COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— In 2022, the Columbus Convention and Trade Center had a banner year bringing in more tourists and business for the Fountain City than ever before.
Executive Director of the Trade Center Hayley Tillery and Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson attributes much of this success to the city’s ability to house visitors.
“People are coming to our community. The Trade Center, I think they had over 600 events last year. My math’s not good, but that’s almost two a day. They had about 169,000 visitors that came through,” Mayor Henderson said. “So, we’re seeing people come to our community. We just completed our fourth hotel since COVID started.”
Tillery says the more hotels downtown, directly impacts their ability to house more events.
“The hotels are a major influence because without those hotels I can’t host these events. It’s so critical to have these beds for people to come visit because we want to be able to attract those two-day, three-day event, five-day conference plans, because that is continuous impact to our city,” Tillery said.
The Trade Center just hosted their biggest event of the year, Georgia ThesCon that brought more than 6,000 people to the Fountain City for three days.
In 2022, the Trade Center profited $1.4 million, all of which goes back to the city as a city facility. In addition to that, the economic impact last year’s events had on the city totaled $6.7 million.
“There’s a domino effect when that happens, not only does it help our economy, it provides more jobs, it helps this market and all of our local entrepreneurs down here to prosper,” Tillery said. “And it brings Columbus a mindset for other people to want to visit.”
With more than 600 events and conferences booked for 2023, they expect the momentum to keep going. Tillery says the Trade Center is nearly completely booked for this year, and they are booking events as far out as 2027.