Destination DC Unveils New Ad Campaign Amid Tourism Recovery

Against the backdrop of a fresh advertising campaign, Destination DC (DDC) 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 recently at the Warner Theatre. “We knew domestic travelers would return quicker than those from international markets, and when domestic travelers are considering where to spend their money, the data tells us D.C. is a top choice,” said Ferguson. “The data also tells us we must continue enticing international travelers to return. With support from the tourism recovery district legislation, we will continue to win back global travelers 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 U.K., 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.

DDC also announced plans to sustain the positive momentum, nationwide and abroad, by previewing a new advertising campaign: “There’s Only One DC.” The destination offers dining, nightlife, arts, culture, sports, theater, outdoor activities and green spaces, plus monuments, museums, memorials and free things to do. The campaign will officially launch November 1, targeting major national markets including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Seattle. The campaign will include broadcast, digital, streaming, and social video components, as well as streaming audio and terrestrial radio. The video highlights 30 unique-to-DC locations across all four quadrants of the city.

The campaign aligns with DDC’s current efforts to market the city for meetings and conventions under its “Connected” platform, which focuses on assets for meeting planners found only in Washington, DC.

The city is also undergoing a hotel renaissance, with 19 new hotels and over 3,500 additional rooms in the pipeline. Major events, including DC JazzFest (August 30 to September 3), Theatre Week (September 29 to October 8), and the World Culture Festival (September 29 to October 1) are expected to bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city. Additionally, the National Museum of Women in the Arts reopens this fall following years-long renovations.

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