Washington D.C. tourism report shows 17.4 million visitors to D.C. in 2013

(WJLA) - In this town, cameras rarely get a break, with everyone trying to get a glimpse of the District’s famous landmarks.

From Hagerstown, Stanley Horner brought his two kids, Aamani and Eddie.

"Every time you come down and visit, they have different displays and stuff, so it's endless," he says.

On Tuesday, Destination D.C. – the city’s marketing arm – called 2013 another record-breaking year. It says that last year, D.C. had more than 17 million domestic visitors – up three-percent from the previous year.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who grew up in this city, has witnessed the city’s transformation:

"Not too many years ago, it was scarred from the riots. There were people who didn't want to come here, there were people who were afraid of even going into downtown because of the crime activity. Those days are all behind us."

Tourism is said to be the second biggest industry in D.C., which has certainly helped all kinds of companies – such as Big Bus Tours. Washington is where they make the most money.

"We consistently amount 25 to 30, 30ish-percent growth year-on-year," says Chris Crompton, Big Bus Tour Regional Director.

Destination D.C. officials say that in 2013, visitors spent more than $6.5 billion while here in the District. That’s up eight-percent from the prior year.

City officials are still waiting on numbers regarding international visitors, which is a major focus right now for good reason:

"From an economic perspective, the international visitor spends more, they stay longer," says Destination D.C. President, Elliot Ferguson.

While on a break to look at a map, we spoke with this French couple about their decision to come visit – a first for them.

"I think it's very interesting to see the Capitol, to see how democracy works in America...a little different from France," says the female visitor.

She admits the fascination could also be partly because of Hollywood and the movies – or in our case, shows like “House of Cards.”

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