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New Ad Promotes Washington Tourism

June 26, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The nation’s capital is issuing a musical invitation to visitors.

A new television advertisement opens with popular vocalist _ and former Washington schoolteacher _ Roberta Flack singing George and Ira Gershwin’s ``Of Thee I Sing″ in front of the Capitol.

Joining in from various Washington locations are first lady Laura Bush, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.

Darrell Green of the Washington Redskins and soccer player Mia Hamm of the Washington Freedom are also seen in the commercial, along with Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

Although tourism in Washington has rebounded since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the ad campaign, which debuted Wednesday, is the latest effort to spark a resurgence in convention and leisure travel to the city.

``People are already starting to come back, I think this will help build on the momentum,″ said Jeff Cooney, producer of the spots.

The Washington Convention and Tourism Corp. has no plans to buy commercial time locally or nationally, said William Hanbury, the group’s president. Instead, it hopes broadcasters will run the ads as public service announcements _ free _ during prime time periods, when viewership is high.

According to Hanbury, hotel occupancy rates are running at about 90 percent locally, and the area’s tourism information Web site gets about 300,000 visitors per month.

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On the Net:

Washington Convention and Tourism Corp.: http://www.washington.org

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