Podcast Ep.21 How Washington DC Tourism Evolved over the Years May 1, 2020

What is Washington, DC tourism going to look like post COVID-19? We don’t know! No one does. Rather than guess about the future we thought it would be more useful to look back for lessons from how things changed over the past few decades. How did 9/11, government shutdowns, new sports venues and Uber change the way that visitors experience Washington, DC?

In this episode Rob is joined by Tim Krepp. He is the author of Capitol Hill Haunts and Ghosts of Georgetown as well as a veteran DC tour guide. Pick up one of Tim’s books online today or visit East City Bookshop to support a local business when you visit.

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Show Notes:

Rob and Tim reminisced about Washington, DC tourism was like over the decades. The industry is struggling and we don’t know what the future holds; but looking back might give us some hints about what’s to come.

Washington, DC Tourism in the 1990s

The 90s was the decade when Washington, DC started to become a tourist destination. The early part of the decade was tough for many cities as they struggled with crime and budget issues. But over time cities transitioned to become a place to visit and experience, rather than just the place where the attractions are located. A few notable events from the 1990s include:

  • 1992 – Bill Clinton elected
  • 1993 – Holocaust museum opens
  • 1995 – Oklahoma City bombing brings new security concerns to DC
  • 1995 – Korean War Memorial opens
  • 1997 – MCI Center (now Capital One Arena) opens
  • 1997 – FDR Memorial opens

Washington, DC Tourism in the 2000s

The 2000s started strong, with a record breaking number of Washington, DC tourists that year. However, the 2000s are defined by 9/11 and the events that followed. In DC this decade is remembered as the one when security really started to ramp up. A few notable events from the 2000s include:

Washington, DC Tourism in the 2010s

Starting in 2011 Washington, DC set a new record for number of visitors every year. In addition to the crowds, the decade will be remembered for the closures of the Washington Monument, new security protocols and several federal government shutdowns. A few notable events from the 2010s include:

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