Destination DC Honored with DMAI’s Destination Marketing Humanitarian Award

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) has honored Destination DC with the Destination Marketing Humanitarian Award. This prestigious award is given to a destination marketing organization (DMO) that demonstrates significant leadership and support of its community. 

Destination DC was recognized for its efforts to enrich the lives of low-income students through inspirational travel experiences and educational opportunities to cultivate the next generation of hospitality industry professionals through the American Experience Foundation (AEF), its 501(c)3 charity. 

“Travel and tourism supported 284 million jobs in 2015, an increase of 7.2 million, which means it now supports, directly and indirectly, 1 in 11 jobs on the planet,” said Don Welsh, President and CEO of DMAI. “As the industry continues to grow, it will require more people to fill the new jobs created by this growth. These new jobs will require a varied skillset across many different backgrounds. Destination DC’s work through the AEF provides local youth with a wonderful introduction to the benefits of travel, professional exposure to the tourism and hospitality industries, and a life-long appreciation for the history and culture of Washington, DC.”

AEF kindles students’ interest in travel and careers in hospitality and offers students a unique view to all that Washington, DC has to offer them. By offering free field trips to low income 8th graders from DC and across the nation, the foundation bridges a gap for students who may have never visited a museum or national park due to lack of resources and funding. AEF awards $2,500 scholarships to DC public high school hospitality academy students who wish to pursue continued education toward careers in hospitality, and works with students to award industry focused internships and mentorships.

“Whether it’s a field trip to the nation’s capital or a scholarship to pursue a career, we’re proud to show students the importance of travel and the hospitality industry,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Tourism supports nearly 75,000 jobs in Washington, DC alone, and the foundation inspires young people with real life experiences and opportunities.”    

AEF is supported by partners and sponsors including American Airlines, Big Bus Tours and the International Spy Museum. For more information, visit