WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Walter E. Washington Convention Center officially reopened and two locally-owned vendors now call it home. The grand opening is the next step as the Bowser administration works to bring tourism back to the District.
The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, John Falcicchio, said 2019 was a record year for tourism, bringing in 24 million visitors. Now that the city is back open after the pandemic, officials are focused on increasing tourism once again.
“We have been inviting people to come back and experience D.C., and it is always important to us that visitors are able to experience the real D.C. It doesn’t get more D.C. than Ben’s Chili Bowl or a whole shop filled with items made by D.C. creatives,” said Mayor Bowser. “Spread the word: D.C. is open, and so is our Convention Center.”
Inside of the convention center, there is a Shop Made in D.C. Store and Ben’s Chili Bowl open and operating.
Falcicchio said, “They can come to the Shop Made in D.C. Store in the convention center and buy a 202 Creates shirt or a Women Made shirt from one of our Ward 8 entrepreneurs and support not only our entrepreneurs but also the jobs they create.”
Officials anticipate these shops will see many customers in their grand opening month, with two conventions coming to the city in August.
Events D.C. President and Chief Executive Officer, Greg O’Dell, said, “We will have temperature checks, even though it may not be required (by the city.) For vaccinations, we will not require vaccination cards, but will require everyone to be masked up anyway.”
The new Ben’s Chili Bowl is located inside the new District Eats area at the Convention Center and will be open during all convention and show hours. Shop Made in D.C. is located at the entrance of the South building on L Street NW and will be open during all convention and show hours.