Long a center of association and government organizations and meetings, Washington, D.C., is logging into the technology sector with a push to draw more tech meetings to the nation’s capital.
“There’s such opportunity for us in the tech segment,” said Elliott Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC (DDC). “One of the key things we’re trying to focus on is how we try to leverage the city. The benefit we have is going to the nation’s capital, and perhaps tie it in to the lobbying offices here in D.C.”
Ferguson added that one popular option high-tech companies could take advantage is offering a Senate Day on Capitol Hill—a popular feature with a variety of groups that meet in Washington—in which groups strategize on specific topics to discuss with their representatives, including how many jobs in each senator’s state are tech-related.
“It’s like a classroom environment, and we engage in the specific things the congress people are engaged in,” Ferguson said of the learning and engagement opportunity.
The Greater D.C. area boasts nearly 200,000 high-tech employees and 27,000 cybersecurity jobs, along with more than 1,000 startups and five of the top investors in early startup tech and biotech companies, according to DDC.
The move comes as some of the high-tech meetings business traditional destinations such as San Francisco have enjoyed is on the wane, with many choosing to hold their large meetings and users conferences to Silicon Valley.
Ferguson said D.C.’s model could compete with destinations such as North Carolina’s Research Triangle, and the DMO will initially focus on the region’s cluster of tech companies, assets, educational offerings and employment opportunities.