Exciting new additions, high-Profile conventions point to major changes in the DC convention landscapeThe new year is looking promising for conventions coming to Washington, DC. Some $8.5 billion in new development projects are currently underway, including two of the most anticipated developments in recent memory, while infrastructure improvements and exciting new restaurants and attractions are joining the DC scene as well. And with some of the city’s largest and most significant conventions taking place in 2014, it is clear meeting planners are taking notice.
Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for the nation’s capital, is looking forward to notable changes in the landscape of the city and the resulting influx of new conventions and meetings organizing events in Washington, DC.
In 2014, the city will welcome an impressive array of major events, yielding millions in economic impact for DC and bringing visitors by the thousands to experience our nation’s capital. American College of Cardiology will bring their annual meeting to Washington in late March/early April and along with them, an estimated $35 million in economic impact. This event has the potential to be the largest medical group DC has ever hosted but it’s clear that medical meeting planners have DC on the radar. In recent years Washington, DC has become increasingly popular as a medical meetings destination.
In the second half of 2014 DC will play host to two high-profile events, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July and Jehovah’s Witness International Convention in August. Microsoft expects to welcome 15,000 attendees and utilize over 68,000 hotel room nights while the Jehovah’s Witness convention expects over 60,000 attendees, made up of families from around the globe and expects to bring some $41 million in impact to the local economy.
“This year is setting a new path for conventions in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Additions to the city’s landscape and the arrival of larger events signal a trend that Washington, DC is entering a new phase as a convention destination.”
Some of what has spurred a renewed interest in DC includes a couple long-awaited developments that will change the face of downtown DC and the area surrounding the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. When Marriott Marquis Washington DC opens in May it will feature an underground concourse connecting it to the Convention Center as well as 1,175 guest rooms and more than 105,000 square feet of deluxe function space. Dubbed “a modern-day Rockefeller Center” by the New York Times, the 10-acre CityCenterDC mixed-use project opened phase one in late 2013 but will be revealing exciting new restaurant and retail openings throughout 2014 and beyond. As its name implies, this live/work/play mecca is located directly in the center of the city and will offer visitors and convention attendees even more in the way of dining and diversions.
Located just a block north of the Convention Center, the CityMarket at O development will welcome a 182-room Cambria Suites later this spring. The Silver Line Metro Extension (also known as the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project) is well underway as well. It will connect DC to surrounding cities, including the retail mecca of Tysons Corner, Virginia. The line to Tysons Corner is slated to open in early 2014, while the line connecting Washington Dulles International Airport is expected to open in 2018.
“The exciting new additions coming online in 2014 are a game-changer for Washington, DC,” said Ronnie Burt, Destination DC vice president of convention sales and services. “The sheer scale and significance of these developments are unmatched anywhere else in the country and therefore are helping to attract key meetings coming to the city this year and positioning DC to win new citywide conventions and events in the years to come.”