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Destination DC records 21.9 million visitors; launches new advertising campaign

India emerges as number three international market for 2022

Against the backdrop of a fresh advertising campaign, Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, announced visitation is trending towards a return to pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, the city welcomed 21.9 million visitors, including 1.2 million international visitors. That means domestic visitation has rebounded to 91 percent of pre-pandemic figures, while international visitation has rebounded to 60 percent.

Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of DDC, revealed the tourism industry’s continued recovery during the organization’s annual Marketing Outlook Meeting, held at the Warner Theatre. City leaders, stakeholders and hundreds of representatives from local tourism and hospitality businesses were present.

“We knew domestic travellers would return quicker than those from international markets, and when domestic travellers are considering where to spend their money, the data tells us DC is a top choice,” said Ferguson. “The data also tells us we must continue enticing international travellers to return. With support from the tourism recovery district legislation, we will continue to win back global travellers with higher spending potential. That matters because visitors directly support local jobs and contribute to the quality of life for residents.”

International visitors typically comprise seven percent of total visitation but account for 27 percent of spending. The 1.2 million international visitors represent a 279 percent year-to-year increase. Top international markets included the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, India, France, Brazil, Mexico (by air), China, South Korea and Australia. DDC plans to increase its representation in select markets in the next fiscal year, starting with Brazil and Mexico.

“We are excited to bring the ‘There’s Only One Washington, DC’ campaign to India, which was designed with our international markets in mind, as it resonates globally. India is our number three international market for 2022, and we know that investing further via this campaign strategy is critical to successfully increasing India visitation to Washington, DC. We are working alongside our in-market firm, Indiva Marketing, to execute plans that showcase Washington, DC’s unique offerings like the city’s free things to do, world-class dining, arts and culture, parks and more.” said Ferguson

DDC also announced plans to sustain the positive momentum, nationwide and abroad, by previewing a new advertising campaign: “There’s Only One DC.” The branding positions the destination as wholly unique. DC matches other world-class cities in dining, nightlife, arts, culture, sports, theater, outdoor activities and green spaces. But no other destination in the country can compete with DC’s monuments, museums, memorials and free things to do. The campaign will officially launch Nov. 1.

“As we celebrate progress in bringing visitors back to DC, and the jobs and opportunities those visitors create, we are also excited to support Destination DC’s new ‘There’s Only One DC’ campaign,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “It is true: there is only one place in the world like Washington, DC. Only one place where you can visit the White House during the day and then go to Ben’s Chili Bowl at night. Only one place where you can go to Cedar Hill and then to Sycamore & Oak in one trip. And only one place where you can take in the history of our nation while celebrating and enjoying the culture of the 700,000 Washingtonians who call DC home.”

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