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Plan in place to recover revenue lost in Columbus during the pandemic

Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 9:10 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Statistics from Visit Columbus show that the pandemic wiped out 15 years of growth for the Fountain City.

President Peter Bowden of the tourism organization says his tourism recovery plan presented to City Council Tuesday morning could help repair that in two phases. One, support the leisure market which is already making a comeback.

And two:

“Part two of the TRP plan deals specifically with meetings and conventions. And with the rollout of the vaccine, we are seeing more confidence in the meeting planners’ minds and we are now able to rebook a lot of those. “We are seeing a strong third calendar for 2021,” Bowden said.

City leaders say to support that, the community’s infrastructure must be invested in. The most recent action being taken at city council to develop an alleyway in Uptown in hopes to draw more foot traffic to the area.

“We are hopeful we will see some more development of this type in the very near future,” said Rick Jones, Columbus Consolidated Government planning director.

Ed Wolverton, president of Uptown Columbus, says there are millions of dollars invested into ongoing developments in the Columbus area. Banks Food Hall, City Mills Hotel, High Side Market, and the Mercer Medical School are all mixed examples that eventually will lead to more people in the area.

“Development follows development. As we get the snowball rolling, it can get bigger, and bigger, and bigger,” Wolverton said.

By gauging the pandemic’s effect on the economy, those in the industry estimate it could be 2023 until Columbus returns to pre-pandemic levels in terms of revenue, even with multi-million dollar developments.

But with several residential projects slated to be completed in the next year, it could help speed up the time frame.

“By adding more apartments, by adding more condominiums or single-family homes, that provides a nearby market for the shops and restaurants,” Wolverton said.

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