Despite Government Shutdown, Washington, D.C. is Open for Business

January 23, 2019

With the U.S. government shutdown still in effect — and stretched longer than any other in history — many association meeting planners and trade show organizers are concerned about how this might impact their events.

Destination DC has been actively campaigning to let the world know that the city is open for business and ready to welcome both events and leisure travelers.

The “DC is Open” campaign was first launched during a previous shutdown in October 2013, and has been redeployed to help visitors navigate the city.

While the Smithsonian museums, National Zoo, National Gallery of Art and National Archives are closed, there are plenty of other great options for activities, according to Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.

“While DC has always been known for its monuments, museums and memorials, the reality is the city has even more to offer throughout its various neighborhoods that remain open during a government shutdown,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great time to find deals on hotels and attractions.”

He recommends activities such as watching a hockey or basketball game, seeing a show in one of D.C.’s many theaters and exploring the city’s Michelin-rated dining scene.

According to Ferguson, no events have been impacted by the shutdown thus far; it helps that January is not peak convention or tourism season for the city. Destination DC has been in constant communication with planners who are hosting events here this month to make sure they have all the information they need. 

For example, the American Physical Therapy Association is holding its Combined Sections Meeting this week, Jan. 23-26, anticipating about 16,000 attendees — only a thousand less than New Orleans last year, which was a record attendance. APTA will not be affected by the government shutdown. 

Similarly, the Transportation Research Board held its annual meeting from Jan. 13–17 with over 5,000 rooms on peak and approximately 5,000 attendees. It was unaffected by the government shutdown.

For any planners who may have upcoming activities booked at venues affected by the shutdown, Destination DC can help.  

“If a planner was utilizing a museum funded by the federal government, we will facilitate other options, such as new venues at The Wharf or the Newseum,” Ferguson said.

Planners and prospective visitors can find real-time updates and shutdown deals here, or follow the hashtag #DCisOpen on Destination DC’s social media channels.

 

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