The number of visitors to Columbus held steady last year, with the hospitality industry generating a $371 million economic impact for the city, according to the Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau.
There were 961,000 visitors to the city in 2007, said Peter Bowden, CVB president and CEO. That's roughly the same as in 2006.
The holding pattern comes with gas prices on the rise toward $4 per gallon.
But the city is hoping that corporate business, military reunions and training, as well as next spring's debut of the National Infantry Museum will fuel tourism and visitation, Bowden said.
"We have certainly been looking at (gas prices) very hard," he said. "We may see people not traveling as far. They may tend to spend more time in their own backyard, so to speak . . . But no one has ever done $4 a gallon gasoline, and it looks like we're getting pretty close to that before summer."
There are approximately 7,500 people employed in the hospitality sector. Those jobs include wait staff, store clerks and hotel workers.
See Saturday's Ledger-Enquirer for a comprehensive update on the city's hotel offerings and outlook.