Columbia SC tourism is comprised of a set of sister organizations responsible for various components of promoting and marketing tourism throughout Richland County, Lexington County and the City of Columbia. The two sister organizations are made up of three branches (Experience Columbia SC, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Experience Columbia SC Sports), each with a specific set of responsibilities related to promoting and marketing the Columbia region. 

Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau 

The Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau dba Experience Columbia SC is the destination marketing organization (DMO) for the region. 

This branch of Columbia SC tourism began in 1984 as the Greater Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. Experience Columbia SC’s mission is to strengthen the area’s economy by marketing and selling the region as a premier destination for meetings & conventions, tradeshows, special events and leisure travel. Experience Columbia SC works with accommodations, restaurants, facilities and attractions to provide informative materials and services that enhance and promote the desired image of the Columbia area. The Experience Columbia SC DMO is funded by a combination of private and public funds including City of Columbia Accommodations Tax, Richland County Accommodations and Hospitality Taxes, and Accommodations Tax from Lexington County, Town of Lexington, City of Cayce, West Columbia and Town of Irmo, as well as a Destination Specific Grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.  

Midlands Authority for Conventions Sports & Tourism

The Midlands Authority for Conventions Sports & Tourism is comprised of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (CMCC), Experience Columbia SC Sports (ECSC Sports)

The CMCC’s mission is to provide a first-class venue offering superior operations management and state-of-the-science amenities for the successful coordination of meetings, conventions, tradeshows, entertainment and other special events. The CMCC enhances the economic viability and image of the Columbia area. The CMCC is funded primarily through a tourism development fee assessed on each occupied hotel room in the City of Columbia, Richland County and Lexington County as well as revenues generated from meeting room rental, food and beverage sales, utilities, equipment rental revenue and audio-visual revenue. 

The mission of ECSC Sports is to strengthen the area’s economy by marketing and selling the Columbia area as a premier destination for sporting events. ECSC Sports partners with local sports organizations to grow and develop existing events and recruits new events which provide an economic benefit to the region by generating room nights, food and beverage sales and associated tax revenues.  

Leadership from each of these sister organizations reports to a shared CEO, who answers to a Board of Directors. While each entity has its own director or general manager and team members, the various entities rely on the marketing department, finance department, human resources department and administration of the Midlands Authority, which streamlines key components such as branding and messaging, budgetary organization, general oversight and benefits.  


From Our CEO

Bill Ellen

President & CEO

You won’t find a more passionate team anywhere. So whether you are planning a major conference, sports tournament or just a weekend getaway for your family, we have the expertise to make your experience memorable.

Meet Our Team