About

As the DMO for the region, we want the whole world to know what makes Columbia SC so great. Think of us as the biggest cheerleader for the heart of South Carolina. We educate potential visitors about the region year-round with paid and earned media. We help strengthen the region’s economy by bringing millions of visitors annually. Our unified vision and strong identity stokes our shared sense of possibility and fosters pride among locals.

Experience Columbia SC (also known as Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism) was organized as the Midlands Regional Convention Center Authority, a South Carolina nonprofit corporation as of July 5, 2001. To better define the overall purpose and mission of the Authority the official name was changed effective September 12, 2003.

The mission of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports and Tourism includes:

  • Directing and managing the activities and mission of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • Overseeing the development and operation of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center under a long-term management agreement for the benefit of the Governmental Entities: City of Columbia, Lexington County and Richland County.
  • Directing and managing the activities and mission of the Columbia Regional Sports Council.
  • Directing and managing the operation of the Columbia Regional Visitors Center.

On August 24, 2001, the Authority became the Supervising Member for the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau and on May 14, 2002, the Columbia Regional Sports Council became a partner in the regional marketing efforts. On September 12, 2003, the Authority's name was changed to better reflect its responsibilities to the community.

The Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism consists of nine members; five representing the City of Columbia, two representing Lexington County and two representing Richland County.

Authority Board Members are represented by: Lexington County, City of Columbia and Richland County.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism will oversee the operation and management of all responsibilities delegated to the Authority. The current President & CEO is Bill Ellen.

Download our Annual Report