Record Number of Travelers Visit Washington, DC in 2011

Photo by PoPville flickr user Faucetini

From a press release:

The District of Columbia welcomed a record 17.9 million visitors in 2011 — a number that tops the District’s previous record of 17.4 million total visitors, set in 2000. Newly released data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) show the nation’s capital welcomed 1.8 million overseas visitors in 2011, a 4.1 percent increase over 2010. When added to the 16.1 million domestic visits in 2011, the nation’s capital welcomed more visitors than ever last year according to Destination DC, the District’s official convention and tourism corporation.

Holy cow that’s a lot of tourists, I had no idea the numbers were that high.

In other news, metro escalator lines faced record congestion…

A breakdown of the visitors after the jump.

Washington, DC Visitors Statistics:

· International visitor spending makes up 27 percent of total visitor spending and increased by 13.5 percent in 2011.
· Domestic visitor spending increased by a lesser extent, growing 3.8 percent in 2011.
· For domestic visitors, 56 percent are leisure travelers and 44 percent are business travelers.
· Two-thirds of domestic visitors stay overnight as opposed to one-third who are day visitors.
· Top 10 overseas markets (2010):

o UK
o Germany
o Australia (+57.4 percent from 2009)
o China (+23.7 percent from 2009)
o France (+44.4 percent from 2009)
o Italy (+68.9 percent from 2009)
o Brazil (+39.2 percent from 2009)
o Japan (+30.5 percent from 2009))
o South Korea (+43.2 percent from 2009)
o Netherlands

16 Comment

  • No surprises at all in the Top 10 list of global visitors.

  • I’m pretty sure that each and every one of these visitors blocked me from walking up the left side of the metro escalators.

    • Poor baby…

      The Next Hater on the tourist/s needs to think twice.

      That many visitors to any one location is nothing less than a powerful economic engine adding to the life beat of this city.

      • Yea, I wouldn’t get too hyped because you have to consider most of the bozo tourists stay in Virginia and the vast majority of tourist attractions are free.

        How is this even calculated? Are people from Virginia and Maryland considered tourists? Or is it just a function of hotel bookings?

        • Exactly–that many people buying lunch at McDonald’s before getting on the Metro to head back their VA/MD hotels does nothing for DC’s bottom line.

          And if anyone thinks those visitors are staying in DC hotels, check out the weekend rates from Starwood, Marriott and Kimpton in-town when the business travelers go home on Friday.

      • Agreed, but my guess is that you don’t commute to a tourist-heavy area. I go to Union Station every day and even though I consider myself a pretty patient person, dealing with tourists every day in rush hour can get maddening.

  • Glad we decided to spruce up the mall for them

    …oh wait

  • i wonder how many of those visits happened right around 9/11. 10 year anniversary and all…

  • Metro really needs to put signage saying “Stand to the right” on the escalators. Tourists clogging the escalators is annoying, but most of them just don’t know any better and Metro doesn’t do anything to educate them beyond that recording with “You may have noticed most people stand to the right on the escalator.”

    I think I read somewhere that Metrorail used to have “Stand to the right” signage, but got rid of it because they decided it could be construed as an endorsement of walking on escalators and thus would leave Metro open to lawsuits if people injured themselves while walking on escalators.

  • So is some of the extra spending because the dollar is weaker? Not sure why last year had record numbers…

  • I’m happy for our beautiful city.

  • I’ve been reading Tripadvisor for DC lately – which does tend to attract the timid, fearful and slightly dim anyway – but I would say way over half of tourists will absolutely not even consider staying in DC. Crystal City is the epicenter.

    • As someone who has to work in Crystal City (for about one more week, yay!), I can attest to this. The metro station here is always swamped with groups of tourists in the mornings and evenings.

    • I remember landing in Dulles once and overhearing a woman in the row in front of me telling her two children that they were going to have to be careful WHEN CHANGING PLANES at IAD because crime in DC was so bad. I breifly felt like telling her to get a map, but it’s not worth it.

    • Give yourself a little credit, Vic! You’re anything but timid 😀

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