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Monday, February 20, 2012 - 8:00am

Ft. Benning Expansion Fuels Tourism

Fort Benning's expansion and a new marketing push have helped increase tourism in Columbus.

A Columbus State University study showed the west Georgia city welcomed 1.4 million visitors in the fiscal year that ended last June. That's up from 1.2 million visitors in 2010, but still less than the 1.5 million visitors the city received in 2009.

Peter Bowden of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau told the Ledger-Enquirer a rise in the number of Fort Benning graduations and a new emphasis on social media marketing contributed to the increase in visitors.

The study shows the economic impact of those visitors was about $418 million and helped sustain more than 7,500 hospitality jobs.