Convention draws business to Columbus, aims to attract more

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It’s been a busy few days this week at the Columbus Convention Center, with a big conference on Wednesday.

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) held its convening leadership meeting from Sunday through Wednesday, which itself is estimated to have generated millions of dollars for the city. Now, leaders hope it will eventually bring more money to Columbus.

PCMA is an organization representing those who manage business events, conferences and conferences.

The Convening Leaders conference is being held in Columbus for the first time, and Experience Columbus says it’s something the group has been working on for years and hopes attendees will bring back their companies in the future.

“It’s been an incredible event for our community to host the PCMA over the past few days,” said Dan Williams, chief sales officer for Experience Columbus, a travel information organization. As we show, it’s definitely a gold star for Columbus.”

The conference drew 3,300 people, many of whom were meeting planners from companies around the country and around the world, Williams said. He said the hope is that the planners enjoy their experience here and bring their companies back.

“Ultimately, in the long run, you want these people to come back and bring their meetings to our community, which generates a lot of tax revenue for our community and back to the city,” he said.

From Sunday to Wednesday, the convention brought in about $5.6 million in visitor spending, according to Williams. Events that end up happening because of the convention could lead to more, he said.

“Having one of these conferences over the next 10 years, you’re going to see an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars in your community,” he said.

Barbara Scofidio is the editor of Prevue, the conference industry magazine. This is her first time in Columbus for the PCMA conference.

“Very surprised and happy, I’ve been posting on social media for two days,” she said. “The city has a lot of elements that you would see in a big city, but it’s not as big.”

Scofidio wasn’t the only one surprised. Many attendees said they, too, were pleasantly surprised by the city, Williams said.

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