WASHINGTON — The District will host nearly two dozen citywide conventions this year — those that take up multiple hotels and venues — including the city’s first time ever hosting a massive anime convention called Otakon.
Otakon is a three day convention celebrating Japanese pop culture with a big emphasis on anime, and many of the thousands of attendees come in costume. It is one of the longest running anime conventions in the U.S.
Baltimore has hosted the Otakon convention since 1999. Organizers say it’s moving to D.C. because it has outgrown Baltimore.
The convention, which runs Aug. 11-13 comes at a good time for the District.
“Otakon is important because of the time of the year it takes place. There are certain needs periods where there are just fewer conventions taking place because of either the climate or time of year,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC told WTOP.
“Us hosting that in Washington over a need period is a big deal because it means economic impact in Washington when we traditionally don’t have many conventions,” he said.
Other large events in D.C. this year include conventions for Microsoft and the American College of Cardiology, but there are hundreds of smaller conventions and conferences throughout the year as well.
In fact, 8.4 million of last year’s 20 million domestic visitors in D.C. were business travelers. And they spend more than regular tourists.
“When you’re traveling on business, you’re using an expense account and therefore are not as frugal with the budget than if you were going on personal travel, so from an economic standpoint we really value that segment of travelers,” Ferguson said.
The District will host the U.S. Travel Association’s annual IPW trade show June 3 through 7, an event expected to draw 6,000 travel trade buyers, travel journalists and other professionals in the travel industry, a chance for the District to further showcase itself to the travel industry.
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