Elliott Ferguson Elliott Ferguson

DC promises plenty of updates

Giving Washington DC an image refresh and presenting a myriad of new attractions and developments to the trade will be on the agenda when the city visits New Zealand early August.

‘There are still some misconceptions about the city,’ says Destination DC CEO Elliott Ferguson. ‘All people see on the news is people dressed in suits talking about politics but we are much more than that.’

Ferguson says Washington DC’s events calendar is evolving all the time and points to occasions such as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 28 June to 9 July, A Capitol Forth and Fireworks Show on 4 July and the DC JazzFest happening 30 August to 3 September as some examples.

Further afield are the National Cherry Blossom Festival that runs from 20 March to 14 April next year and World DC 2025 from 23 March to 8 June that year.

Ferguson will be visiting New Zealand with other members of his team as part of the three East Coast city visit taking place (joined by Boston and Philidelphia).

A travel agent evening event on 7 August at Four Points by Sheraton in Auckland will be an important part of the visit.

‘Only 7% of our visitors are international but they represent 27% of the spend,’ says Ferguson. ‘So the question is how do we increase those numbers to get more international representation?’

Ferguson says new developments that have enhanced visitors’ experiences in the city include the Metro Silver Line being extended through to Dulles International Airport. Also late last year, the Rubell Museum opened a new venue near the National Mall with more than 7,400 contemporary works by 1,000 plus American and international artists,

Phase 22 of new waterfront development The Wharf has opened with a Pendry hotel and spa, shopping and restaurants, a marina and public parks.

The ongoing National Air and Space Museum renovation has seen eight new and renovated exhibitions opened, while the Bird House at the Smithsonian National Zoo has been transformed.

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