- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2002

Retail & Hospitality

The number of visitors to Washington increased slightly last year, despite the September 11 terrorist attacks and the shaky economy. However, business travel and the amount of money spent by visitors decreased.
In 2001, the city hosted an estimated 18.1 million domestic visitors a 2.8 percent increase in overall travel from 2000, according to the Travel Industry Association of America's Travelscope Report. The report does not include international travelers.
A significant increase in the beginning of the year offset negative effects on the local tourism industry in the fourth quarter, said the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corp.
It was the District's first increase in overall domestic visitors since 1998, when the city welcomed 19.8 million visitors 1.5 million more than the previous year. The overall number of visitors dropped to 18.5 million in 1999 and 17.6 million in 2000.
"This is sound evidence that, in spite of the economic downturn, the American people continue to be drawn to our nation's capital," William A. Hanbury, WCTC's president and chief executive, said in a statement.
The business travel segment wasn't so lucky, with a 17 percent drop for the year from 2000 figures. The majority of that decline was after the September 11 terror attacks, when the city's business travel dropped by more than one-third.
The amount of money visitors spent was also down about 3 percent from the previous year, according to the report. The average amount spent per household was $467 compared with $480 in 2000.
About 28 percent of the visitors to Washington last year came from New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.


Retailers get TV time
Maryland retailers will get a chance to promote themselves on television, thanks to an advertising initiative from the Maryland Retailers Association.
The 30-second ads, which will encourage Maryland residents to shop locally this holiday season, are expected to run from mid-November to mid-December during the morning shows on Baltimore's WJZ-TV.
"We know people are shopping on the Internet and in catalogs," says Tom Saquella, the association's president. "We want to encourage people to shop locally."
Mr. Saquella says he hopes the message will resonate with Marylanders and help give recognition to smaller retailers with limited ad budgets.
"This enables our members to get their name out to a broader audience," Mr. Saquella says.
The first half of each ad will have a 15-second vignette promoting the state's stores with the tag line "ShopMaryland for the Holidays." The remaining 15 seconds will feature different retailers, who will pay $300 each to include their names and locations. Retailers also can pay nearly $4,000 to have the second half of a 30-second spot devoted exclusively to their store.
The Maryland Retailers Association has about 800 members. All of them will receive letters this week detailing the advertising initiative.


More retail news

Loews Cineplex will open a 14-screen theater in Georgetown this fall. The nearly 67,000-square-foot theater at 3111 K St. NW will have a total of 3,000 stadium-style seats.
American Eagle Outfitters is giving customers the chance to create one-of-a-kind wardrobes. The retailer has added a customization station to its Tysons Corner Center store equipped with stencils and distressing tools that can give the retailer's clothing a hip, vintage look.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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