Destination DC attracts international groups and highlights What’s New at IMEX Frankfurt


 DDC’s convention sales and services team attracts customers by focusing on the benefits of the Connected Capital and the added value for groups access to policymakers, impactful speakers and leaders in key industries including technology, sustainability, biotech/pharma, education and medical.

WASHINGTON, DC – Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, shared its ongoing commitment to attracting international groups at IMEX Frankfurt.

“There’s no greater event than IMEX Frankfurt to reconnect with event organizers and to highlight the benefits of meeting in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Whether you’re in DC for a corporate event, incentive travel and beyond, our ‘Connected’ positioning adds value to your events with expert keynote speakers, educational experiences, and meaningful connections.”

Also supporting recovery efforts, on Jan. 3, 2023, the Council of the District of Columbia approved Tourism Recovery District legislation, a temporary 1 percent increase in the hotel tax that will go to DDC to market the destination.

“As we compete globally with other destinations trying to regain market share, these dollars will give us the wherewithal to remain equally as competitive and enhance our marketing and sales efforts to draw meetings and events that leave a lasting impact on the local economy,” said Ferguson.

DDC’s convention sales and services team attracts customers by focusing on the benefits of the Connected Capital and the added value for groups access to policymakers, impactful speakers and leaders in key industries including technology, sustainability, biotech/pharma, education and medical.

“International groups are returning to meetings in Washington, DC,” said Melissa A. Riley, senior vice president, convention sales and services. “They’re coming for meetings but also to join their companies to reconnect, collaborate and participate in hands-on workshops with their global teams. And there’s no other city where attendees can tap into DC’s intellectual capital and benefit from the knowledge of the expertise of industry leaders, associations and advocacy groups.”

DC’s Convention Outlook

Meetings and events continue to play a critical role in the city’s recovery from the pandemic. In 2023, there are 16 total citywide conventions (defined as meetings bringing 2,500 room nights to the city on peak), with an estimated 321,875 total room nights and an estimated economic impact of more than $245,000,000. International highlights include:

The 8th World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery returns to the continental U.S. for the first time in nearly 40 years this August. Washington, DC hosts the program.

The Association of International Educators Annual National Convention, the American Psychological Association Annual Meeting, and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Annual Convention are leveraging the “Connected Capital” with keynote speakers.

In 2024, there are 17 citywide conventions, 424,337 room nights and an estimated economic impact of $382,000,000.

International Visitation and Accessibility

According to Travel Market Insights, National Travel & Tourism Office and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC’s 2022 forecast is for 1.1 to 1.3 million overseas visitors (approximately 71% of 2019 levels.) DC’s international markets are projected to rebound by 2025.​ The ease of getting to Washington, DC from cities around the world continues to be a draw with 62 international destinations that serve Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International serving 12 international outposts. The new Metrorail Silver Line connects Dulles to downtown DC. The airport will add a LEED Silver-certified, $675 million 14-gate concourse in 2026.

Adding New Hotels

There are more than 17 new hotels or renovations in the pipeline, adding over 4,539 new or renovated rooms. New:

The 247-room Holiday Inn Express, less than one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, includes a large living room-style lobby with daily hot breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The new Morrow Washington DC in NoMa features 203 guest rooms, 6,000 sq. feet of light-filled event space, a 5,000 sq. foot outdoor terrace, a French restaurant and an expansive rooftop lounge with jazz performances.

The 234-room Washington Marriott Capitol Hill located just over one mile from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and steps from Union Station (Amtrak hub), features 13,000 sq. feet of intimately designed meeting and event space and an expansive fitness and wellness center.

The modern, glass-façade Royal Sonesta Washington DC Capitol Hill (opening June 2023) has 274 large guest rooms, 11,000 sq. feet of event space including a penthouse conference center with a wraparound terrace, and an onsite French bistro. The hotel will be LEED Gold certified and include a green-vegetated roof.

The new 445-room Arlo Hotel will incorporate a residential building constructed in the 1880s. Opening in 2024, the 445-room hotel will include a 12-story addition, a fitness center, a signature restaurant and bar, rooftop pool and lounge and indoor/outdoor event space.

From Royal Sonesta comes a high-end lifestyle option in top urban and resort destination markets. The James DC (2024) will be one of three properties under this flag.

New Venues and Event Space:

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (opens Oct. 21, 2023). The world’s only major museum solely dedicated to championing women artists opens after a two-year, $67.5 million renovation of its historic building. Key improvements include enlarged gallery space, a library center, a new Learning Commons and an updated 200-seat performance hall. The building’s Great Hall — a popular event venue with sweeping staircases and golden chandeliers — has been preserved throughout the renovation process.

The Center for Environmental Justice at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum (opened April 2023). For decades, those furthest from justice living in communities along the Anacostia River, in the DC region, and across the world have been fighting inequities in their own neighborhoods.

The Capital Jewish Museum (June 2023). The new museum will juxtapose the story of Jewish Washington with exhibits on the American Jewish community’s history of activism and the struggle for civil rights and racial justice for all Americans.

The Folger Shakespeare Theater (Fall 2023). The Folger’s 1932 building is undergoing a major renovation to expand public space, improve accessibility and enhance the experience. The renovation project will add a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with fully accessible entry plazas for all visitors on both the east- and west-facing sides of the building. The Great Hall will transform to a public gathering place.

The Wharf (Phase 2 opened Oct. 2022)

The Pendry hotel and spa and several new restaurants have been added to the waterfront development.

Monumental Experiences for Incentive Groups

Home to 21 higher education institutions and hundreds of associations, Washington, DC offers options to build hands-on educational programs with experts and industry leaders. From meeting with former presidential speechwriters to hearing from astronauts and former espionage experts, groups will value experiential learning sessions following by customized activities for exceptional incentive trips in the nation’s capital.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

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