WASHINGTON, DC — Destination DC (DDC) has reported a record 21.3 million total visitors to Washington, D.C. in 2015, up 5 per cent over 2014, it was announced Aug. 25.
With 21 citywide conventions and events, 2017 is poised to be a strong year. Citywide conventions are meetings that bring 2,500 room nights or more on peak to Washington, DC. The total economic impact for these meetings is $357 million, with 484,649 total room nights. Highlights include the American College of Cardiology, with 45,565 total room nights (March 17-19); Microsoft, with 62,385 total room nights (July 10-13); and Society for Neuroscience, with 54,100 total room nights (Nov. 12-15).
Washington, DC’s 2015 record visitation year includes just over 2 million overseas visitors and 19.3 million domestic visitors. Visitor spending reached $7.1 billion, up 4.1 per cent. According to IHS Global, Inc., business travelers comprise 62 per cent of all spending. Tourism is an economic engine for the city, generating $757 million dollars in tax revenue.
Overseas visitation was up 7.8 per cent over 2014. Washington, DC’s top overseas market is China, with 300,000 visitors in 2015, a 36 per cent increase over the previous year. In 2015, Washington, DC saw 11.6 per cent of all Chinese visitors to the U.S., up from 10.1 per cent in 2014. Destination DC will launch a Welcome China program in September to further help its 850 members attract Chinese travelers. The top overseas visitor markets to DC, in order of visitation, were China, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, India, South Korea, Brazil, Italy and Japan. Though 9 per cent of the total number of visitors to DC, international visitors [overseas visitors plus visitors from Canada and Mexico] represent 27 per cent of visitor spending.
Washington, DC’s landscape is booming, with $9.6 billion in development underway, including the Wharf, a 24-acre, $2 billion project along the Southwest Waterfront, and nearly 4,500 hotel rooms in the pipeline. The city’s dining scene is gaining international attention, and in October, DC will become the fourth North American destination to receive a Michelin Guide to its restaurants.