Tourism in DC hits historic highs, driving economic recovery

Tourism in Washington, D.C. has made a remarkable recovery post-pandemic, significantly boosting the local economy. 

The tourism board is set to announce on Wednesday that 2023 saw historic visitor numbers.

This recovery is crucial for the District's finances. 

The United States Capitol with the illuminated Dome with city lights seen during the night behind the Washington Monument with local people, visitors and visiting tourists under the American flags on their flagpoles. The Capitol is the seat of the Un

In 2022, tourism generated $1.6 billion in tax revenue. Wednesday's announcement will reveal the 2023 figures, which are expected to surpass previous records. 

In 2022, 22 million visitors spent a total of $8.1 billion in the District.

Mayor Muriel Bowser emphasized the importance of tourism to the city's economy Tuesday. 

"It’s critical to our bottom line: I can’t speak to the numbers that will be announced tomorrow, but we know how many workers are employed, how many visitors fill our restaurants and hotel rooms that really allow for us to make the kinds of investments across the city that make us a world-class city," Bowser told FOX 5.


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Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, highlighted the success of the post-pandemic recovery efforts. 

"The recoil after the pandemic has been much faster and the marketing efforts in which we’re putting out there are really tied to letting folks know that Washington D.C. is open for business," he explained.

Key drivers of this recovery include the return of convention and business travel, as well as domestic leisure travel. 

While international travel, which makes up about 7 percent of visitors, is not fully back to pre-pandemic levels, it is trending positively.


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Destination DC categorizes visitors into three main groups: business and convention travelers, domestic leisure travelers, and foreign leisure travelers. The organization reports that business and domestic travel have rebounded strongly, and international travel is also improving.

The official announcement of the 2023 tourism numbers is scheduled for Wednesday morning.