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Board Communique: August 2020

Letter From Elliott

In the interest of public health and safety, Destination DC (DDC) will be holding a virtual Marketing Outlook Meeting this year. Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, Sept. 2 and be sure to register if you have not already. We look forward to connecting virtually and sharing plans and insight for the upcoming year, one that will obviously be incredibly vital for our industry. You will learn about our recovery and resiliency efforts following the pandemic, virtual and hybrid initiatives across convention and tourism sales and STR’s hotel forecast.

On July 31, I led U.S. Travel Association’s (USTA) virtual summer board meeting. The board discussed USTA’s legislative priorities (including PPP loans for destination marketing organizations), how the travel industry can confront racism and become more inclusive at every level, the impact of the November elections and a marketing and communications campaign to jumpstart travel to and in the U.S. when the time is right.

Please visit for the status of reopenings, closures and canceled events and the current safety protocols in the nation’s capital. Additionally, we’re sharing virtual and in-person things to do for the week and weekend.

Please see below for a financial update and key upcoming meetings. Read on for marketing highlights, monthly visitor statistics, department updates and travel news. Make sure to regularly visit our website,, for the latest happenings in the nation’s capital.

Elliott L. Ferguson, II
President & CEO
Destination DC

Upcoming Meetings

Financial Updates

  • Our July 2020 collection totaled $228,670, missing the monthly budget of $2,104,793 by $1,876,123 (or 10.9% of budget). 
  • This amount represents June hotel taxes collected then transferred to Events DC during July 2020.
  • Of the total collected, $71,019 (31% of the collection) is directly related to the amended hotel tax.
  • The year-to-date collections total is down 37.0% from FY2019 and down 36.3% from FY2018.
  • According to STR, occupancy was down 85.5% over June 2019. ADR was down 42.5% over June 2019, to $141.10 in June 2020 (up 7.7% from $131.06 in May 2020).
  • There were two citywides scheduled that were canceled in June 2019. There was one citywide in town in June 2020.
  • The House was in session 5 days and the Senate in session 19 days in June 2020, while the House was in session 16 days and the Senate in session 20 days in June 2019.

Marketing Highlights


  • DC COVID-19 Update
    Effective July 27, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced that visitors from high-risk states on non-essential travel are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Washington, DC. The current list of states can be found online.  In addition to the latest restriction, masks are also currently required in Washington, DC. Destination DC (DDC) is keeping updated with the latest travel status as well as what’s open, reopening, closed and canceled.

  • Virtual Marketing Outlook Meeting: Sept. 2
    Registration is open now for the free virtual Marketing Outlook Meeting. DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser will share remarks. DDC’s Elliott Ferguson will detail recovery and resiliency efforts following the pandemic and discuss virtual and hybrid strategies across convention and tourism sales. STR’s Jan Freitag will provide hotel data. MMGY Global’s Clayton Reid will discuss marketing in a time of uncertainty. The day will begin with digital networking and end with post-event trivia and prizes.

  • Recovery Advisory Committee
    DDC has convened leaders from hotels, restaurants, museums, attractions, theaters and other entities to inform a recovery strategy. The task force will discuss the current response, 6-18 month recovery plan and work toward a long term strategic plan and industry resilience.

  • Things to Do on
    Each week, DDC's content team is updating pieces dedicated to offering consumers DC-themed virtual activities as well as safe, in-person events and re-openings. The team is sharing both Monday-Thursday and weekend pieces across its social media channels and plans to feature a "Things to Do This September" piece in the coming weeks.

• • •

Media Coverage

Domestic Media

National Gallery of Art becomes first major museum along National Mall to reopen
WJLA, July 14

Capital Restart: the Future of D.C.'s Business Travel Industry
Jing Travel, July 21

​• • •

International Media

Our 7 Good Reasons to Visit the United States Capital Region (headline translated from French)
Horizons Monde, July 2020

Top museums and art galleries from around the world that you can visit online
Mirror Online (UK), July 7

Black travel executives in US call for open dialogue on race
Travel Weekly, July 16

In Washington, DC, women rule (headline translated from French)
Marie Claire, July 29

​• • •

Industry Clips

D.C. Hotels Below 20% Occupancy During Usually Busy Summer Tourism Season
Bisnow, July 6

Black Destination Leaders Answer '5 Questions About Race' in Powerful Video
Meetings Today, July 14

20 Meetings Trendsetters Who Stepped Up When Their Industry Needed Them Most (featuring Destination DC president & CEO Elliott Ferguson)
Meetings Today, Aug. 4


​• • •

American Experience Foundation

Destination DC Offers Online Hospitality Internships to High School Students
NBC 4, July 28

DC Students Remain Interested in Hospitality Despite Pandemic
WJLA, July 28


Monthly Visitor Statistics


Capital Connection

A key 'STEP' to bring back the travel industry
The Hill, August 10, 2020

U.S. Travel sees long-term threat to millions of travel jobs
Travel Weekly, August 10, 2020

Department Updates