Starting on Friday, May 21, Washington, DC fully reopens for in-person meetings, conventions, trade shows, groups and special events. The hospitality alliance, comprised of Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, Events DC, the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C. and Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is leading an industry-wide effort to support customers meeting in the nation’s capital. The Still Connected approach is two-fold: first, is a focus on health standards, and second is a focus on DC’s exclusive benefits that facilitate commerce thriving in the city.
“After more than a year of navigating the pandemic together, it’s clear that nothing replaces face-to-face meetings. As a city, we take protective measures against COVID-19 seriously, and beyond that, meeting in Washington, DC provides many benefits,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “DC is walkable and accessible, and our hospitality partners across venues and event spaces, restaurants and hotels are dedicated to providing an experience that will lead to client success.”
“This year has tested our resilience and demonstrated the incredible strength of our community,” said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we know there is a pent-up demand for travel and a return to word-class meeting and event experiences in Washington, DC. We’ve spent the last year implementing the latest health and safety protocols to position Events DC as an industry leader and to put the safety of our guests and staff as our highest priority for reopening.”
After a hiatus of face-to-face meetings and conventions, events come back stronger in DC because of the reasons that set the city apart.
“DC is connected in many ways that benefit customers and add value. Our strongest sectors include the people and companies impacting our nation’s biggest challenges today: medical, technology and bio-tech and pharma,” said Melissa A. Riley, vice president, convention sales and services. “Meeting in DC attracts more exhibitors, attendees and sponsors with the strong content and programs that only experts in the region can provide and positively impact commerce.”
DDC has launched The DEI District, a content hub to help showcase Washington, DC as a global destination that promotes and validates diversity, equity and inclusion. Within the Meet section, event planners discover unique venues such as women-owned hotels, active community hubs and sustainable spaces. Leading corporate social responsibility programming creates a natural alignment with an organization’s social impact goals. Meetings professionals can understand DC’s commitment to diversity and create lasting change in DC beyond the immediate economic impact of their event.
Looking ahead, domestic visitation to DC is estimated to be between 14-15 million in 2021, up about 50 percent over 2020 (estimated at 10 million domestic visitors). Domestic visitation could rise to between 18-19 million by 2022, up about 90 percent over 2020. DC hotels can expect 5.7 million rooms in demand in 2021, which is more than double 2020. Due to the pandemic, total visitor spending in DC is down 68 percent or $6.1 billion. DC hotel revenue is down 84 percent, or $2.1 billion.
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