Ovolo in Woolloomooloo was transformed into the unique neighbourhoods of Washington, DC last night, as Destination DC and their partners, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group and United Airlines, treated up to 100 members of the travel industry and media to a taste of DC.
DC neighbourhood stations were on display throughout the venue featuring a live DC-inspired DJ, a mini basketball hoop, cherry blossom displays in a photo booth, as well as a variety of cuisine and beverages.
Chairing the evening of events, President and CEO of Destination DC Elliott L. Ferguson, II enforced the company’s investment in the Australian market, supporting travel trade partners with co-operative marketing campaigns to best serve the travel agents (for whom he acknowledged in thanks for the continued business contributing to DC’s success).
“Destination DC recognises the importance of the travel agent in Australia, and thank all of our retail partners for expanding on the Washington, DC story launched last year to discover the real DC, by branching out itineraries into our varied neighbourhoods,” said Ferguson. “We have seen so many new itineraries extending stays into Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle and many other neighbourhoods that allows DC to truly show Australian visitors how the locals live.”
Earlier in the week Destination DC announced 1.9 million overseas visitors last year – 90,000 of whom were from Australia and spent $97,300,000. Additional figures released by Travel Market Insights, National Travel & Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce and MMGY Travel Intelligence report Washington, DC welcomed a record 23.8 million total visitors, up 4.4% over 2017 and recording a ninth consecutive record year for visitation to the District.
Additionally, global visitor spending in 2018 was a record $7.8 billion, up 4.3% over 2017, resulting in $851 million in local taxes realised by the district. Without tourism, nearly 300,000 DC households would have to contribute an additional $2,844 per household in taxes in order to maintain the current level of tax receipts. Leisure travellers accounted for 61% of visitors and 43% of spending. Leisure spending is up 13%. Business travellers accounted for 39% of visitors and 57% of spending.
Looking ahead, there are 16 hotels with over 3,307 rooms in the pipeline for Washington, DC. New hotels include international brands like the Lore Collection’s Riggs Washington, DC CitizenM Washington Capitol and Thompson Washington, DC as well as The James Washington, DC.
Additionally, significant arts and culture developments are in the works over the next six months including the National Children Museum (Nov. 2), Planet Word Museum (Spring 2020), the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial (May 8, 2020) and the National Native American Veterans Memorial (Nov. 2020).
One lucky travel agent, Vinay Gaggar from Flight Centre, won a trip to Washington, DC, including return economy airfares flying United Airlines to Washington, DC. The trip also includes four nights at the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel in Washington, DC and customization of a day to day itinerary by the Destination DC media team.
Earlier in the day the Destination DC team took to Martin Place in Sydney, evoking the historic American city with a giant 10-metre-wide by two-metre-high stage featuring a replica of the Lincoln Memorial chair. Sydneysiders got to experience DC firsthand through a virtual reality 3D system that journeys through the unique neighbourhoods of DC, have their photo taken on the replica Lincoln Memorial chair and enjoy street food carts replicating the flavours of Washington, DC.
Lead image: DC and partners – Bottom row: Brittany Smoot, Corey Marshall, Lindsay Hill (all team DC) and Belinda Condon, United Airlines. Back row: Lizzie Doyle, DC; Vanessa Casas, DC; Christina McAree, Kimpton Hotels; Teresa Belpulsi, DC; Elliott Ferguson, DC; Liz Glover, Brand USA; Karen McCardle, DC; Lauren Whicker, Brand USA and Tommy Lindblad, United Airlines.