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Washington, D.C. Tourism Numbers Returning to Normal

June 18, 2003

Washington, D.C. Tourism Numbers Returning to Normal
Travelers are beginning once again to visit one the United State’s most popular destinations, Washington, D.C., after the events of Sept. 11, war with Iraq, color-coded terrorist alerts and a weak economy threatened the city’s tourist life.

According to, the number of domestic visitors in 2002 dropped three percent to 17.6 million. However, Washington’s Convention and Tourism Corporation, an NTA member, believes the situation is on the mend.

"We’re hoping that this year we’ll get back to the pre-9/11 levels," said WCTC president William A. Hanbury. "It has been challenging, not only for Washington, D.C., but the whole national tourism industry has seen a decline based on many things, whether it’s the threat level, whether it’s war, or the economy – they’ve all been affecting the tourism economy."

Washington’s hotel occupancy rate recently rose slightly from a 2001 low of 66.7 percent, with nearly 80 percent of the downtown hotel rooms booked the first week in June. While visits to the country’s memorials were still down at the end of May, the Washington Monument did attract 81,073 more visitors than the same time period last year.

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