- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Will out-of-towners be traveling to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas?

You bet. And if travel experts are the prognosticators they profess to be, the attractions of D.C. await the arrival of tourists — whether they’re hitting the town for a comedy show, the Smithsonian exhibits or a faith-based holiday event at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception or another house of worship.

The city has a lot of making up to do since clamping down on activities because of the pandemic.

Just look at what the nation’s capital is trying to overcome, no matter how much money President Biden throws in the air and no matter how many digits progressives put on the line.

• In 2018, visitors in the tourism and entertainment sectors spent $7.8 billion in D.C. The city welcomed 22.8 visitors, 2 million of them from overseas. According to Destination DC, the District generates much of its economic development through tourism, conventions and meetings.

• 2019 data showed that visitation created $896 million in local taxes for the District (up 5.4% over 2018). If tourism did not exist in Washington, authorities in the city would need to collect an average of $2,920 more in taxes from each of the 307,000 D.C. households in order to maintain the current level of tax receipts.

Go ahead and imagine how low those numbers were in 2020 and how pitiful those tax receipts were from:

• Eateries, watering holes, liquor stores and food trucks.

• Hotels, motels and Holiday Inns.

• Grocers, supermarkets and 7-Elevens — and big box retailers.

Now that the District has “reopened,” allowing gym rats to tend to themselves and schoolchildren to return to classrooms, bean counters and politicians are back in stride, too. Political wannabes need to figure out how to fill public coffers and line their pockets for elections in 2022.

So rest assured. You’ll be able to make it to grandma’s house, though it might be by Amtrak or by car.

At least you aren’t clamped down because of government fiat — as of yet, anyway.

Safe travels and gobble, gobble.

• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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