Austrian-based health and wellness resort brand, Therme, announced a new park to open in the nation’s capital. The news of this comes after a press conference in which D.C. officials spoke about the rates of tourism in the city in 2022.
Approximately 21 million domestic tourists traveled to Washington D.C. in 2022.
Tourism is a massive part of Washington D.C.’s economy. The city relies on tourists coming and going, especially after the tourism decline that occurred during 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mayor Muriel Bowser has previously announced a “Comeback Plan” for the city, which documents her plans to build D.C.’s economy back up.
Therme currently has health and wellness spas and resorts in Romania and Germany. At the same time that they have the proposed D.C. location, they also are proposing one in Toronto, Canada. The brand currently has an agreement with D.C. in which they will have a 12-month process to just search for the site of the facility. During this time, they must look only within the bounds of the District of Columbia. This means that during their 12-month search, they cannot look for a build site in neighboring Virginia or Maryland.
The size of the facility is expected to be about 450,000 to 600,000 square feet.
An executive at Therme, Omar Toro-Vaca, described the resort as “an urban oasis housed in extraordinary architecture and beautiful surroundings,” while calling their concept the “next-generation waterpark.” Officials expect the resort to further Washington D.C.’s already large draw for tourists.
While the city is still suffering from low numbers with regard to international tourism, it has gone up to 91% of the numbers seen for domestic tourism pre-pandemic. With the introduction of the Therme resort, Bowser seeks to bring that number up to exceed the pre-pandemic rates and grow the international travel numbers.
Not only is the Therme resort expected to draw a large crowd to the area, but officials also anticipate it creating a large number of jobs. The construction of the site estimates to be a 5,000-person job while the actual running of the resort will likely require 700 permanent people. Over the next 25 years, officials expect a $1.1 billion increase in tax revenue.
The building and operation of the park will greatly help Mayor Bowser’s plan in growing the economy. Bowser spoke on the importance of tourism in the city, saying,
“We know that tourism is fun, and we of course love having visitors. But it is also a critical part of the D.C. economy. It is how people get jobs… and live the American dream. It is how we invest in schools and public safety and transportation. And that is why the recovery of tourism is so key to the District’s recovery. When I see our restaurants and hotels teeming with people, we know our city is recovering.”