Destination DC, the official convention and tourism corporation for America’s capital, announced the selection of Washington, D.C. as a five-year host of Otakon, a national convention for anime, live action role-playing events, manga, video games and Asian pop culture enthusiasts. Washington, D.C. was selected over Baltimore, Md., site of Otakon’s annual convention since 1999.
More than 30,000 visitors are expected to attend the three-day conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. in 2017-2021. The convention is expected to generate $25 million in annual revenue for the District.
“Otakon will bring thousands of devotees of Japanese pop culture to Washington, D.C. during August when more convention business is needed. Bringing Otakon to the District shows the focus of our convention sales team to strategically book conventions throughout the year,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO, Destination DC. “Attendees will benefit from the value that Washington, DC offers summertime consumers, with 30-plus free museums and other major attractions.”
Attendees of Otakon will experience meet-and-greets with leading film and video game directors, international animators and voice actors. The conference boasts a niche marketplace for collectors and artists, an eye-popping creative costume contest as well as pop concerts, a street fair and media premieres. Participants in the world’s largest live action role-playing (LARP) game, an Otakon tradition, should delight in the convention center’s 703,000-square feet of exhibition space. Otakon is contracted to take place on a three-day weekend at either the end of July or early August, traditional need periods for the city. Organizers expect attendees to stay more than two nights and explore the city’s neighborhoods.
“This is a great win for Washington, D.C. and a prime example of how the entire hospitality community worked together to secure a premier customer and tap into a new audience for our great city,” explained Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO, Events DC. “As the official convention and sports authority for the District, we look forward to providing customer service and a world-class facility while also encouraging Otakon conventioneers to get out and explore the city during their stay.”
An established cultural phenomenon, Otakon marked its 20th anniversary in Baltimore, Aug. 9-11.