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Business & Economy

Columbus convention of meeting planners could lead to $250 million investment in next decade

Columbus, Ohio skyline
Wikimedia Commons

Meeting planners from around the world gathered in Columbus this week to examine bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in future business to the city.

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), a convention of business strategists that plan meetings globally, welcomed 3,300 attendees in downtown Columbus.

"It's exciting for Columbus because we are so diverse in the industries that are proud to call Columbus home,” said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus.

Ross said the four-day gathering this week aimed at leading the business meeting industry into the future will add about $5.6 million to the community.

"They're looking at can our convention center host the number of exhibits and breakouts they need,” said Ross. “And then they're also looking at the hotel package. How walkable it is, how condensed it is, the type of hotels that are offered, the price points that we are able to provide groups, and then also the culture and the vibe of our community, the different districts.”

PCMA is headquartered in Chicago and has 17 North American chapters and members in 59 countries.

Ross said over the next 10 years, the PCMA business event strategists are expected to bring about $250 million of economic growth to Columbus.

“Over these last four days, the entire community, whether it's at the airport, whether it's some of our corporate sponsors, whether it's hotels, restaurants. We continue to hear how wonderful Columbus is and how, quite honestly, people are surprised of the overall culture and offerings that Columbus has.”

Ross says 30 large-scale conventions are planning meetings in Columbus this year. The next high-profile group will be the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June.

“We can show off and provide a perspective and experience of what Columbus is about,” Ross said.

Business & Economy
Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.