COLUMBUS, Ohio — This National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13, Experience Columbus, the destination marketing organization for Ohio’s capital city, is announcing the launch of its new Experience Columbus Insider (ECI) program to engage the Central Ohio community with resources and education to welcome visitors with a best-in-class experience. 

“Columbus visitors often say that the people they interacted with during their time here made for memorable and special trips they won't soon forget,” said Chief Destination Experience Officer Kari Kauffman. “It makes travelers want to come back and tell their friends to visit, too.”  

This localized initiative was created in Columbus, by Columbus and is uniquely specialized to the destination. It offers a 1.5-hour online, on-demand Insider course at just $39 for new users and $20 for repeat users, including those who have previous ambassador status. Accounts can be registered on the new website:  

Experience Columbus and Greater Columbus Sports Commission staff will complete the training to further equip them in their mission to increase visitor spending and enhance the visitor experience. However, everyone in the region, especially those in the city’s robust travel and hospitality industry, are encouraged to join the effort to build Columbus’ travel economy.  

Once participants complete all training courses, ECI status is active until next May. In addition to an Insider identifier lapel pin, Insiders receive a host of benefits such as discounts to local businesses, invites to special events, networking and volunteer opportunities. 

“In May 2013, Experience Columbus launched one of the nation’s first tourism ambassador programs,” said Experience Columbus Visitor Experience Director Michelle Wilson.  “Over the last 10 years, our organization has trained more than 5,500 locals to welcome visitors to our city. Thus, it’s truly fitting that we unveil this dynamic new program a decade later during National Travel and Tourism Week.” 

Wilson pointed to the important role local residents play in creating a welcoming and memorable visitor experience, thereby boosting tourism as an important economic engine for the city. 

Every year, travelers make 42.7 million trips to Greater Columbus for conventions, trade shows, sporting events and leisure visits, spending $6.6 billion annually and supporting nearly 75,000 local jobs. Our fellow residents are crucial to driving the local travel economy.  

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

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Media Contacts:  
Cameron Tirado: | 610-389-6833 
Amy Weirick: | 614-296-8513