Washington, D.C. set tourism record in 2014 as foreign visits surged

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 17, 2015 4:56 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The District of Columbia hosted a record 20.2 million visitors last year, including a 16 percent surge in foreign tourists, the U.S. capital's tourism organization said on Monday.

Tourism spending hit $6.8 billion in 2014, up 1.9 percent from 2013, Destination DC said in a statement, as visitors flocked to the city's museums, monuments, historic sites and events.

The 1.9 million foreign tourists in 2014 marks the biggest yearly increase in overseas visitors in five years, Destination DC said in a statement.

The top five countries for foreign visitors were China, Britain, Germany, France and Australia. Overseas tourists made up 9 percent of visitors, but represent 27 percent of visitor spending when neighboring Mexico and Canada are included, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for Destination DC said Washington was a "top 10 tier city" among U.S. tourism destinations, with New York at No. 1.

Washington enjoyed an 8 percent increase in U.S. market share of overseas visitors in 2014, with 5.4 percent of them visiting the city.

The numbers were released in conjunction with Destination DC's yearly marketing summit. The meeting is focused on attracting millennials, or people aged 18 to 34.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson)