COLUMBUS, Ohio—On the heels of National Travel and Tourism Week, an annual tradition to celebrate the U.S. travel community and travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission are pleased to release the 2023 State of the Visitor Industry: First Quarter Report. The report shares insights into the region’s travel economy from Jan. 1 through March 31, 2023.  

During the first quarter of 2023, Columbus hosted a total of 102 conventions, trade shows and sporting events, many of which were historic markers for the city. This number of meetings and conventions is up from 65 during the same timeframe last year.  

One such event was PCMA Convening Leaders, a prestigious gathering in the business events industry. The conference generated $4.2 million in direct visitor spending for local hotels, restaurants, and businesses, providing a substantial boost to the local economy. However, the long-term impact of the event is even more promising, with Experience Columbus projecting hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits over the next ten years as attendees return to Ohio’s capital city to book future conferences and conventions. 

The city also made its mark in the world of sports. Columbus became the first city to host both the First & Second Rounds of the NCAA ® Men's and Women's Division I Basketball Tournament in the same year. Men’s March Madness returned to Nationwide Arena for the sixth time since 2004, and the city was prepared to make it an unforgettable experience. Pre-sale ticket sales were strong, and the event was officially sold out before tipoff. Columbus even sold more tickets than any other city during the opening weekend. The Ohio State Women’s Basketball team earned the right to host the opening weekend in Columbus due to a successful season. In addition, the Arnold Sports Festival, one of the largest tourism events in Central Ohio, brought in a whopping 100,000 visitors and generated $15.5 million in visitor spend. 

“These events showcased Columbus's ability to come together as a community in ways like never before to support top-tier meetings and conventions, and I could not be more thrilled with the success of the first quarter of 2023,” said Experience Columbus President and CEO Brian Ross. “We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our partners and stakeholders who made these events a success. We look forward to continuing to build upon this momentum and make Columbus a premier destination for business and leisure travel.” 

From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2023, the STR report shows that all key performance metrics increased year over year. 



% Change 

Average in competitive set 





Average Daily Rate (ADR):  









* RevPAR is a hotel industry performance metric, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate. 

“Things got off to a great start in 2023 as NCAA March Madness returned,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission CEO and President Linda Logan. “Hosting both the men’s and women’s tournaments was a treat for local sports fans, with games on five straight days. Our community’s collaborative spirit was on full display that weekend. Playing games in both arenas required a lot of coordination from Ohio State as the host institution, as well as tremendous fan support. The large, passionate crowds a big part of what makes Columbus a great sports city.” 

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2023, Columbus is poised for even more exciting milestones. In June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors will convene in the city for the first time, introducing many newcomers to its vibrant and dynamic culture, and raising its national profile. Additionally, Columbus is set to open its first Makeready hotel, The Junto, in June 2023, which will be in the brand-new neighborhood known as The Peninsula and is expected to be a significant attraction for visitors interested in the city's many top destinations. 

About Experience Columbus  
Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending and enhancing the visitor experience. Annually, visitors make 42.7 million trips to Greater Columbus for conventions, trade shows, sporting events and leisure visits, spending $6.6 billion and supporting nearly 75,000 jobs. Columbus is proud to be selected as the host city for 2023 PCMA Convening Leaders, which brings together the world's business events professionals, and the 2023 U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting. For more information, visit    
About the Greater Columbus Sports Commission  
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission’s mission is to rally Columbus to compete and win sporting events, providing a singular athlete and fan experience and positively impacting image, economy and lifestyle. Since 2002, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission has brought nearly 600 new sporting events to Columbus, generating an estimated $625 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit   

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Media Contact
Cameron Tirado: | 610-389-6833