Destination DC records strong growth from Indian market

More people visited Washington, DC in 2023 than ever before, Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, announced recently. Washington, DC welcomed 25.95 million total visitors last year, up 17 percent from 2022 and surpassing the pre-pandemic record set in 2019. The new benchmark resulted in a record $10.2 billion in visitor spending and supported a record 102,366 local jobs.  Furthermore, Indians have greatly favoured Washington DC and India as an inbound market stands at number 2 position as confirmed by Destination DC. A total of 165,100 Indians travelled to Washington DC in 2023 and recorded a spend of $287,400,000.

“India continues to be an important market for Washington, DC tourism, coming in as our #2 overseas market for visitation in 2023. More importantly, India was DC’s top overseas market for 2023 visitor spending. Research shows that the India market prioritizes DC for its arts, culture, luxury amenities and shopping, and we have plans to invest to further expand our market share in 2024 and beyond,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, President and CEO, Destination DC.

Of the record 25.95 million total visitors, 24 million travelled domestically. That means domestic visitation has fully rebounded to 105 percent of 2019 figures. International visitation continues to trend towards pre-pandemic levels. The 1.95 million international visitors indicate an 85 percent return, but a 40 percent increase year-over-year. International travellers typically stay longer and spend twice as much as their domestic counterparts. 

Ferguson further added, “This is a major milestone for Washington, DC. Put simply, we are seeing the results of our increased marketing and sales efforts thanks to the tourism recovery district legislation, and the city is benefitting from increased tourism. There is still work to do, however, since international travel hasn’t fully recovered. The additional funding allows us to continue to entice international visitors who stay longer and spend more.”

The data underscores the importance of increased tourism to the city’s economy, with visitor spending up 29 percent and local jobs created from tourism up 25 percent year-over-year, respectively. DDC launched its award-winning creative campaign, “There’s Only One DC,” last November, positioning DC as wholly unique and spotlighting its diversity of experiences and free things to do. Additional funding through the tourism recovery district has enabled DDC to ensure the messaging reaches potential travellers. “There’s Only One DC” has the largest reach of any DDC campaign to date.

DC boasts a packed calendar of iconic festivals and events, as well as a star-studded sports schedule this year. 2025 will be a big year for DC as WorldPride 2025, a two-week festival that could bring millions to the nation’s capital in 2025. In addition, the 75th NATO Summit will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (July 9-11).

Elliott L. Ferguson, II
President and CEO, Destination DC.
Destination DC

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