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For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2013

DC’s Travel Industry Rallies to Show Economic Impact of Tourism

Visitor Spending Estimated to be $6.2 Billion in 2012

(Washington, DC) … The impact of Washington, DC’s travel and tourism industry was heralded today by hospitality leaders who helped make 2012 an exceptionally strong year during DC’s annual travel rally.  In 2012, a new record of visitors to the District created an economic impact of $4.8 billion, according to IHS Global Insight, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2011. The annual Travel Rally is held in conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, May 4-12. 

“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 $6.2 billion of visitor spending last year supported more than 75,300 jobs, with wages increasing 3.4 percent. It’s important that we continue to invest in tourism and keep DC at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.”
 
Additionally, domestic visitation grew in 2012 to an estimated 16.8 million visitors according to a report prepared by D.K. Shifflet, an increase of 4.2 percent over 2011. 

“National Travel and Tourism Week is the perfect time to come together and acknowledge the local tourism and hospitality industry, DC’s second largest industry behind the Federal government,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “In 2012, it’s estimated that our total visitor numbers grew by one million people to just over 18.9 million domestic and international visitors. We are encouraged by this growth, which also translates into a stronger local economy and job market.”

2012 marks the seventh consecutive year that visitor spending has surpassed $5.5 billion. The increase demonstrates the year-over-year resiliency of hospitality in the District and the city’s dependence upon visitor-generated hospitality taxes. More than half of the sales tax generated by Washington, DC is attributed to visitor spending. The retail sector had the highest growth, at just under 8%, helped in part by strong retail growth from international visitors. Total transportation spending was up over 6%, despite low growth in air travel spending as arrivals were flat and airfares were up only slightly. Spending on food and beverage was up just under 5% while entertainment spending was up nearly 3%. Visitor spending supported 75,300 jobs in 2012, a decrease of 1.3% from 2011. That includes 63,504 jobs directly tied to business servicing the visitors.

“The travel and tourism industry generates major revenue for our city,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC).  “I therefore give major priority to maintaining our federal tourism sites, keeping them free of charge, and co-sponsoring bills like the JOLT Act, to leverage the benefits of inbound international travel to the United States to increase economic growth and create more jobs.”

U.S. Travel Association is the national organization that works on behalf of the hospitality industry.

“Travel is the engine that’s powering America’s recovery. It supports one in every eight U.S. jobs and adds $129 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “While travel benefits our nation in countless ways every day, the annual National Travel and Tourism Week unites all of us in recognition of its positive impact on individuals, businesses and communities nationwide.”

Washington, DC will host 16 city-wide conferences in 2014 including annual meetings of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Society for Neuroscience, and American College of Cardiology. 
Major contracts for future business that were multi-year bookings include American Diabetes Association 2021 and 2027 and American Urological Association 2020 and 2026 have been signed. 

"Travel is a force that helps drive Washington, DC as a leading destination - while also generating economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of the District," explained Gregory A. O'Dell, Events DC president and CEO.  "As the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, Events DC hosted, produced and funded events that generated more than $400 million last fiscal year in direct spending for the District's economy - and with the Washington Marriott Marquis, the Convention Center's hotel, opening its doors in spring of 2014, we look forward to increasing our contributions to the city's economic core."

 

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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.