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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More