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Visitor spending in Washington, DC surpassed $7 billion

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC received 20.0 million domestic visitors in 2016, an increase of 3.4% over 2015. Domestic visitation earned a record high visitor spend of $7.3 billion, according to IHS Markit, a year-over-year increase of 3.0%. Travel and tourism sustains more than 74,654 jobs in DC.

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"In 2016, Washington, DC welcomed 700,000 more domestic visitors than we did in 2015," said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of DDC, the official destination marketing organization for the District. "These numbers articulate the national appetite for new and enduring tourism inventory in the District as well as DDC's ability to capture consumers on multiple platforms."

"Every visitor to the District of Columbia plays a vital role in spreading inclusive prosperity throughout the local economy by staying in our hotels, dining in our restaurants, visiting our attractions and shopping in our stores," said Muriel E. Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia. "Congratulations to Destination DC on another banner year for tourism and helping to make DC's economy one of the strongest local economies in the country."

2016 marks the second time that visitor spending in Washington, DC surpassed $7 billion. Spending on accommodations grew 4.0% over 2015. Retail spending grew 1.6%. Spending on dining was up 2.7% and entertainment 3.4%.

"DDC keeps the District at the forefront of travel consumers' top ten U.S. destinations," said Robin McClain, vice president, marketing and communications. "The return on investment study that DDC commissioned from Destination Analysts shows that our city received $2.97 in taxes for every $1 we spent."

"DDC does a phenomenal job of promoting everything DC has to offer. Their hard work pays off for both visitors and residents of the city," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "Elliott Ferguson and his team embody the welcoming spirit of our industry that we're celebrating this week. We are proud to partner with them this year to host IPW, the largest international travel trade conference in America, right here in DC."

Washington, DC to host IPW in June

Between June 3-7, 2017, IPW will welcome 6,000 travel trade buyers, reporters and national destination experts. As the host city, Washington, DC can expect to receive an additional one million international visitors in the three years following the convention, according to Rockport Analytics, adding $1.7 billion in economic impact and $94 million in local taxes.

"Of DC's 20.0 million domestic visitors, 8.4 million were business travelers, up 1.3% over 2015. To encourage momentum, we're identifying opportunities for innovation to differentiate our city from global competition as well as driving our key projects including Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights, the RFK Campus and reactivating the Walter E. Washington Convention Center streetscape," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and CEO of Events DC.

In 2017, Washington, DC will host 21 citywide conventions with an estimated economic impact of $340 million, including Microsoft, the American College of Cardiology, and for the first time, Otakon. In 2018, the District will host 20 citywide conventions including True Value Company, another first-time group.

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