Washington D.C. tourism group opens for business

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WASHINGTON -- The new Washington D.C. Convention and Tourism Corp. (WCTC), formed by the merger of the city's two main tourism promotion groups, is now in business.

William Hanbury, formerly president and chief executive officer of the Greater Milwaukee CVB, was approved as WCTC's president at the group's first meeting.

WCTC was formed by the merger of the Washington D.C. Convention and Visitors Association and the D.C. Committee to Promote Washington.

"With the creation of WCTC, a strong new board of directors, and the new Washington Convention Center (opening March 2003), Washington is posed to become one of the world's premier city destinations," Hanbury said in a statement.

According to a spokesman, the group expects to make announcements late this month on "the complete rebranding of the organization and the city."

WCTC has a budget of $9 million, slightly higher than the combined budget of the two groups.

Of its 44 employees, 38 were from the visitors association; nine were from the Committee to Promote Washington. No employees were laid off.

They continue to operate from their premerger offices on separate floors at 1212 New York Ave. N.W.

At the first meeting, former city council member Charlene Drew Jarvis was elected WCTC chair by the 35-member board.

Other executive committee members are vice chair Gary Dollen, Hyatt Regency Washington; secretary Linda Lee, Hunan Chinatown restaurant, and treasurer Dennis Lewis, World Travel Service.

The Committee to Promote Washington, a nonprofit advertising and marketing organization formed in 1980, produced consumer advertising campaigns and promotions.

The visitors association, a nonprofit membership organization formed in 1931, was involved in all other sales and marketing, including the travel trade and meetings and conventions.

WCTC's Web address is www.washington.org.

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