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Washington, DC Launches Recovery Advertising Campaign

Campaign encourages travelers to visit the nation's capital and ‘Experience DC’


(Washington, DC) – Washington, DC tourism and hospitality partners today unveiled a new multi-channel advertising tourism recovery campaign to attract more domestic leisure visitors to the nation’s capital. DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser reiterated that DC welcomes visitors this summer and beyond.


“We want people to know: DC is open,” said Mayor Bowser. “It took many months of working together to get to where we are today, and now we are ready to welcome visitors back to the nation’s capital. Whether you come for the museums and monuments or our restaurants and nightlife, we are spreading the word that DC has something for everyone. People may know about Washington, but we want visitors to experience DC.”


“DC is open and we want travelers to come back and experience everything we have to offer,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Through the Experience DC campaign, we will let everyone know about our unique neighborhoods, tantalizing nightlife, world-class restaurants, and more. There’s also still time to enter to win prizes ranging from $500 to $25,000 through the DC SHOP, EAT, PLAY, STAY Giveaway, providing winners from the DMV a plethora of District restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues and hotels to enjoy.”


“From March 2020 through April 2021 we lost $6.6 billion in visitor spending. Now after going without advertising our destination for sixteen months, the recovery campaign will help us welcome visitors back to DC and support our industry’s rebound,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital. “We’re grateful to Events DC for funding this year’s campaign and to Mayor Bowser for including a $5 million marketing allocation in her FY2022 budget.”


“We’re proud to support our partners at Destination DC as we welcome visitors back to our city,” said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC, Washington, DC’s official convention and sports authority. “We’ve been tested, but our community is incredibly strong and resilient. The recovery campaign will leverage pent-up demand for travel and showcase DC as a world-class city that is ready to host visitors near and far.”


Advertising Campaign

NOTE: View campaign commercials and digital and out of home assets.  


“Research shows that nearly 70 percent of typical travelers are open to travel inspiration and 74% are excited to travel for leisure right now, both at pandemic-level highs, so the time is right to share with consumers what makes DC special this summer and beyond,” said Robin McClain, senior vice president of marketing and communications, DDC.


The “Experience DC” themed recovery campaign plays on the idea that DC is more than what consumers might initially associate with the nation’s capital and is rooted in local elements:  

  • January Third, a DC-based independent creative agency founded by a woman born and raised in the District, was unanimously selected from a pool of dozens of agencies across the country to provide creative services.  

  • Local photographer Jared Soares shot the campaign images.

  • Assets use a font made by local artist Tré Seals, inspired by protest posters from the Civil Rights era.

  • The red tone represents the DC flag.

  • Commercial:

    • Music is by local band The Funk Ark and the legendary Go-Go band Experience Unlimited is featured.

    • The skaters featured are the Lace Em Up skaters led by Kenneth “Rollo” Davis and the X-Rated Skate Group.

    • Skaters are a local team led by Kenneth “Rollo” Davis and the X-Rated Skate Group

    • Voiceover artist is local poet Charity Blackwell.

    • Dancer is local ballerina Nya Cunningham.

    • All eight wards of the city are captured for the campaign at locations including the REACH at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Ward 2), Hi Lawn at Union Market (Ward 6), No Kisses Bar (Ward 1), Anacostia Roller Rink (Ward 8), among others.

Campaign Rollout

  • Placements by DDC’s media buying agency of record, MMGY Global, include digital, print, advanced television (streaming and targeted video networks), streaming audio, programmatic (targeted ad networks) and out-of-home, complemented by paid social media, search and more.

  • Target markets will include the region (DC and surrounding suburbs); drive market (those within a 4-hour drive including New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond); and national (markets chosen based on data showing travel potential and intent)

  • A portion of the buy is specifically aimed at marginalized audiences including Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ travelers. Both the creative and commercial will be translated to Spanish.

  • The campaign is funded by Events DC. The media buy is $2.5 million, which is separate from January Third’s contract of $400,000.

  • In early 2021, DDC relaunched Digital ads all connect to the site, where potential visitors find trip inspiration based on their interests and things to do this summer. The campaign is also supported by social media, email marketing and earned editorial efforts.

In May, Mayor Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, in partnership with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, launched the DC SHOP, EAT, PLAY, STAY giveaway to encourage residents and visitors from Maryland and Virginia to take advantage of all the District has to offer and support businesses and workers as we move closer to a better normal. Through the giveaway, 51 winners from the region will have the opportunity to earn prizes and gift cards ranging from $500 to $25,000 to shop, eat, play, and stay at a selection of District restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues, and hotels. There is still time to enter to win at


Summer in Washington, DC

  • Celebrate the Fourth of July with neighborhood parades and fantastic fireworks on the National Mall.

  • By Aug. 27, all 17 Smithsonian museums in the DC area plus the National Zoo will be reopened. Visitors are required to reserve free timed entry passes for all locations: National Museum of Natural History (June 18), National Museum of African Art, National Museum of Asian Art Freer Gallery (July 16), National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution Building (July 30) Anacostia Community Museum (Aug. 6), Hirshhorn Museum (Aug. 20), National Postal Museum (Aug. 27).

  • Ring in the 46th year of Pride in DC with month-long events including Paint the Town Colorful with Pride and the Capital Pride Cocktail Parade.

  • The Citi Open pro tennis tournament is July 31 – Aug. 8 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center

  • RAMW’s Restaurant Week is Aug. 9-15

New in DC

  • DC welcomes two of six new hotels in 2021 this summer: Kimpton Banneker near Dupont Circle and Holiday Inn Express Washington DC Downtown. The city has 19 new hotels and 4,300 additional rooms in the pipeline as of June 2021. Find hotel deals on

  • The city has seen an increase in community-based food halls. Located in Capitol Hill, The Roost, began opening last fall featuring a craft beer hall and garden, a cocktail and wine bar and a sushi counter. Western Market opens this summer in Foggy Bottom as a modern marketplace with more than a dozen of the city’s favorite food and beverage vendors.

  • Reagan National Airport unveiled a $1 billon renovation with a new 14-gate concourse in late spring, with additional security checkpoints becoming operational this summer.

Looking Ahead

As of June 11, DC is open at 100% capacity. Mask guidelines follow the CDC and are mandatory on indoor public transit. Guests should review COVID-19 protocols with entities prior to attendance.


About Destination DC: 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.

June 23, 2021

Media Contacts

Danielle Davis
Vice President of Communications
Susan O'Keefe
Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, Trade
Nicole Nussbaum
Global Media Manager
Goldy Fogel
Global Media Manager
Kyle Deckelbaum
Domestic Media Relations Manager
Claire Deegan
Communications Coordinator
(202) 789-7059