WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Business owners in the District of Columbia have been looking forward to inauguration week for months, as the festivities typically bring in a large economic boom for the city. However, this year’s inauguration is very different from years past.
Instead of thousands booking up hotel space and spending money in the city, there are businesses boarded up and a law enforcement presence that is unprecedented. “The unfortunate circumstances tied to the riot on January 6 changed the dynamic, where the city is on total lockdown,” said Elliott Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Destination D.C. Adding in the COVID-19 pandemic, the local economy is taking a major hit.
Ferguson said, “The reality for our industry is we’re down $5,000,000,000 since the pandemic began.” With the vaccine now being offered and the number of free, outdoor events the District typically has to offer, Destination D.C. was looking forward to kicking off an economic comeback with inauguration week.
Historically, the city could expect upwards of $800,000,000 coming in from hotel taxes alone, but now that’s off the table, turning heads to a later date for an economic breakthrough. Ferguson said, “We’re looking at the summertime as an opportunity to rebound. If people are getting vaccinated, if consumer confidence is there if we’re able to do indoor dining and more of the attractions tied to coming to Washington open, then that’s a step in the right direction.”
Destination D.C. will have the numbers from hotels across the District at the end of the week, which will give a full picture of how the city is impacted by the loss in revenue.