Despite shutdown, DC had record visitation in 2013

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm •  Published: May 6, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Even though museums and memorials were shuttered last fall by a government shutdown, 2013 was another record-breaking year for attractions in the nation's capital with an increase in domestic visitors and spending, tourism officials said Tuesday.

Statistics released by the tourism bureau Destination D.C. show Washington had more than 17.4 million U.S. visitors in 2013. That's up 3.1 percent from the 16.8 million domestic visitors in 2012.

Visitors spent $6.7 billion last year in Washington, an increase of nearly 8 percent over 2012, according to the study. Spending was up on retail goods, food, beverages and entertainment.

While 2013 was the year of a 16-day government shutdown in October that shuttered Smithsonian museums and monuments, it was also a presidential inauguration year and a strong year for large citywide conventions, said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination D.C.

"We had a lot of variables that really worked in our favor," he said.

During the shutdown, tourism officials worked to advertise the many privately funded museums and attractions that remained open. Many visitors found other things to do, and business meetings and conventions went on as planned, officials said.