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For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2012

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

Hospitality Supported 76,000 Jobs in the District, Visitor Spending Estimated to be $6 Billion in 2011

(Washington, DC) … The impact of Washington, DC’s travel and tourism industry was heralded today by many of the hospitality employees who helped make 2011 an exceptionally strong year during DC’s fourth annual travel rally. In 2011, the hospitality industry, the second largest employer in the District after the Federal Government, was responsible for 76,000 total jobs in the District. This represents a growth rate of 7 percent over 2010, including 64,500 jobs directly tied to tourism.

Additionally, visitor spending grew in 2011 to an estimated $6 billion according to Destination DC and a report prepared by IHS Global Insight. Destination DC is the official convention and tourism corporation for Washington, DC. The visitor numbers demonstrate the year-over-year resiliency of hospitality in the District. Total visitor spending for 2011 was up 6.2 percent from last year’s $5.68 billion. The District is more dependent upon visitor spending than other locations across the country because more than half of the sales tax generated by the city is attributed to visitor spending.

“For the sixth consecutive year, Washington, DC’s business and leisure travel industry captured more than $5.5 billion,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “The tax dollars that meetings and tourism bring to our city are critical to the economic health of our city, and the quality of life of Washingtonians, especially for the 76,000 people employed by the hospitality industry.”

The Vote Travel Rally was created to support National Travel and Tourism Week, being held May 5-13. U.S. Travel Association’s Vote Travel bus has been crossing the nation during this election year to spotlight travel and to encourage local, state and federal leaders to highlight the industry’s economic significance on the economy.

“Travel is a force that can drive our nation’s economic recovery. It is one of the healthiest sectors of our economy in terms of job creation and hiring, employing one out of every nine Americans,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the U.S. travel industry. “During this election season, we are galvanizing support to ‘Vote Travel’ to showcase the power of our industry and its impact on our economy.”

As far as major city-wide conventions and meetings in the District are concerned, Washington, DC will host 14 city-wide conferences in 2013 including annual meetings of the Pediatric Academic Societies, National Association of Realtors, and National Cable and Telecommunication Association. Major contracts for future business including, the Society for Human Resource Management in 2016 and World Gas Congress in 2018, have been signed. The American Society for Microbiology has signed to bring their convention of 9,000 attendees to Washington, DC in 2014, 2018, 2023 and 2027. In May 2011, the Association of the United States Army signed the first contract to bring business to the Washington Marriott Marquis in 2014.

“We’ve seen positive signs that business is getting back on track, as major citywide meetings and conventions are posting solid gains in attendance,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. “From a conventions and tradeshow standpoint, we see our position continuing to strengthen as our convention center hotel, the Washington Marriott Marquis, prepares to open its doors in spring of 2014.”

Washington, DC’s comparative economic health has influenced a number of superlatives the city has received over the last year including:

  • Parenting magazine called DC the best city for families to live in, spotlighting the built-in cultural and education experiences even visiting families can access throughout the city.
  • Travel + Leisure magazine ranked DC as the top destination for museums and galleries in the U.S.
  • Reuters highlighted another survey ranking DC as the top museum destination in the world.
  • Forbes ranked DC as the best city for women to live in.


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.


Media Contacts

For local, business and meetings/conventions media:
Robin McClain, Director of Communications
(202) 789-7099
[email protected]

For local and domestic consumer media:
Kate Gibbs, Media Relations Manager
(202) 789-7072
[email protected]

For international and travel trade media inquiries:
Alicia Malone, International Media Relations Manager
(202) 789-7053
[email protected]