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Industry Updates

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC - Top Meeting and Convention Venue in Washington, DC

Destination DC (DDC) announced record domestic visitation, launched three new industry sector white papers and welcomed new international flights. The organization also continues to focus on international meetings and has kicked off its biggest advertising campaign of the year.

Domestic Visitation in 2018

DDC announced a record 21.9 million domestic visitors in 2018, the ninth consecutive year for tourism growth with an increase of 1.1 million more travelers over 2017. 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. DDC’s Elliott Ferguson announced tourism’s impact on DC with city leaders and stakeholders at the organization’s annual Travel Rally held on Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Tuesday, May 7. 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.

International Initiatives at IMEX Frankfurt

DDC 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. In addition to client appointments and media interview, DDC hosted targeted group presentations for customers from Asia, the Middle East, South America, India, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

New International Flights

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 that recently launched from Tel Aviv on United Airlines and Rome on Alitalia Airlines. Service from Cairo on EgyptAir launches June 3 and from Lisbon on TAP Air starting June 16.

Summer Advertising 

DDC’s summer campaign with its agency of record, MMGY Global, is currently running. The summer campaign consists of digital-forward ads such as custom email blasts, social influencer programs and out-of-home billboard advertisements in DDC’s target markets of Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Baltimore, Richmond, Boston and Atlanta. The summer campaign focuses on promoting and supporting seasonal content such as DC’s waterfronts, rooftop restaurants, summer festivals, free things to do, summer holiday specials and hotel deals and discounts.

Discover New Resources on washington.org/meetings

Bleisure travel, the art of mixing a little leisure time into a business trip, is a trend that more business professionals and meeting planners are adopting. Keep your attendees engaged with after-hours programming at various museums. Check out countless dining options within proximity of the Walter E. Washington 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.  

Kicking-Off Summer 2019 Family-Friendly Sporting Events

The summer months bring many family-friendly sporting events such as the Washington Mystics home opener, which is the first home game in the new Entertainment and Sports Arena (June 1); Washington Kastles tennis season at the new Kastles Stadium located on top of Union Market (July 15-27); Citi Open (July 27-Aug. 4); 2019 Pokémon World Championships (Aug. 16-18) and the regular seasons for the Washington Nationals (April – September) and DC United (March – October).

American Experience Foundation (AEF) Awards First David Iselin Scholarship for Community Service

On June 3, AEF awarded nine scholarships to deserving students in acknowledgement of their achievements in and out of the classroom. The students attend DC’s four Academies of Hospitality and Tourism - Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, Ballou Senior High School and Bell Multicultural High School at Columbia Heights Educational Campus. For the first year, AEF presented the David Iselin Scholarship for Community Service, which celebrates the life of a late DDC colleague, David Iselin. In addition to his meetings industry talents, David was committed to serving his community and the foundation. His family has funded the scholarship and will match contributions up to $5,000 made to the AEF scholarship fund at americanexperiencefoundation.org/donate this spring.

DDC Welcomes New Team Members

DDC recently welcomed three new team members. Brittany Smoot is DDC’s new manager, international marketing. Brittany previously managed international campaigns for RoomIt and has also worked with Brand USA. Hope Smith is DDC’s new membership associate. She is a recent graduate of Colorado State University and has volunteered at Visit Fort Collins and served as a sales and marketing intern at VisitLEX. Keidra Terry is DDC’s new convention sales assistant. Keidra graduated from Johnson & Wales University and recently worked at EDJ Associates, focusing on membership, project management and day-to-day operations.