Columbus saw nearly 40 million visitors last year, according to research released Wednesday by convention and visitors bureau Experience Columbus.
That’s an increase of 1.5 percent over 2015, a modest uptick that appears to be continuing during the first half of 2017.
Travelers also lingered longer in Columbus, according to the report from travel and tourism research firm Longwoods International.
The number of overnight visitors increased to 9.1 million from 8.9 million, an increase of 2.2 percent. That’s significant because overnight visitors on average spend three times more than day visitors in the community.
Visitors bureau officials also said at Wednesday’s Experience Columbus board meeting at Downtown’s Crowne Plaza hotel that hotel occupancy ticked up modestly for the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period last year. Occupancy was up 1.1 percent over the same period last year, while the average daily room rate increased by a more robust 2.6 percent.
These figures put Columbus in the middle of the pack among cities it considers its competitors, including Indianapolis, Nashville, Kansas City and Milwaukee along with as Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Columbus ranked sixth out of its competitors, which number 11 in all,in terms of occupancy, and eighth in terms of average daily hotel-room rate. The average daily rate was $103.89, compared with an average of $110.45 for competitive cities.
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