by Andrea Doyle | May 08, 2019
Washington, D.C., attracted a record 21.9 million domestic visitors in 2018, the ninth consecutive year for tourism growth, according to Destination DC, the city's official destination marketing organization. The statistics were announced on Tuesday at Destination DC's annual Travel Rally held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
"An additional 1.1 million domestic visitors to D.C. year-over-year is a big deal for the city," said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO, Destination DC. "As we market the city through our Discover the Real DC campaign, we continue to show potential visitors that there's so much more to see and do here, beyond the federal government, and build on our momentum that's sustaining visitation to the city."

Visitor spending in 2018 amounted to a record $7.8 billion, according to IHS Markit, a global research and analytics company, up by 4.3 percent over 2017. Leisure travelers accounted for 61 percent of visitors and 43 percent of spending, while business travelers accounted for 39 percent of visitors and 57 percent of spending.

"The continued growth of our city's tourism industry reflects the overall strength and success of Washington, D.C.," said the district's Mayor Muriel Bowser. "From sporting events to restaurants to music venues and museums, we have more to do and see in our city than ever before. We're proud to welcome people from around the world, to show them the city that is home to more than 700,000 Washingtonians, to create jobs and opportunity for our local businesses, and to share the history and culture that has made D.C. the best city in the world."

Destination DC's Travel Rally was held in support of the annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which is designed to generate awareness about the economic importance of travel. Officials said that 2019 should be another record-breaking year for the city, as 20 citywide meetings are planned that will generate more than 370,000 total room nights. Beyond this year, there are 16 hotels now being built that will add 3,263 rooms to the city's inventory.