Approximately 21.9 million domestic visitors traveled to Washington, D.C. last year, according to figures released by Destination D.C. (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the District.
Growing in tourism for the ninth consecutive year, D.C. attracted 1.1 million more domestic visitors compared to the previous year.
“Visitor spending” in 2018 also set a record with a total of $7.8 billion, leading to $851 million in local taxes for the District, according to IHS Markit. Out of the total number of visitors, 61 percent were leisure travelers making 43 percent of all spending, while 39 percent were business travelers, which constitute 57 percent of the spending. Leisure spending is reportedly up 13 percent from 2017.
Calling this year’s boost “a big deal for the city,” at DDC’s annual Travel Rally on Tuesday, Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of DDC, said “As we market the city through our ‘Discover the Real D.C. campaign,’ we continue to show potential visitors that there’s so much more to see and do in Washington, D.C. beyond the federal government and build on our momentum that’s sustaining visitation to the city.”
It was stated in the press release that around 300,000 households in D.C. would have to pay an extra tax of $2,844 to keep the same level of income for the city, if the contribution of tourism was out of the picture.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, also present at the event, noted that the continued growth of the city’s tourism sector is a reflection of “the overall strength and success of Washington, D.C.”
“From sporting events to restaurants to music venues and museums, we have more to do and see in our city than ever before. We’re proud to welcome people from around the world – to show them the city that is home to more than 700,000 Washingtonians, to create jobs and opportunity for our local businesses, and to share the history and culture that has made D.C. the best city in the world,” she added.
DDC is planning to announce the figures relating to visitors from overseas in August.
The organization’s Travel Rally that took place on Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, was part of the National Travel and Tourism Week.