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Washington D.C. Group Travel Survey Results

March 17, 2022

In fall of 2021, over 130 U.S.-based tour operators who frequent Washington D.C. took part in a survey answering questions about travel changes in the past two years and expectations for the year ahead.

We’ve rounded up a few key highlights to come out of the data, collected by Destination D.C., here.

  • Only a small number, (4%) of operators had no tours planned within the U.S. for spring 2022. Some 47% of operators expected 1-10 tours, and the rest expected more.
  • For D.C. specifically, travel seems to have recovered back to 2019 numbers, with roughly the same number of operators planning trips for spring and summer 2022 as had previously operated trips in 2019. That means 85% of operators expected to operate trips in D.C. this spring, and 57% expect trips in summer.
  • Of all the tours planned for D.C., 59% are student trips, 27% are “boomer” trips, and 14% are other.
  • The length of trips has very slightly shifted away from longer trips toward three-day stays.
  • The big thematic additions for these trips include Black history, diversity/social justice, HBCUs, and religious attractions.
  • When asked about current tour challenges, the largest concerns were attraction availability/policies, group dining availability, and motorcoach challenges.
  • When asked if operators would “bring groups to locations who require proof of vaccination or a negative test,” 38% said they would avoid those places, 45% said they would neither seek nor avoid, and 17% said they actively seek those places.
  • The current “attraction” challenges are largely based around difficulty in obtaining group tickets and inconsistent group/COVID policies.
  • Most operators prefer attractions open before 10 a.m. to evening hours, and most prefer sit-down dining over grab and go.
  • Operators expect student groups will be significantly smaller for this year compared to pre-pandemic, with 100+ student groups dropping from 1/3 of trips to just 1/4. In comparison, trips with 21-40 people grew from 6% prepandemic to 19% now.
  • When asked how safe operators feel about bringing a student group to D.C. only 5% answered “not very safe” or “not safe at all,” with the rest feeling somewhat to extremely safe.

For more data, visit