Visitors Center key statistics show growth

Annual meeting to present trends in Columbus

Attendance at tourist-oriented special events in Columbus last year grew 56 percent over the previous year, among the largest increases recorded among statistics kept by the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

Those and other growth trends will be part of the spotlight during the annual meeting of the Columbus Area Visitors Center, 4 p.m. Wednesday at the agency’s offices at 506 Fifth St. The gathering is open to the public.

Special events from last year’s calendar range from a crowd of nearly 1,000 people for the inaugural Exhibit Columbus symposium to smaller gatherings such as the International Cessna Association and Museum of International Folk Art.

Karen Niverson, the visitors center’s executive director, will expound on some of those trends during the annual meeting.

Among other statistics, the visitors center’s income from its gift shop increased 28 percent over 2015. Niverson said part of that boost is linked to stronger ties and inspiration via the national Museum Store Association. The center’s Jan Banister currently is attending one of that organization’s meetings in Pittsburgh.

“We have been doing a lot of good networking,” Niverson said. “And that has brought a lot of great ideas to us regarding merchandising.”

The visitor center also will highlight grants totaling $107,000 given to a variety of local agencies for events, programs and projects.

Visitors center annual meeting

What: Columbus Area Visitors Center annual meeting.

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Visitors center meeting room at its office, 506 Fifth St.

Information: 812-378-2622 or columbus.in.us

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.