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Washington DC tourism chief thanks Aussie travel agents

September 9, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Ovolo boutique hotel in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo was transformed into a mini-version of Washington DC on Thursday – complete with the US capital’s diverse neighbourhoods – as Destination DC and its 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 basketball mini-shooting hoop, cherry blossom displays in a photo booth, as well as a variety of cuisine and beverages.

Chairing the evening of events, president and chief executive of Destination DC, Elliott L. Ferguson II, reiterated the company’s investment in the Australian market. It supports travel trade partners with co-operative marketing campaigns to best serve the travel agents. Ferguson credited and thanked agents for contributing to DC’s tourism 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,” Ferguson said.

“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.”

Corey Marshall (Canuckiwi) plus Christina McAree (Kimpton Hotels) drawing major prize

Washington DC received 1.9 million overseas visitors last year. Destination DC said earlier this week that 90,000 of them were from Australia and they spent USD 97.3 million.

Figures released Travel Market Insights, National Travel & Tourism Office, US Department of Commerce and MMGY Travel Intelligence report that Washington DC welcomed a record 23.8 million total visitors, up 4.4% over 2017. It was a ninth consecutive record year for visitation.

Belinda Condon, United Airlines; Theresa Belpulsi, DestinatIon DC; prizewinner Vinay Gagger (Flight Centre); Corey Marshall, Canuckiwi

Additionally, global visitor spending in 2018 was a record USD 7.8 billion, up 4.3% over 2017, resulting in USD 851 million in local taxes realized by the District. Without tourism, nearly 300,000 DC households would have to contribute an additional USD 2844 per household in taxes in order to maintain the current level of tax receipts.

Leisure travelers accounted for 61% of visitors and 43% of spending. Leisure spending is up 13%. Business travelers accounted for 39% of visitors and 57% of spending.

DC and partners under the gaze of President Abraham Lincoln in Sydney’s Martin Place

DC’s top 10 markets, in order of visitation, are China, the UK, India, Germany, Brazil, Australia, France, South Korea, Italy and Spain. Though overseas visitors only represent 8% of the total number of visitors to DC, international visitors represent 27% of the visitor spending.

Looking ahead, there are 16 hotels with over 3307 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.

DestinatIon DC president and chief executive, Elliott Ferguson, in Sydney’s Martin Place 

Additionally, significant arts and culture developments are in the works over the next six months including the National Children Museum (2 November 2019), Planet Word Museum (Spring 2020), the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial (8 May 2020) and the National Native American Veterans Memorial (November 2020).

Prizewinner Vinay Gaggar (Flight Centre) and Lindsay Hill, Destination DC

At Thursday night’s DC presentation at the Ovolo, lucky travel agent Vinay Gaggar from Flight Centre won a trip to Washington DC, including return economy airfares on United Airlines to Washington DC. Plus four nights at the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel in Washington, DC and customisation of a day-to-day itinerary by the Destination DC media team.

Sarah Clarke, Infinity Holidays, backpack winner plus Corey Marshall, Canuckiwi

Earlier in the day, the Destination DC team took to Martin Place in Sydney, evoking the historic city with a giant 32-foot-wide by 2-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.

Edited by Peter Needham

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