COLUMBUS, Ohio—The 2023 State of the Visitor Industry: Third Quarter Report made available today by Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission shows Columbus’ tourism industry is projected to end the year on a strong note, with a 40% increase in the number of groups and events hosted so far this year compared to last year. 

From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2023, Columbus hosted a total of 330 conventions, trade shows and sporting events, up 40% from the same time frame last year. Some of the top groups welcomed from July through September included AmericanHort’s Cultivate, which brought in 10,000 attendees, filled 13,000 hotel rooms and had an estimated direct visitor spend of $8.8M and the Assemblies of God General Council, which brought 25,000 attendees, filled 16,000 hotel rooms and had an estimated $10M in direct visitor spend. On the sports side, the Buckeye Showdown RecruitFest and Buckeye Elite Showcase Tournament brought in a combined 8,000 athletes and fans in July and generated more than $5.2M in estimated direct visitor spend. 

“This has been an incredible year for Columbus, with some of the highlights being hosting PCMA Convening Leaders in January, hosting the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in June and spearheading a communitywide perception study that was the first of its kind since 2017,” said Experience Columbus President and CEO Brian Ross. “As we close out the year, we shift our focus to the holidays and winter season. Our new holiday campaign, Celebrate Columbus, invites visitors and locals to experience Columbus during the most wonderful time of the year, and we look forward to welcoming visitors for the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January.”    

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 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: 



% 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. 

Year-to-date bed tax collections through Sept. 30, 2023 totaled more than $39.8 million, up 14% 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 315,746 room nights. 

“We spent the quarter mostly focused on the future,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission CEO and President Linda Logan. “Our team began work on the 2026-28 NCAA Championship bid cycle and continued planning for the 2024 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. In the summer, more than 130 kids came to our Community Youth Camp over four days. Community Cup was the largest yet with nearly 1,300 people registered for the corporate challenge event.” 

Experience Columbus also has a new initiative to get Columbus chefs and restaurants nominated for 2024 James Beard Awards.   

“Our city has an incredible food scene that is already celebrated nationally, but we want even more people to know you can have incredible and unique dining experiences in Columbus, whether you’re looking for a six-course tasting menu at a chef’s table or the best Himalayan dumplings in the Midwest,” said Experience Columbus Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Sarah Townes. “The Experience Columbus landing page,, makes it easy for anyone to nominate their favorite Columbus chef by Nov. 30 by offering helpful instructions and informative interviews.”   

To learn more about Experience Columbus’ current initiatives, visit  
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  
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 Contacts
Leah Berger, APR: | 614-222-6145  
Cameron Tirado, ECI: | 610-389-6833