Nation’s capital invests in tourism as domestic visitation grows 10% and visitors generate record 84,111 jobs for the District
Washington, DC – Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, today announced that domestic visitation in 2022 has rebounded to 91% of pre-pandemic levels. Visitors spent $8.1 billion and supported a record 84,111 jobs in 2022. Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, led a rally for hundreds of hospitality industry professionals to celebrate the importance of tourism to the local economy. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association and Gerren Price, president and CEO of the DowntownDC BID, spoke at the event held in Franklin Park.
“As an economic development organization, we are optimistic about the increase in domestic visitation, near pre-pandemic levels of visitor spending and record jobs and tax revenue for Washington, DC last year,” said Ferguson. “But it’s important to be aggressive to grow domestic market share and impact international and business travel. Additional funding through Tourism Recovery District legislation allows us to compete with other top-tier destinations with larger budgets. We appreciate our city’s leaders who recognize the importance of investing in tourism and marketing our destination.”
We know that people are the key to our comeback, so we love that visitors are coming back to DC,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “More visitors means more people supporting our local businesses, more jobs for our residents and more activity in our city. Those 20.7 million visitors spent more than $8 billion and supported more than 84,000 jobs – that is a win for DC.”
DDC is currently in market with a $5 million spring and summer domestic advertising campaign spanning digital, print, out-of-home and paid search and social. The buys include advanced television streaming and audio and custom digital content targeting DC’s top domestic markets, including New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago. One component is a takeover of all signage in the Philadelphia 30th Street Train Station from May 1-28 [Note: download images] It features more than 140 placements produced by DDC’s in-house creative team, including six videos highlighting unique DC experiences. Campaign content connects to washington.org, where potential visitors learn more about summer holidays, hotel deals, dining and things to do each month. Editorial coverage complements paid and owned channels.
DDC’s Travel Rally takes place during the 40th anniversary of U.S. Travel Association’s National Travel and Tourism Week, meant to spotlight travel’s essential role in the U.S. economy. In 2022, the travel industry employed 8 million people and resulted in $1.2 trillion in direct travel spending.
“The strength of travel to Washington, DC is indicative of strong demand for travel nationwide,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Domestic leisure travel is thriving, and business and international inbound travel are both on the rise—a welcomed turning point for this essential sector of the economy.”
As part of strategic recovery, DDC’s investment in international tourism will grow in top visitor markets, including the UK, India, Australia and China, as well as those showing growth potential including Canada, Mexico and Brazil. While Washington, DC’s 2022 international visitor data is not final, the forecast shows between 1.1 to 1.3 million overseas visitors, which is approximately 71% of pre-pandemic levels. International visitors are typically 7% of visitation but comprise 27% of spending.
In 2023, Washington, DC hosts 16 citywide conventions (defined as bringing 2,500 room nights and above on peak). They generate an estimated 322,000 total room nights and a $245 million economic impact. Additional funding supports the convention sales and services team in its efforts to position Washington, DC as a “Connected” destination surrounding its thriving industries and access, as well as grow short-term and corporate business that has an immediate impact on hotels.
Potential visitors find dozens of hotel deals at washington.org/summer. Upcoming events include Passport DC, Capital Pride, Major League Soccer All-Star Week (surrounding the game on July 19), the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington (Aug. 28), DC JazzFest (Aug. 30-Sept. 3) and the new-to-DC World Culture Festival (Sept. 29-Oct. 1). New hotels include the Royal Sonesta Capitol Hill (opening summer) and Washington Marriott Capitol Hill (opened January 2023). Exhibitions include “Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures" at the National Museum of African American History and "Phillip Guston Now" at the National Gallery of Art, recently ranked the most visited art museum in the United States. Many events enliven DC’s downtown, including programming in Franklin Park, produced by the DowntownDC BID.
“The BID is honored to be the steward of historic Franklin Park, downtown's largest green space,” said Price. “Not only do we keep it clean and beautiful, but we take the lead in activating it with events of all kinds. This includes things like wellness sessions, lunchtime concerts, evening movies, programming for families and children in late July, and our popular Rock the Park music festival in October. Franklin Park is a center of gravity for downtown, which is why we work hard to ensure there's an ongoing pulse of activity here at the heart of the city.”
Washington, DC 2022 Visitation Data by the Numbers (sources: MMGY Travel Intelligence, S&P Global Market Intelligence, National Travel & Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce)
Domestic visitation: 20.7 million – up 10% over 2021 (down 9% from 2019)
Visitor spending: $8.1 billion – up 50.8% over 2021 (99% of 2019 levels)
Taxes generated by visitor spending: a record $1.6 billion – up 58.7% over 2021 (up 1.6% over 2019)
Visitors supported a record 84,111 jobs – up 45% year-over-year; surpassing 2019 levels by 7.5%
71,197 are directly related to the industry and the rest are indirect/induced jobs that result from increased visitation.
Overseas forecast is for 1.1 to 1.3 million overseas visitors in 2022 (approx. 71% of 2019)
About Destination DC:
Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization 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. washington.org
Danielle Davis, vice president, communications
202-603-2093 (c); [email protected]
May 11, 2023
Director of Communications
Media Relations Manager, Trade
International Media Relations Manager