DC Breaks Tourism Record: Nearly 18 Million Visited Washington In 2011

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credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Tourists flocked to Washington in record numbers last year. The nation’s capital welcomed a record 17.9 million visitors in 2011, surpassing a previous record of 17.4 million set in 2000 before the 9/11 attacks.

Statistics released Tuesday by the tourism bureau Destination D.C. show a 4.1 percent increase in international tourism in 2011, totaling 1.8 million visitors. Washington also counted 16.1 million domestic visitors — a 3.7 percent increase over 2010.

International tourism figures are based on the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries statistics.

Figures show visitor spending grew last year by more than 6 percent to reach $6 billion in 2011. Destination D.C. says more than half the city’s sales tax revenue is generated by visitor spending. That means without that revenue, each Washington household would pay about $2,400 more in annual taxes.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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