Washington, DC’s hospitality and tourism industry rises

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

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Washington, DC’s hospitality and tourism industry had the fifth consecutive record-breaking year in 2014 for domestic visitation. In 2014, domestic visitation topped 18.34 million domestic visitors, according to a report prepared by D.K. Shifflet, an increase of 5.7% over 2013. Visitors to DC spent $6.8 billion, according to IHS Global, Inc., a year-over-year increase of 1.9%.

The seventh at Destination DC’s annual Travel Rally, held at the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square was timed to coincide with the U.S. Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11, 2014.

“Every visitor to the District of Columbia plays a vital role in sustaining our local economy by staying in our hotels, dining in our restaurants, visiting our attractions, shopping in our stores and supporting almost 75,000 District jobs,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official tourism and marketing office for the District. “In 2014 visitor spending was up more than $100 million over the previous year. These dollars are monies left in the District by visitors and indicate the high rate of return on tourism investment.”

2014 marks the fourth consecutive year visitor spending surpassed $6 billion. The retail sector grew by 2.5%. Spending on food and beverage was up almost 4% while entertainment spending was up nearly 2% as well, a significant turnaround from recessionary spending when consumers cut back on non-essential costs as necessary.

“Destination DC keeps the District at the forefront of consumers’ minds by spotlighting our world-famous tourism inventory as well as $9 billion of new development underway in our neighborhoods,” said Ferguson. “Yes, we’re wary of the one-two combo of a falling Euro and strong U.S. dollar abroad, but we’re addressing key audiences in novel ways. This summer, our largest seasonal campaign will contains a creative arsenal including DC-themed emojis; a ”DC Cool” Kids Activity Guide, and our first television commercial, produced in-house, for broadcast in key feeder markets, as well as a #WeGotThis print campaign in popular regional magazines such as Boston Magazine, The New Yorker and New York Magazine. ”

“DC has every reason to celebrate this week because it’s not only one of our country’s top destinations but it also benefits from a civic leadership that knows how to attract visitors and maximize the economic benefits of tourism,” remarked U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The fabulous new convention center hotel, the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC and CityCenterDC complex are evidence that there are many more great things to come for DC tourism. I congratulate Destination DC and thank them for their tremendous support for National Travel and Tourism Week.”

In 2016, Washington, DC will welcome a total of 15 city-wide conventions, including two high-profile events, the American Academy of Dermatology in March and Society for Human Resource Management in June. Looking ahead, Washington, DC will host a wide range of city-wide conferences in 2017 including annual meetings of the American College of Cardiology in March, IPW in June and Society for Neuroscience in November. Major contracts for future business have been signed to multi-year bookings including Playlist Live 2015-2018 and American Chemical Society for 2025 and 2028.

“As the official convention and sports authority, Events DC oversees the growth and attraction of conventions, entertainment, sports and cultural events to our cosmopolitan city – such as the upcoming Foo Fighters 20th anniversary July 4 concert at the iconic RFK Stadium and the recently awarded 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park that will generate an estimated $60 million of economic impact for Washington, DC,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “These significant events are a perfect example of how our mission supports our city’s local tourism and hospitality industry, resulting in economic benefits for the District of Columbia.”

DC will also play host to familiar traditions and special events sure to draw domestic and international leisure visitors in the second half of 2015 including the DC Jazz Festival, spectacular July Fourth celebrations on the National Mall, top seeds at the Citi Open; the inaugural Landmark Music Festival and the reopening of the Renwick Gallery.

Destination DC, the lead destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of more than 850 businesses committed to marketing the District as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. Visit for more information.

The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 15 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.

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