WASHINGTON – DC leaders hope to increase tourism in the District. Destination DC (DDC), the city’s official destination marketing organization, announced strategies on Wednesday to attract more tourism to the city.
As part of this campaign to attract more tourists to the city, DDC officials highlighted different events, venues and accommodations that the city has to offer.
The push to increase tourism comes amid a recent uptick in violence in the city, including a Wednesday morning shooting outside a DC school that left two minors injured. Despite the violence, DC officials say there are plenty of reasons to visit.
“The key for us is to focus on what people know, but also what’s new in Washington, including the $9.3 billion in investment,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, President and CEO of Destination DC.
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DC leaders say about 19.1 million people traveled to Washington, DC in 2021, spending more than $5 billion for the local economy. While these numbers are up from 2020, they have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels of 2019 when visitors generated $8.2 billion for the local economy in DC
To raise awareness among potential tourists, officials first highlighted the improvements DC has made to its accommodations available to visitors, saying there are 26 new or recently renovated hotels open in the city adding more than 5,000 new hotel rooms to travelers coming to the District.
Officials believe the additional hotel space will help keep more people in town for upcoming big events, like DC JazzFest over Labor Day weekend, the return of Theater Week in September and the Game. Major League Soccer All-Star Championship, which will take place in July 2023.
They also highlighted other big events or venues that could draw tourists to DC, including the recently reopened East Building at the National Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center’s interactive permanent exhibit dedicated to President John F. Kennedy set to debut in September, phase two of the Wharf opening in October, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum reopening with eight new galleries in October, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden beginning renovations to its Sculpture Garden in November, and the National Women’s Museum reopening in the Arts in 2023.
Officials say the city will also welcome 9 citywide conventions in 2022, generating an estimated economic impact of more than $265,000,000.
“DC’s tourism economy is moving forward, so now our role as a short-term economic development organization is to be aggressive with high-impact advertising, attract more conventions and meetings, and win back foreign travelers due to its greater potential for spending,” Ferguson said. . “There is heavy investment in DC with exciting reasons to visit from new hotels, restaurants and nightlife to exclusive events, free activities, arts and culture, shopping, sports and much more.”
To help potential tourists learn about what’s going on in DC, officials are launching the Experience DC advertising campaign that targets groups of visitors the city thinks would enjoy DC, including eclectic cultural travelers, sports, foodies, historians and families.
“We spread the word that DC is open, and people listened to us,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We’re excited to have visitors from all over the country and around the world back in DC: visiting our city’s many attractions, dining at our restaurants, shopping at local businesses, staying at our hotels, and then telling people on their homes about all the great things to do in Washington, DC We’re going to continue to spread the message that DC is open and continue to give people new ways to enjoy our city.”