Visitor spending, arrivals rise in Washington

About 15.4 million people visited Washington in 2005, an increase of 2.7% over the previous year, according to recently released statistics.

A separate study indicates that visitors spent $5 billion, which in turn generated $543 million in local tax revenue, up 4.6% from 2005.

The visitor study, conducted by D.K. Shifflet & Associates in association with the Travel Industry Association, shows the majority of Washingtons visitors hail from 16 states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Seventy-nine percent of Washington visitors are 35 years old and older. Seventy percent are married.

Sixty percent have household incomes of $75,000 or more. Sixty-six percent are college graduates.

The study shows 36% arrive by airplane, 68% stay at least one night and 40% travel alone.

According to William Hanbury, president and CEO of the Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corp., if not for travel and tourism, Washingtons 254,247 households would have to pay $2,135 in additional taxes in order to maintain such basic services as the police department and the department of motor vehicles.

Overall, tourism accounts for 13% of the citys tax receipts, including 41% of all sales taxes collected.   

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