Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tourists Enrich DC: Spent $5.5 Billion in 2007

I am not anti-tourist. A lot of my friends are. Occasionally other bloggers bemoan them, and most DC area Metro riders seem to be generally against the out-of-towners. I welcome tourists.

What is it about tourists that upset us so? Well, I usually hear arguments like: they stand left on the Metro escalators, take up the entire sidewalk, slow up the line at Qdoba. Each is a pet peeve, but nothing over the top in my opinion. I get more upset by people who litter or disobey traffic rules, but even residents do those things.

According to Destination DC, a tourism promotion group, the District saw a significant increase of tourists/visitors from 2006-2007. There were more than 16.2 million visitors to DC last year. That's an increase of 7% over the previous year. A large part of the increase was due to businesses travelers and international travelers, adding $$$$ to DC businesses from abroad. The estimated impact of the $5,500,000,000 total spent by visitors was $600,000,000 in tax revenue for the District.

So I say bring on the tourists and call on the City Council to keep the hotel and restaurant taxes in line with our needs as a city. I can endure a 10 second extra wait at Qdoba, knowing that a small portion of the money spent on that naked burrito is coming back to me at some point.