ITB 2019 Special Reporting
HVS Market Pulse: Washington, DC
Sunday, 25th November 2018
Source : Chelsey Leffet

Washington, DC holds a worldwide reputation as a city rich in history and political power and as the nation’s hub of political affairs, it is the center of governmental action and policy in the US.

Aside from places like Capitol Hill, Embassy Row, the National Mall, and historic Georgetown, the metropolitan area also boasts a diverse concentration of national and international organizations and associations.

Although the federal government remains the dominant influence in D.C., a diverse array of industries and institutions have contributed to and supported the growth and expansion of the region.

The finance, education, healthcare, and scientific research-and-development industries are strongly represented in and around the District, and the region is home to 20 colleges and universities, as well as multiple major regional hospitals.

Key Lodging Demand Generators

Tourism and Visitation

Tourism is a major influence on the Washington, D.C. economy and a significant demand generator for the lodging market. The city is the eighth most popular destination in the U.S., after New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Honolulu. In 2017, a total of 22.8 million people visited the D.C.

The most popular tourist destinations are the National Parks (44.4 million visitors in 2017) and the Smithsonian museums on the Mall (30.0 million visitors in 2017). The following graph illustrates Destination DC’s count of the total visitation to the city; the data include both domestic and international visitors.

Total Visitation

Source: Destination DC

The 20.8 million domestic visitors recorded in 2017 represent an 800,000 increase over 2016. Forecasts by Destination DC anticipate that visitation will continue to increase over the next several years. Total visitation is expected to reach 26.1 million by 2021; thus, leisure demand is expected to rise in tandem.

As one would suspect, the hospitality industry is one of the District’s strongest employers, accounting for over 80,000 jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, within the greater Washington metropolitan area, leisure and hospitality had the largest employment gain from January 2017 to January 2018, adding 13,000 jobs, twice that of the national average in this employment sector.

Hospitality employment figures include restaurants, and D.C.’s expanding restaurant scene has contributed to this increase. Furthermore, the BLS reported that D.C.’s professional and business services employment increased 3.0% from July 2017 through July 2018, higher than the national increase at 2.6%.


The Washington, D.C. lodging market greatly benefits from the availability of three airports and over 2,200 flights in and out of the city each day. This ease of access facilitates travel across all segments.

Read the full report here.

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