Tourism in the District of Columbia has been dealt a serious blow because of the economic impact of pandemic, as the city is expecting around 11 million visitors from around the country in 2020.
The nation’s capital welcomed 22.8 million domestic tourists in 2019, which indicates a 53 percent decrease for this year. The total number of visitors was 24.6 million, including 1.8 million people who traveled from other countries.
The data comparing the current situation of tourism to pre-pandemic levels was released on Wednesday by Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the District.
The estimated fall follows a 10-year growth of the industry, which supported around 78,266 jobs across all sectors in DC in 2019, up 2.3 percent from the previous year. It also brought $8.2 billion in visitor spending and $896 million in local tax revenue to the District.
“We set the bar high with 10 consecutive years of growth before the pandemic changed things for us, and as we can expect, this year won’t look good,” said Elliott Ferguson, Destination DC’s President and CEO, speaking at the organization’s annual Marketing Outlook Meeting.
“The key for us will be securing funds to market our destination when the time is right, adapting our sales efforts virtually and focusing on the safety measures the city and industry have adopted to keep visitor safety in mind,” he continued.
According to Ferguson, if a vaccine becomes available next year, and if the recession does not immensely deteriorate, then we can estimate a visitation of 20 million by 2022.
Also speaking on the issue, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said:
“We know that Washingtonians are resilient, and so is our culture and our community. Together, we will bring our tourism and hospitality industries back and better than before. As we continue through our pandemic response and recovery, we remain focused on supporting the local businesses that represent the livelihoods and dreams of Washingtonians. And with Destination DC’s help, and when the time is right, we are ready to remind everyone that DC is still a city with something for everyone – whether you’re here to live, work or play.”