Mayor Marion Barry yesterday announced formation of a 21-member committee headed by attorney R. Robert Linowes to develop a "unified, high-quality promotional and marketing plan" to push tourism in the District.
"This effort, is absolutely critical to our plans to expand city revenue and increase the number of jobs in the District," Barry said in a press conference. "After government, tourism is our most important industry."
Barry said that the kind of comprehensive plan envisioned by the committee can make a "critical difference" to the city, which currently attracts as many as 8 million tourists a year. But the committee will begin its work with funding on only $100,000 -- far less than the amounts spent in many other cities to attract tourism.
Linowes said the initial funding was "seed money," much of which will pay for a study of Washington tourism to be compiled by Grant and Associates, Opinion Research Corp. and the University of the District of Columbia.
Linowes said the committee will try to erase the image of Washington as a city of "monuments and bureaucrats" and promote instead the cosmopolitan flavor of the District. The program also will seek to counter the image of the city as a hotbed of crime, he said.
In addition to Linowes, the committee's membership includes:
Karen Hastie Williams, an attorney; Paul O'Neil, vice president of the Hotel Association of Washington; William J. Wright, chairman of the Taxicab Industry Group; Joseph H. Riley, chairman on National Savings and Trust Co.; R. L. Browning of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington; Edward MacMillan, managing partner of the International Corcoran Gallery of Art; Ann R. Kinney, executive assistant for the D.C. Office of Business and Economic Development; Alan Grip, Barry's press spokesman; Vi Curtis Hinton, former chairman of the D.C. arts commission; Ron Richardson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Hotel and Restaurant Employes Union, Local 25; Carlton Jones, president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; John Quackenbush, secretary-treasurer of the Washington Building and Construction Trades Council; James P. Low, president of the American Society of Association Executives; Harold Bobys, managing partner of Alexander Grant and Co.; Maurice Cullinane, president of the Washington Convention and Visitors Association, and former D.C. police chief; Max Berry, chairman of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp.; Edward Singletary, chairman of the Washington Convention Center board of directors; James O'Brien, vice president of Coldwell Banker; and George Berklacy, spokesman for the National Park Service.