WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The District's hospitality leadership today confirmed 2013 as another record-breaking year for domestic visitation during the city's annual Travel Rally held at the Park at CityCenter at the new CityCenterDC development. Destination DC's annual rally is held in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association's National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-11, 2014.
In 2013, domestic visitation topped 17.4 million domestic visitors, according to a report prepared by D.K. Shifflet, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2012. Visitors to DC spent $6.7 billion, according to IHS Global Insight, an increase of almost 8 percent over 2012.
"Every visitor to the District of Columbia plays a vital role in sustaining our local economy since they stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants, visit our attractions and shop in our stores," said DC Mayor Vincent Gray. "An estimated $6.7 billion of visitor spending last year supported nearly 76,000 jobs. It's important that we continue to invest in tourism and keep the District at the forefront of the consumer's mind."
"We're pleased to be celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week with another record-breaking year of welcoming visitors from around the country to Washington, DC" said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. "Some 17.4 million domestic visitors came to the nation's capital last year and enjoyed our sites and attractions, fabulous dining, arts and culture, shopping and nightlife, and with $8.5 billion in development, the city's offerings are growing every day."
2013 marks the third consecutive year that visitor spending surpassed $6 billion. The retail sector grew by almost 9%. Spending on food and beverage was up almost 10% while entertainment spending was up nearly 10% as well.
"The travel and tourism industry is a major revenue engine for the District," said Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC). "It inspires me to fight for the maintenance of our city's federal tourism sites, to keep them free of charge and to co-sponsor bills like the JOLT Act that leverage the benefits of inbound international travel to the United States that increase economic growth and create more jobs in our city."
"DC is obviously a prime tourist destination as a function of being the nation's capital, but it shouldn't be overlooked that DC also has civic leadership that knows how to attract visitors and maximize the economic benefits of tourism," said 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."
This year will see a total of 17 city-wide conventions, but in the second half of 2014 DC will play host to two high-profile events, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July and Jehovah's Witness International Convention in August. Looking ahead, Washington, DC will host a wide range of city-wide conferences in 2015 including annual meetings of the American Academy of Neurology, American Dental Association and American Gastroenterological Association-Digestive Disease Week. Major contracts for future business have been signed to multi-year bookings including OTAKON 2020-2023 and American Psychological Association 2023, 2026 and 2029.
"Travel plays a vital role in supporting the District of Columbia's local tourism and hospitality, which results in a stronger economy for our city," said Greg O'Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. "As the official convention and sports authority for the District, Events DC is proud to help contribute to Washington DC's growth through the major citywide meetings and conventions, sports and cultural events that are held in our venues and across the city – as well as the impact of the new Marriott Marquis Washington, DC."
About Destination DC: 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 Washington.org for more information.
SOURCE Destination DC