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DC mayor unveils new 'Experience DC' ad campaign to bring visitors back – Washington Business Journal – Washington Business Journal

“You know Washington. Now experience D.C.”
That’s at the heart of messaging D.C. officials hope will reach leisure travelers as part of a $2.5 million advertising campaign unveiled Wednesday to help bring visitors back to the District.
“What we want them to know about is the beautiful, 700,000 Washingtonians here,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told a crowd gathered Wednesday outside Ben’s Chili Bowl during the “Experience D.C.” kick-off announcement. “We want them to know about all eight wards, the wonderful culture of Washington, D.C., that is go-go music, Ben’s Chili Bowl, wonderful art, the Kennedy Center, we want them to know about all of those things.”
The District lost $6.6 billion in visitor spending between March 2020 through April 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Destination D.C., the city’s tourism marketing arm. Experts predict it will take some time before business and international travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, which leaves leisure traveler as the main source of activity in the hospitality industry at the moment.
That’s the audience — specifically, leisure travelers within a four hour drive of the District — tourism boosters hope to reach with the new campaign, first announced in May during Destination D.C.’s annual travel rally held at Audi Field. The campaign features lots of local talent; artist Tré Seals, photographer Jared Soares, musician Will Rast and his The Funk Ark band, local ballerina Nya Cunningham and poet Charity Blackwell had a hand in or are featured in the campaign, which is a mix of print and digital advertising being rolled ahead of the July 4th holiday.
D.C.-based January Third designed ads, which call attention to not just D.C.’s monuments and museums but also its culture and food scene. Part of the campaign includes outreach to Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ travelers, Destination D.C. said in a press release.
All eight wards are captured in the campaign, with venues including The Reach at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Hi Lawn at Union Market, the No Kisses Bar and Anacostia Roller Rink, among others.
Conventions and sports authority Events D.C., working in collaboration with Destination D.C., is funding the campaign. D.C. faces competition from other metro areas courting that same set of travelers within a four-hour drive, including those from New York, Pittsburg and Richmond, however. Bowser shouted out the City of Brotherly Love specifically Wednesday, calling on Philadelphians with cabin fever to head down I-95 to D.C.
“This summer, we want them to get in their car and get on the Metro and discover D.C.,” Bowser said. “We want to tell all the people of Philadelphia, ‘that town’s fine, but why not come down to D.C. and stay with us for a while?'”
Joining Bowser Wednesday was Ben’s Chili Bowl co-founder Virginia Ali, who said the coronavirus outbreak put a signifiant strain on her business but it pulled through and is now looking forward to improving economic conditions.
“D.C. is open,” she said. “We are ready. We have the most beautiful city in the world. We’ve got everything you need here, and we don’t have earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes.”
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