- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

From combined dispatches
The terrorist attacks on the United States did more than $100 billion in damage and the costs are still piling up a month later, experts said.
More than 100,000 jobs have been lost, with some economists predicting a final figure of 500,000. The entire U.S. economy is hurtling toward recession. Global growth forecasts are being cut.
"The impact will be worse than any of the events of the last 40 years including the oil shock of the 1970s," Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein said.
Particularly hard hit on the economic front have been New York and Washington, the locations of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In New York, a preliminary report by City Comptroller Alan Hevesi said total costs could rise to $105 billion more than a year's total economic output by Singapore.
In Washington, the regional economy has been struggling from a staggering drop in tourism and the extended closure of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Business leaders are mixed in their assessments of how the Washington area economy is doing now that Reagan Airport has reopened.
John Boardman, executive secretary and treasurer for Local 25, a union representing hotel and restaurant workers, said it may take as long as 18 months for the industry to get back on its feet.
"For the past four weeks we've been closed, we were devastated," Mr. Boardman said during a roundtable discussion yesterday on the local economy, which was hosted by D.C. Council member David Catania, a Republican.
He said hotels expect to be at between 30 percent and 50 percent capacity through the end of the year.
"We'll be doing really well if we hit 55 percent [capacity]," Mr. Boardman said.
At least 40 percent of the people working in the hospitality industry have been laid off.
"I hope a year from today, I can eat my words, Mr. Boardman said.
Bob Peck, the president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, said the closings greatly affected the local economy, as 25 percent of all travel to the District is through Reagan Airport.
"By keeping the airport closed, we gave the message that we weren't an open city, and even that we weren't safe," he said.
Though the terrorist attacks caused alarm for shareholders and investors on Wall Street, Mr. Peck said there was no reason to believe that the city would not rebound in the long run.
"We saw this weekend, when America attacked back, we didn't see any slacking off in the stock market, or in consumer spending," he said. "People are getting used to the new risk in their lives."
The terminals at Reagan Airport are also starting to fill up again, according to Jonathan Gaffney, vice president of communications for the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. He said the plane loads are reaching close to 70 percent capacity.
Bill Hanbury, president of the Washington Convention and Tourism Corp., said that traditionally, visitors to the District spend about $285 per day, on lodging, food, recreation and other activities. The number of people spending has significantly dropped.
"In the fall of 2000, people visiting the area were spending about $5.9 million. This fall, they're only spending about $3.3 million. D.C. is losing about $2.5 million per day."
He figured that the local economy would stand to lose about $232 million in total this year. "We're not out of the woods yet by any stretch of the imagination," he said.
Many local area businesses are hoping a "Tourist in Your Own Town" program the city has set up will add much needed revenue. Over this weekend, Metro will allow passengers to ride for free, so they can access the downtown area shops and restaurants.
Staff writer Kate Royce contributed to this report.

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