WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington drew a record 20.2 million visitors last year, with increases in international and domestic visitors, tourism officials announced Monday.
The tourism bureau Destination DC said the city drew an all-time high number of tourists in 2014. The group released data on international visitors showing a 16 percent increase in overseas visitors, totaling 1.9 million international tourists.
China, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Japan and Italy were the top 10 markets for overseas visitors to Washington.
International visitors are a small portion of total visitation but represent 27 percent of visitor spending with an average of $518 per stay, according to the data.
For the fifth year, Washington also saw an increase in domestic visitors. In 2014, there were 18.3 million domestic tourists who visited the nation’s capital, an increase of 5.7 percent over 2013.
Overall visitor spending increased by $100 million from 2013 for a total of $6.8 billion in 2014.
Elliott Ferguson, the president and CEO of Destination DC, said the group will increasingly focus its marketing on millennial travelers eager to spend money on travel and leisure. The group will relaunch its “D.C. Cool” branding campaign that began in 2013 to showcase Washington as “a hip and vibrant destination,” Ferguson said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser joined officials from the Washington region’s hotels and tourist attractions on Monday to celebrate the numbers.
“Indeed, topping off a record-breaking year can be difficult, but I think we’re poised to do exactly that,” Bowser said, noting that tourism is Washington’s second-biggest industry — after government.
The mayor’s office is increasing its contribution to Destination DC by an additional $3 million for marketing.
Bowser said she plans a robust schedule of trips to serve as Washington’s ambassador around the world, including a trip to China later this year.
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