DC hotel readies for tourism boom with free hospitality program

The Line is located inside a renovated church in Adams Morgan that once belonged to the First Church of Christ, Scientist, before sitting empty for 25 years. (Courtesy The Line DC/James C. Jackson) (James C. Jackson)
WASHINGTON — Tourism is one of D.C.’s healthiest and fastest-growing industries.

In 2017, a record-breaking 20.8 million domestic visitors flocked to the nation’s capital where they spent more than $7.5 billion on accommodations, food and transportation. Currently, the industry employees upward of 75,000 people — a number that is only expected to increase as 18 planned hotels come online in the next few years.

To ready the region for tourism’s continued climb, one local hotel is taking matters into its own hands. The Line DC, a relatively new travel and dining destination in Adams Morgan, is hosting a free, eight-week hospitality course this summer, called The Line Sessions, designed to tackle topics from food and beverage, to sales and marketing.

“Our goal is that by the time participants finish this eight-week course, they have a really great overview and understanding of the hospitality industry,” said Blake Danner, chief operating officer of the hotel’s parent company Sydell Group.

The program, which will be held inside The Line’s adjoining 4,000-square-foot community center, is geared toward the hotel’s neighbors in Ward 1, but Danner said he won’t turn away applications from others as long as there is room.

“The reality is that there’s $7 billion worth of tourism business in D.C. and we are a workforce that continues to grow,” Danner said.

“And workforce development in the creative economy has been a really big focus of the D.C. government, and frankly, we think this program sits really nicely in that focus.”

The Line Sessions, which Sydell previously hosted at one of its properties in Los Angeles, will take place Saturdays, June 30 through Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Applications are due by June 8.

Danner said while the program doesn’t result in a degree, it does give participants a better grasp of the industry and makes them more marketable in the field.

“We think it’s a great investment in the community, and I hope that the people that attend and complete the course are able to merchandise themselves and continue their career paths,” Danner added.

The application for The Line Sessions is available online.

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