COLUMBUS, Ohio—The 2023 State of the Visitor Industry: Mid-Year Report made available today by Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission shows a strong year so far for Columbus’ travel economy.  
 
As the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, Experience Columbus is dedicated to growing visitor spending and enhancing the visitor experience. Visitors make 49.6 million trips to Greater Columbus for conventions, trade shows, sporting events and leisure visits, spending $6.6 billion and supporting 75,000 jobs. Through the first six months of the year, bed tax collections as a result of these visits reached more than $22.6 million, which supports not only Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, but also the Greater Columbus Arts Council, nearly 40 health and human service organizations, the Affordable Housing Trust and the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. 
 
From January 1, 2023 through June 30, 2023, Columbus hosted a total of 224 conventions, trade shows and sporting events, up 45% from the same time frame last year. Two major events put Columbus in the national spotlight. PCMA Convening Leaders 2023 in January was attended by 3,300 participants and brought in $4.2 million in direct visitor spending with the potential to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the next decade. In June, Columbus welcomed 1,200 participants for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which was held in Columbus for the first time and resulted in an estimated $1.5 million in direct visitor spending. 
 
Other top events hosted in Columbus during the first six months of the year included the Arnold Sports Festival, American Cheer Power, Game Manufacturers Association, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s DI Basketball Tournament and the Premier Lacrosse League.  
 

“Columbus continues to grow as a top destination for meetings and conventions as a result of the work our team has done over the past years by hosting events such as ASAE in 2019 and PCMA Convening Leaders in January and because of the warm welcome our community extends to all visitors,” said Experience Columbus President and CEO Brian Ross. “So far this year we have hosted 20 citywide events, a 33% increase compared to last year. We know that once meeting planners experience Columbus firsthand they bring business back, and we’re excited to have showcased our city to so many business events professionals during PCMA to kick off 2023.” 


From January 1 to June 30, 2023, the STR report, which provides data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for the global hospitality industry, shows that all key performance metrics increased year over year: 
 

KPI 

YTD 

% Change 

Average in competitive set 

Occupancy: 

58.4% 

5.4% 

60.5% 

Average Daily Rate (ADR):  

$118.33 

9.2% 

$131.72 

 

RevPAR 

$69.14 

 

15% 

 

$80.25 

RevPAR is a hotel industry performance metric, which is calculated by multiplying a hotel’s ADR by its occupancy rate. 
 
Year-to-date bed tax collections through June 30 totaled more than $22.6 million, up 9% over the same period in 2022, according to reports from the Office of City of Columbus Auditor Megan Kilgore. Looking ahead, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission booked future business accounting for 247,939 room nights. 
 

“This has been an exciting year for the Greater Columbus Sports Commission as we secured two major events for Columbus that will shine not only a national spotlight on our city, but also get global attention,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission CEO and President Linda Logan. “The 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January and the 2024 Major League Soccer All-Star Game in July allow us the opportunity to showcase why Columbus is such a great sports city.”   


Throughout the past six months Experience Columbus has also launched several new initiatives and advertising campaigns to attract visitors to the region. The new Experience Columbus Insider (ECI) program engages the Central Ohio community with resources and education to welcome visitors with a best-in-class experience. The Minority Business Program, which was made possible through funding provided by Columbus City Council, amplifies the city’s outstanding minority-owned businesses to residents, visitors and convention attendees. And “CBUS Rewards” is a first-of-its-kind destination loyalty app that offers visitors and locals the chance to create personalized itineraries and earn exciting rewards and prizes.  
 

“As we look ahead to the remainder of the year, one of the things we are most excited about is sharing the results of our comprehensive perception study, which is the first of its kind since 2017 and was conducted in partnership with several organizations across our community, including the City of Columbus, One Columbus, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and The Ohio State University,” said Experience Columbus Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Sarah Townes. “Spending time to listen to our community about their perceptions of Columbus and tourism in our community as well as visitors and meeting planners from around the country is incredibly valuable and will inform our strategies for 2024 and for many years to come.” 


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 49.6 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 have hosted the 2023 U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in June and PCMA Convening Leaders 2023, which brought together the world's business events professionals in January. For more information, visit ExperienceColumbus.com.  
 
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 ColumbusSports.org

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Media Contacts
Leah Berger, APR: lberger@experiencecolumbus.com | 614-222-6145  
Cameron Tirado, ECI: ctirado@experiencecolumbus.com | 610-389-6833