DC sets another tourism record: almost 22M in 2018

The District welcomed 21.9 million domestic visitors in 2018, according to Destination DC.

It’s the ninth consecutive year for setting a visitor record, and that number does not include international tourists. Those numbers are released later this spring.

Last year’s domestic visitor count tops the 2017 record by 1.1 million. Those visitors also spent a record $7.8 billion, Destination DC said, citing data estimates from IHS Markit, up 4.3 % from 2017. That tourist spending resulted in $851 million in local taxes.

Leisure travelers accounted for 61% of visitors last year and 43% of total spending. Spending by leisure travelers — those just on vacation, not visiting for business — was up 13%.

The balance, 57% of spending, was attributed to business travelers.

Tourism accounts for about 76,500 jobs in the District now, for annual job growth of 2%.

“An additional 1.1 million domestic visitors to DC year-over-year is a big deal for the city,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, Destination DC president and CEO.

“As we market the city through our ‘Discover the Real DC’ 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,” Ferguson said.

There are currently 16 new hotels under construction in the District, which will add another 3,3000 available rooms.

This year, D.C. will host a total of 20 citywide meetings, or those with at least 2,500 room nights, filling more than 370,000 hotel rooms.

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