The Columbia riverfront: Flood the Olympia quarry near the Congaree River to create a marina. Build shops and restaurants with a South Carolina flair along the lake. But the real draw would be a one-of-a-kind building on the riverfront to be designed by the winner of a contest. Think something along the lines of the silver-ribbon Guggenheim Museum on the riverfront in Bilbao, Spain.
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center: Enlarge the convention center exhibit hall by four times to 100,000 square feet to accommodate bigger gatherings, of 3,000 and more.
Lake Murray: Develop resorts along S.C. 6 between I-20 and I-26 with a marina, hotel, restaurant and a wedding chapel.
Heritage sites: Create a walking tour in Newberry and improve the Lexington County Museum by constructing a visitors center. Also create an African-American heritage trail that would include visits to Hopkins in Lower Richland, Eartha Kitt's and Mary McLeod Bethune's birthplaces and historically black colleges, S.C. State in Orangeburg and Benedict in Columbia.
I-95 Gateway: Develop a center at Lake Marion off I-95 near The Beach Co.'s planned 4,000-acre resort that would include S.C. foods and crafts, and could be a stop for lake cruises.
Santee Cooper Waterway: Better promote fishing and hunting and heritage opportunities along waterways that include Congaree, Santee and Cooper rivers, lakes Marion and Moultrie, and the Tailrace Canal. This also would be where the Columbia-to-Charleston cruises would be promoted.
Sports: Promote an equine corridor from Santee to Camden to Aiken and better coordination to win youth-team and fishing tournaments.
The challenges: Columbia is underperforming as a tourism draw by not taking advantage of what consultant Peter MacNulty called the area's prominent feature - its rivers and lakes.
The area also could lure more visitors who drive by on the busy interstates.
In addition, the region has too many overlapping organizations promoting tourism, preventing coordination on marketing and strategy campaigns.
The potential: Growing interest in healthy lifestyles and the environment plays to the Midlands' strengths - outdoor activities.
Being a state capital already draws many visitors, and the area's interstates bring plenty of could-be tourists past the city.