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Destination DC Expands ‘Connected Capital’ Positioning and International Sales Initiatives at IMEX Frankfurt

Attendees get a first look at three new industry sector white papers to focus sales efforts, DC developments and takeaways from Destination DC’s recent business events council collective.

(Washington, DC) - Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, today launched three new industry sector white papers as part of its asset-based sales positioning during IMEX Frankfurt (May 21-23). The three white paper topics – sustainability, transportation and government advocacy – outline the reasons that meetings within each sector will succeed in DC. The papers are part of DDC’s “Connected Capital” sales positioning to pitch industry-specific meetings and expand the bureau’s current focus on technology, biotech/pharma, medical and education.

While at IMEX Frankfurt, DDC will also host an International Business Events Council (IBEC) breakfast, share the latest city developments and preview the “Connected Campus” initiative, which will show planners how to use the spaces near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to create a diversified meeting layout. 

Washington, DC – A Connected Capital

Since 2017, DDC has been focusing on highlighting the city as a leader in key industries such as technology, biotech/pharma, medical and education and is now expanding into the sustainability, transportation and government advocacy industries. To date, DDC’s convention sales and services team successfully recorded over 140,000 definite room nights and over 130 leads with technology seeing the strongest activity followed by medical.

“As we continue to focus on selling DC differently, the white papers serve as an important resource for meeting planners to understand how their meeting can succeed in DC, with assets unlike any other destination,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “Experiences, influencers and industry assets within each sector continue to bring in notable groups for future years, such as the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology’s 31st Annual Conference in August of 2020.”

DC has become a leader in sustainability, helping its businesses reduce their carbon footprints. Among many initiatives, the local government is committed to being the healthiest, greenest city in the U.S. with the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act, which sets a mandate of 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. In its second year as a participant of the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), DC continues collaborating to drive recognition of sustainable practices across the global events industry. This year, DDC’s Melissa Riley serves on the GDS-Index’s advisory board, helping position DC as a leader in environmental issues.

DC is also a great place to host meetings without the use and expense of a shuttle. Over 40 hotels within walking distance of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center adds to DC’s appeal. The nation’s capital has one of the best public transportation networks in the U.S., ranking #1 for public transport in 2018, according to SmartAsset and WalletHub.


To kick off IMEX Frankfurt, DDC is hosting an IBEC breakfast on Tuesday, May 21 with participants from the IBEC Collective, hosted in October 2018, to discuss important takeaways from the three-day strategy session and discuss priorities moving forward.

IBEC, which launched at the 2018 IMEX Frankfurt, positions DDC for success in attracting more international groups to meet in Washington, DC. DDC’s first IBEC Collective was designed to engage its advisors in think-tank style discussions to examine actual bids, brainstorm messaging and experience DC’s knowledge economy. Participants include influential industry association leaders, corporate and incentive agencies, heads of event departments and top trade publications that have the knowledge of international business events and can assist with market development as messengers for the city.

U.S. Travel Association Leadership

In February 2019, the U.S. Travel Association announced DDC’s Elliott Ferguson as its new national chair, a role he will use to guide the board and association’s efforts to:

  • Make clear travel’s vital benefits to our economy and our people;
  • Champion policies and pursue partnerships to expand domestic travel; and
  • Advance policy reforms that drive growth in international travel to the U.S.

His policy priorities include the expansion of the Visa Waiver program, welcoming international visitors and investing and enhancing travel infrastructure. Diversity and inclusion is an overall priority.

Domestic Visitation

In 2018, Washington, DC welcomed a record 21.9 million domestic visitors in 2018, the ninth consecutive year for tourism growth. Visitor spending reached a record $7.8 billion. Business travelers accounted for 39% of visitors and 57% of spending, while leisure travelers accounted for 61% of visitors and 43% of spending. Revenue from tourism adds up to crucial support to the local economy, as well as local jobs. In 2018, tourism spending supported 76,522 jobs in Washington, DC across all industries, which is up 2% over 2017.

What’s New

The meetings portion of offers ways to keep attendees engaged with after-hours programming at various museums and dining near the Convention Center, including our guide to express lunches, coffee shops and bakeries within walking distance and the latest DC restaurant map of the convention center district.  

In 2019, Washington, DC welcomes 20 citywide meetings (meetings with 2,500 room nights on peak and above), generating more than 370,000 total room nights. Major events include NAFSA: Association of International Educators (May 28-31), American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (Oct. 21-25) and American Society of Nephrology (Nov. 8-11).

There are 16 hotels in the pipeline, adding 3,263 rooms to the city, including Mob Hotel, citizenM and Thompson Hotel, all anticipated to open in 2020.

The International Spy Museum reopened in L’Enfant Plaza on May 12, 2019. The “David H. Koch Hall of Fossils - Deep Time” at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum reopens in June, followed by the Washington Monument reopening in August. The REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens Sept. 7, 2019 and opening of the National Children’s Museum at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center opens on Nov. 1, 2019.

The ease of travel continues to add to DC’s appeal for business travelers. A $1 billion investment called “Project Journey” will add new security checkpoints and a 14-gate concourse to replace busing operations at Reagan National Airport by 2021. Dulles International Airport provides daily nonstop service from over 50 international destinations with new nonstop air service launching from Tel Aviv on United Airlines (May 2019), Rome on Alitalia (May 2019) and Lisbon on TAP Air (June 2019).

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.  

Danielle Davis, Director of Communications

202-789-7046; [email protected]



May 20, 2019

Media Contacts

Danielle Davis
Director of Communications
Julie Marshall
Domestic Media Relations Manager
Vanessa Ryan
International Media Relations Manager
Susan O'Keefe
Media Relations Manager, Trade