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Thursday, 07 February, 2019, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Destination DC partners globally to focus on driving overseas visitation

Destination DC (DDC) announced efforts to continue driving overseas visitation to Washington, DC, in partnership with new representation in key markets: China, Australia and India, as well as a continued relationship with its agency of record in the United Kingdom.

In 2017, the nation’s capital welcomed a record 22.8 million total visitors, up 3.6% over 2016. Of those visitors, DC saw 20.8 million domestic (up 4.2%) and 2 million overseas (up 1.3%). Due to revised data from the U.S. Department of Commerce released in late 2018 dating back several years, there have been shifts in some of DC’s top overseas markets.

“While we were thrilled to see overseas visitation grow by 26,000 people in 2017, we are faced with certain realities about global economies as well as the political climate and how the U.S. is perceived from an international perspective,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, President & CEO, Destination DC. “That’s why we are doing everything we can to provide a welcoming message and know that dedicated representation will allow us to maintain market share and reach more leisure and business groups in established and emerging markets.”  

China continues to be DC’s strongest market with 3,02,000 visitors in 2017, down 3.1%  over 2016. Washington, DC held its market share of about 10% of China’s visitors to the U.S., meaning one out of every 10 Chinese visitors to the U.S. came to DC. DDC continues its efforts to market to Chinese tourists on WeChat with about 18,000 followers and its City Experience Mini Program, as well as its Welcome China member certification program, now up to 73 certified members.

The top 10 overseas markets for Washington, DC in 2017 are, in order of visitation: China, United Kingdom, South Korea, India, Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, Italy and Japan. Though overseas visitors represent 9% of the total number of visitors to DC, international visitors [overseas visitors plus visitors from Canada and Mexico] represent 27% of the visitor spending.

“Despite some of the challenges, like Brexit, which is causing a lot of uncertainty in the UK, there are also opportunities,” said Theresa Belpulsi, Vice President of tourism, Destination DC. “Last year, we started the stopover program for the UK market, which provides two free nights for tourists in DC, a major value-added benefit meant to extend length of stay. The pilot program has been so successful that we have received additional funds from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to expand the program in the Netherlands, Switzerland and China.”

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