Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: November/December 2017
Elliott Ferguson: A Leader For Our Times
By: Victoria Head

With its amazing American history, Washington, DC remains at the forefront of America's destinations of choice.  Washington DC is known for some of the greatest accommodations and activities for all types of visitors.  There are a variety of cultural events, museums and eateries for everyone to enjoy.  Elliot Ferguson has been at the pinnacle of this great destination for the past 16 years, serving as the President and CEO of Destination DC since 2009.  Prior to Destination DC, Ferguson served at the Atlanta CVB as the V.P. of Convention Sales and Services and then at the Savannah CVB as the director of Sales.  Now Ferguson spearheads the promotion and marketing of this convention, domestic and international hot spot, which is Destination DC. 

Ferguson notes there are extraordinary tourism developments taking place in Washington DC; one being the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture, which just had its one year anniversary in September, 2017.  In its first year, the museum welcomed over three million visitors.  "This museum is one of the new additions to the Smithsonian that people all around the globe should experience as they plan their trips to Washington DC," states Ferguson.  "The reaction to the museum is incredible as in the past year, we have had double the daily visitors than we originally expected and it has not slowed down.  In order to accommodate our attendees, it is important to know that visitors must go online in advance to coming to the museum; online they can order their tickets for free, in accordance to their travel dates."

The Museum of the Bible is opening in the fall of 2017 and will also be free of charge to the public.  This museum will be a Hi-tech look at one of the world's most influential books.  The state-of-the-art building will have 430,000 sq. ft. dedicated to the bible; a great way to learn all one never knew about its history.  Just three blocks south of the United States Capital, the building will feature a grand entranceway of 40-ft. high bronze doors; these doors will be a re-creation of the printing bed of the first page of Genesis from the Gutenberg bible.  There is also a new 472-seat World Stage Theater.

Ferguson further notes "African-American travel is an extremely important market to Washington DC.  If you look at all aspects of visitation based on economic impact, African-American travel is very important to them.  Also Washington DC's African-American history as a region, lends itself to the African-American visitor through its communities, infrastructure and array of things to do.

Washington DC is proud to offer all visitors, a plentiful experience in African-American history through visiting the Fredrick Douglas House, as well as the Anacostia Museum, which is also a Smithsonian, as well as free of charge.  There's also the Shaw neighborhood near Howard University and the Convention Center.  Highly recommended is a great sandwich shop in the neighborhood owned by Marjorie Meek Bradley called Smoked and Stacked.  This neighborhood is also home to bistros and cocktail bars like the Columbia Room, as well as the high-end Michelin rated establishments such as the modern American Kinship.

With great new developments, the Southwest Waterfront is reestablishing Washington, DC, as a waterfront city and destination.  This iconic setting is bolstered up by its recent $2.5 billion, mile-long development from the National Mall and along the Potomac River.  This vibrant stretch of waterfront is coming to life with three new hotels - The Canopy by Hilton (175 rooms) with a 10th floor rooftop lounge; The Hyatt House (237 residential-style rooms with 2 meeting rooms and terraces and the Intercontinental (278 luxury rooms) with a 5,300 sq. ft. waterside ballroom.  There are also new restaurants, retailers, 4 public rentable piers and the new Anthem…a concert venue that holds 6,000.  In addition, the Wharf's vibrant culture and monumental views only add to its charm.  Residents and travelers enjoy the waterfront with free kayak and paddleboard launch, sailing center, ferry to East Potomac Park, water taxi service to area attractions and sightseeing cruises.

Along with his duties at Destination DC, Ferguson dedicates his time to other associations specific to the travel industry.  For the past eight years he has served on the board of many local organizations, including the U.S. Travel Association as vice chair and also works on the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the Department of Commerce.  When not working, Ferguson notes that he likes outdoor activities and loves to play tennis.  He and his wife Telesa, who also works in the travel industry as the V.P. of sales for Kimpton Hotels worldwide, greatly enjoy traveling.  When they're not admiring the newest additions of travel in Washington DC, the couple are great fans of Santorini, Greece and train rides.  It is their desire to take a train across the United States, from the east coast to the west coast, one day soon.

For additional information concerning meetings and travel in Washington DC, be advised that you can always visit