Rampant violence could impact DC tourism, experts say

Recent high-profile examples of violent crime have thrust Washington D.C. into the national spotlight. So much so, tourism experts said it could cost the Nation’s Capital some of the visitor's officials have focused on courting.

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"I think everyone is concerned," Elliott Ferguson said Monday. He’s the president and CEO of Destination D.C., the District’s convention and visitors bureau that recently launched a $2.5 million ad campaign aimed at bringing people back to the city.

"I think the reality for us as a destination is that it’s not specific just to Washington," Ferguson explained. "It’s an unfortunate situation nationwide tied to gun violence that as a country we’re going to have to deal with."

Travel expert Troy Petenbrink told Fox 5 the crime could cost the city visitors.

"There’s a number of studies out there that show that if people perceive a destination as being unsafe or crime-ridden, they will not go," Petenbrink said. "I think this uptick in gun violence across the nation is certainly affecting a number of cities – Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. Those are all places that are going to have the potential to suffer if this crime continues."

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Nevertheless, many fans at Nationals Park Monday night – just days after a shooting outside the stadium caused widespread panic – said they felt safe coming back.

"I already had tickets and, you know, D.C.’s a relatively safe town," Harry Modrow said.

Cindy Petkac agreed, "I feel very safe coming down here."