News / USA

Washington DC Tourism Rebounds Despite Economic Downturn

Tourists outside a Washington D.C. museum
Tourists outside a Washington D.C. museum

Multimedia

Tourism officials in Washington say the U.S. economic downturn is forcing  many Americans to scale back and even cancel their traditional vacation plans. But in the nation's capital, tourist visits are up.

International travelers are behind the surge in tourists visiting Washington, offsetting a drop-off in the number of American tourists visiting the city.

"Overall our numbers are down less than five percent in terms of our domestic travelers to the Washington region," said Elliott Ferguson is president of Destination DC, the city's official tourism board."However, international travel continues to be the area we have the most amount of optimism."

Ferguson says hotel occupancy rates in Washington remained about the same through June - around 76 percent. But the latest available figures for types of visitors show that 1.4 million overseas travelers visited Washington last year - a nine percent increase over the year before, making the capital one of the top U.S. destinations for international visitors.

"Brazilians like coming to Washington to see and appreciate the monuments and the museums that are known around the world," said Brazilian tourist Raquel Soares. "There are also less visa requirements, making it easier for Brazilians to come to the U.S."

Matt Gaffney, president of Capital Region USA, a tourism marketing firm, says the number of visitors from Brazil is up 29 percent.

"In years past we saw them [Brazilians] perhaps more oriented to Europe," he said. "They are now giving the U.S. a good strong look and they are choosing to come [to Washington] here just as much perhaps as going to Europe."

Other overseas tourists (excluding Canada and Mexico) coming to Washington in increasing numbers are from Britain, Germany, Australia, China and France.

"This is a great nation and by visiting Capitol Hill, I see how this nation was founded and where it originated," said Wen Yang from China, who was enjoying Washington with her family.

Tourism officials say the increased number of international visitors to the capital area offsets the number of Americans who have cut back on their travel plans due to the economy. Analysts say international tourists also spend more money than American travelers with an average stay of seven nights. In addition to food and lodging, overseas travelers on average spend $2,000.

"The international market is the market that continues to grow the fastest," said Elliott Ferguson of Destination DC. "It is one of the smallest segments, but it is an extremely important segment just strictly from an economic prospective. They tend to spend more, they stay longer and their currency is doing much better than the dollar right now. "

A video is a part of Destination DC's efforts to promote more international tourism by highlighting attractions, including Washington's many monuments, free museums and annual events such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Folklife Festival.

Tourism officials also have launched web sites to appeal to overseas visitors.

"Within two hours you can be in the Blue Ridge Mountains or sampling some Virginia or Maryland wine and a little further away is the beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches," said Capital Region USA President Matt Gaffney.

Washington tourism officials say they expect the remainder of this year to be as good as the past year, with more international tourists visiting the nation's capital.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid