Tourists spent $240 million in Columbus last year, which is 6 percent more money than they did two years ago, according to a study from the Columbus Area Visitors Center.
Columbus Area Visitors Center Director Lynn Lucas says the city’s well-known architecture is bringing people in, but other areas are also attracting attention.
“We continue to see growth in the sports tourism market and we bring in a lot of families,” she says. “Obviously we have focused on youth sports. In addition to that we have corporate market. We also have had the blessing of having families associated with Camp Atterbury.”
Lucas says the city has also been marketing itself to a very specific type of tourist for the last several years.
“We market to that female who travels with her family, who probably makes the decision where the family is going to go on vacation or short trips,” she says.
Lucas says her group’s marketing efforts have been successful and that’s a good thing for local businesses.
The study found shopping, food, and beverage purchases by tourists accounted for three out of every four dollars spent.
Kelly Glick, owner of Tre Bicchieri in downtown Columbus, says her restaurant has seen more business in the last couple of years but there could be multiple reasons for that.
“I do think it has increased a little bit but it’s hard to tell because we are downtown, and Cummins has opened many offices in the past year,” she says.
While Glick is happy business is growing, she says the city still needs to develop a concrete strategy for economic development and give people more reasons to visit the downtown area.