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The government shutdown has not been kind to D.C. tourism. Visitors have been spotted wandering the National Mall aimlessly in search of diversion now that the national museums and monuments are closed, and bars and hotels have reported declining revenue.
“It’s the bane of every city’s existence right now,” says Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, the private nonprofit that markets the District as a destination for tourism and major conventions.
So Destination DC is taking action to try to counter the perception that there’s nothing to do in D.C. during the shutdown. The company is launching a “D.C. is open for business” campaign today that will update visitors on the effects of the shutdown and include a “Shutdown Concierge line,” a free service to help visitors craft itineraries for their time in D.C.
“We know that the regional community, national community, and international community look at Washington as a top destination for travel,” says Ferguson. “And we’re hoping that through this effort, we’re able to showcase the fact that as people talk about D.C. being shut down, they say, ‘You know what, I didn’t really know that I can still do these other things in D.C.”
Ferguson says he’s heard from hotels and tour companies that many groups have been looking to postpone or cancel travel to D.C., but he says major conventions haven’t been too affected by the shutdown.
Below is a video produced by Destination DC with a subtle message about D.C.’s openness, and a flyer the group is handing out today.
Screetshot via Destination DC’s video