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We certainly hope that it is not the intent of Congress to destroy numerous carriers who have authority to provide sightseeing service, who have buses, and who have experience in the sightseeing business.
We respectfully request that Section 5 be deleted from the legislation to create a National Visitors Center. Sincerely yours,
GEORGE L. KRAUSSÉ, President.
Washington, D.C., September 13, 1967.
DEAR MR. FALLON : Downtown Progress, the National Capital Downtown Committee, Inc., is pleased to express its enthusiastic support for H.R. 12603, the “National Visitor Center Act of 1967.” Our Organization, formed by civic and business leaders in the Washington area, has had a strong interest in the subject of visitors to Washington since we began activities in 1960, and we have developed a great deal of useful information about visitors to the Nation's Capital and about facilities to meet the needs of visitors.
The “Visitor Study : Visitor Economic Support and Facilities for Downtown Washington, D.C.” prepared under our direction by the Stanford Research Institute, and published in 1961, was the first comprehensive study ever undertaken of the volumes and characteristics of visitors to the Nation's Capital. It provided the background information necessary for estimating future visitor volumes, and for identifying facilities required to meet the needs of visitors. In 1963, we directed the preparation by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., of "A Planning Study for a National Visitor and Student Center in Washington, D.C.," which contained proposals for a program, and for the space requirements for a National Visitor and Student Center, and which suggested several possible locations, for such a center, based on objective locational criteria. For your information, we are enclosing copies of the highlights of each of these studies. We already have furnished to the National Visitor Center Study Commission copies of the full report by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc.
In the preparation of the National Visitor and Student Center study, we were assisted by an advisory committee with representatives from the National Park Service, the United States Civil Service Commission, the United States Travel Service, and the Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau, and with observers from the National Capital Planning Commission. We met, as well, with representatives of a number of private organizations and public organizations interested in visitors to Washington, and the final report was benefited by this participation. In the reviews of the proposal that we have conducted with many groups since that time, we have encountered widespread interest and support for the concept of a National Visitor Center.
On the basis of our studies and our contacts with interested organizations and individuals, we believe that the provisions of H.R. 12603 will permit the development of a National Visitor Center that will make it possible for millions of visitors to derive more meaning and enjoyment from their trips to the Nation's Capital in the future.
If we can be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to call on us at any time. Sincerely,
ROBERT C. BAKER, President.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE "PLANNING STUDY FOR A NATIONAL VISITOR AND STUDENT
CENTER IN WASHINGTON, D.C." (Summary of a study prepared for Downtown Progress, the National Capital
Downtown Committee, Inc., by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc.)
Concept of the National Visitor and Student Center The National Visitor and Student Center is proposed for Washington, D.C. to help meet the needs of the increasing millions of visitors and students who come to the Nation's Capital each year. On the basis of studies which have provided information about present and future visitor volumes and characteristics, and with the advice of government agencies and private organizations that now minister to the needs of visitors to Washington, the National Visitor and Student Center has been conceived as follows:
The Center would be a single building, with adjacent parking, designed and equipped to receive and orient visitors and students, to provide for their basic needs of comfort and convenience, and to assist them in moving expeditiously to other parts of the Nation's Capital, where interests generated by the programs in the Center would be satisfied in greater depth. The orientation programs would cover three themes :
I. History of the United States.
III. Development of the National's Capital. These themes would be presented by means of films, exhibits, and other media.
Structure and Site Requirements The Center would be designed to accommodate visitor volumes of 50,000 or more a day which would be achieved during the 1970's.
The size of a structure to house the theaters, exhibit space, and services for the expected attendance would be between 152,000 square feet and 200,000 square feet, with adjacent parking facilities to provide for an ultimate capacity of 4,000 automobiles. With multilevel construction a site of at least 7.5 acres would be required.
Proposed Locations Two desirable locations for this Center, determined by detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis, would be:
1. At Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues, adjacent to the proposed Center Leg Freeway; 2. Union Station.
Estimated Costs The cost of a new structure and site for the National Visitor and Student Center is estimated at $12 million.
The cost of the required parking structures and site estimated at $13 million. This cost could be amortized from parking revenues.
Thus, the total initial capital outlay required might be about $25 million of which $12 million would not be subject to amortization.
These costs would increase, of course, if special monumental architecture is specified, or if additional open land is desired around the Center.
Means of Accomplishment The National Park Service would be an appropriate agency to assume responsibility for the establishment and the operation of the Center. Also, an Advisory Commission with members drawn from appropriate public agencies and private organizations should be appointed to provided policy guidance with respect to programs and operations.
Following consultation with members of the Congress and with interested public agency representatives, it is recommended that legislation be introduced to establish the National Visitor and Student Center. The legislation should provide for the necessary authorization and appropriations for the National Visitor and Student Center based on the concept developed in this report, and for the designation of the operating agency, the appointment of an Advisory Commission, site acquisition, and the design and construction of the Center. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE “VISITOR STUDY: VISITOR ECONOMIC SUPPORT AND FACILITIES
FOR DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON, D.C.” 1 (A study prepared for Downtown Progress by Stanford Research Institute)
Coverage of the Study 1. Volume and characteristics of visitors to the Washington Metropolitan Area
in 1960. 2. Expenditures of visitors in the Washington Metropolitan Area and in Down
town in 1960. 3. Volume of visitors to the Washington Metropolitan Area in 1970 and in 1980. 4. Expenditures of visitors in the Washington Metropolitan Area and in Down
town in 1980. 5. Discussion of possible facilities for visitors to Washington. 6. Technical appendices: Techniques for estimating and projecting visitor volumes and expenditures.
