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Keeping the Convention Center competitive

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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The Dispatch wrote Columbus has a smaller budget and fewer hotel rooms than other comparable cities What can it do to compete?
BY MARLA MATZER ROSE

Columbus competes hard for conventions with cities such as Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Kansas City. Some say that Columbus is in danger of not only losing new business, but also seeing some of its current business drift away.

In Columbus alone, convention and meeting groups brought in $2 billion in direct spending in 2007, along with $180 million in city and county tax revenue. In 2005, more than 142,000 full-time jobs were created in Columbus related to business travel and tourism, mostly at restaurants, tourist attractions and hotels.

Plans for a new convention hotel on land controlled by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority have been on-again, off-again in recent years. The project awaits the blessing of the city and county, which would need to back the bonds used by the convention authority to help finance the project.

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