DC domestic tourism on rise; international tourists drop sharply

The District had another record year for tourists, thanks to strong growth from domestic visitors, but a drop in international tourists was led by China.

Destination DC reports a record total of 23.8 million visitors in 2018, up 4% from 2017. It was the ninth-consecutive year for record visitation in the District.

The District had 1.9 million overseas visitors last year, down 5.3%, led by a 25% drop in tourists from China. China is D.C.’s top overseas market for visiting tourists.

“The data shows that Chinese visitation is down to the U.S. overall, especially when it comes to vacation and first-time visitors, which D.C. tends to see a bigger share of,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.

D.C.’s top 10 overseas markets, in order of visitation, are China, the UK, India, Germany, Brazil, Australia, France, South Korea, Italy and Spain. International visitors account for 8% of D.C. tourists, but account for 27% of spending.

D.C. had 21.9 million domestic visitors, up 5.2%.

Visitor spending in 2018 was a record $7.8 billion, up 4.2% from 2017. Tourism also supported almost 77,000 jobs in 2018, the most in 10 years.

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