Selected Findings and Forecasts Data are presented on number of visitors, purpose of trip, mode of travel, season of trip, length of stay, type of lodging, number in party, place of origin, and expenditures in the Washington area and in Downtown, from which the following significant findings and forecasts have been selected : 1960 findings
Volume.-15.4 million people from outside of the Washington Metropolitan Area visited the Washington area in 1960. Of this total, 5.6 million stayed one night or more and 9.8 million stopped for at least four hours but did not stay overnight.
Purpose. Of the 15.4 million total, 42.9% came for pleasure, 30.0% for business, 20.5% combined business and pleasure, 2.4% for conventions, and 4.2% in groups, mostly students.
Mode.—Of the 15.4 million visitors, 75.4% came by automobile, 8.1% by air, 7.2% by rail, 5.1% by scheduled bus, and 4.2% in chartered buses. Of the 5.6 million overnight visitors, 64% came by automobile; of the 9.8 million less-thanone-day visitors, 82% came by automobile.
Season. The seasonal variation showed 29.7% in the spring, 31.4% in the summer, 20.8% in the fall, and 18.1% in the winter.
Origin.-As for place of origin, 65.9% came from the area within 250 miles of Washington, 14.4% from the 250 to 499 mile ring, 12.7% from the 500 to 999 mile ring, and 7.0% came from more than 1,000 miles away.
Lodging.–Of the 5.6 million overnight visitors, 68% stayed in hotels, motels and rooming houses and 32% stayed with friends and relatives. Of those who stayed in commercial lodging places, 20.2%, or 773,810 visitors, stayed in Downtown. Downtown contained 5,320 visitor rooms in 1960, 23.7% of the total of 22,477 "acceptable" visitor rooms in the Washington Metropolitan Area. 1970 and 1980 visitor volumes
In 1970, 24.0 million visitors will come to the Washington area. Of these, 8.8 million will stay one night or more and 15.2 million will stay for less than 1 day.
In 1980, 35.0 million visitors will come to the Washington area. Of these, 13.0 million will stay one night or more and 22.0 million will stay for less than a day.
1 Downtown is bounded generally by Pennsylvania Avenue, 15th Street, M Street, and North Capitol Street, Northwest.
1960 visitor eppenditures
The expenditures of visitors in the Washington Metropolitan Area in 1960 was estimated as follows:
121.2 percent of total visitor expenditures in the Washington metropolitan area.
Visitors who stayed at least one night in the area spent an average of $15.13 per person per day.
Visitors who stopped but did not stay overnight spent an average of $4.86 per person per day.
The average expenditure for all visitors was $11.59 per person per day. 1980 visitor expenditures
Visitors to the Washington Metropolitan Area in 1980 will spend $842 million compared with $329 million in 1960, distributed as follows:
$197 Food and drink.
If Downtown maintains the same share of total expenditures in 1980 as it had in 1960, visitor expenditures in Downtown will distributed as follows:
$32.7 Food and drink.
This does not include expenditures for transportation, entertainment, and sightseeing.
Facilities for Visitors A wide variety of facilities for visitors which might be located Downtown were considered, and thirteen facilities were evaluated on the basis of criteria which included : the ability to attract visitors to the area, construction costs, expenditures generated per dollar of cost, dependence on public financing, competition with facilities in other parts of the Metropolitan Area, land requirements, and compatibility with the image of Washington.
The facilities evaluated were: Visitor Center, Downtown Hotels and Motor Hotels, Student Center, Sports Arena and Exhibit Hall, Theme Park, Bowling Alley, Trade Center, Merchandise Mart, Public Ice Rink, Amusement Park, Convention Hall, Science Center, Cultural Center.
Of these, the three considered most appropriate for early location in Downtown are the Visitor Center, additional Hotels and Motor Hotels, and a Student Center. Visitor Center and Student Center
Using the 1960 visitor volume estimates as a base, it was estimated that the Visitor Center would have served 1.8 million visitors and the Student Center would have served 400,000 visitors of the total of 15.4 million people who visited the Metropolitan Area in 1960. As the volume of visitors to Washington continues to increase, the potential attendance for these proposed facilities will increase. Dorontown hotels and motor hotels
The extent of development of new hotels and motor hotels in Downtown will depend upon the interest of developers and the attractiveness of the Downtown environment for these facilities. If Downtown continues to maintain the same share of the Metropolitan Area supply of hotel and motor hotel rooms that it had in 1960, there will be 5,900 rooms for visitors added to the Downtown supply by 1980. Other facilities
A new large Convention Hall would attract to Washington 20,000 to 30,000 convention visitors a year who do not now come to Washington because of the lack of a large meeting place. f NOTE.—A Theme Park would not be a good prospect for location within Downtown because of excessive land requirements, some 75 to 90 acres.
(The other facilities would serve the local population to a large extent and would serve visitors to a lesser extent.)