention center.

Skift went to Tucson to take a closer look at how the city is evolving to drive meetings and events.

Tapping Into Downtown Tucson’s Creative Spaces

Meeting planners have always been drawn to Tucson’s coterie of luxury mountain resorts spread around the city’s perimeter, but there’s been a surge of recent developments in the downtown core.

Today, there’s a newfound spirit of creativity and community up and down Congress Street in the heart of the city, offering attendees a whole new layer of urban experiences after their meetings are over.

Watch the full video below.

America’s Capital of Gastronomy

Tucson is becoming recognized as one of the most creative culinary cities in the U.S. following its designation as a UNESCO Capital of Gastronomy in 2016.

The city is now leveraging its innovative food, wine and spirits scene to attract the attention of more national meeting planners, who might not be aware of the spirit of inventiveness in the local kitchens.

In this video: Skift meets with Tucson’s tourism officials, hotel executives and chefs, wine experts, and food growers to explore how they’re collaborating to bring more meetings and events to the region.

Watch the full video below.

Tucson’s Outdoor Desert Vibe

The desert environment surrounding Tucson provides some unexpected values for meeting and event planners, beyond the beautiful scenery. In the luxury mountain resorts and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, the calm stillness of the desert helps attendees slow down a bit, relax their breathing, and connect better with each other.

In today’s era of constant change, a lot of business travelers and conference delegates are overwhelmed with content and disruption, at home and on the road. After only a few hours in Tucson, you start to focus more clearly on things amid the Sonoran’s subtle energy. The Southwestern cuisine tastes more delicious. The sights and smells of the desert colors, flowers, and air bring a heightened clarity.

You leave here with a different perspective. That is the true value of Tucson as a meetings and events destination for planners and their groups.

Watch the full video below.

This content was created collaboratively by Visit Tucson and Skift’s SkiftX content studio.