Patricia Washington, President & CEO - Visit Alexandria
Mar 21, 2023
On this episode of Where To Next, we take a virtual trip to Old Town Alexandria with Patricia Washington, President & CEO of Visit Alexandria. Named one of the Best Places To Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the US 2022 by Travel & Leisure, Old Town Alexandria is a premiere destination for travelers near and far. The Potomac River serves as a gorgeous backdrop and focal point to this bustling community, rich in history, art, cuisine, and more. When visiting Old Town Alexandria, strolling the King Street mile and checking out over 200 independently owned restaurants and boutiques is a MUST. And if you're looking for a hidden gem of an experience, take a "sweets crawl." Old Town Alexandria is known for their sweet treats so this is the perfect activity to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Patricia Washington is President & CEO of Visit Alexandria, the destination marketing organization for the City of Alexandria, Virginia, recognized by Travel + Leisure among the Best Places to Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the U.S. 2022 and voted a Condé Nast Traveler Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2022. Alexandria has ranked among the top 5 Best Small Cities for five consecutive years since the category was created in 2018.
Since arriving in 2012, Patricia has led two rebranding efforts, one in 2013 and one in March 2023. The latest rebrand reflects the progressive spirit of Alexandria as a destination for leisure and meetings with an evolving waterfront, independent dining and shopping scene, diverse neighborhoods, inclusive history, and more. Under Patricia’s leadership, Visit Alexandria launched four brand campaigns, including its “Best Kept Shh!” destination ad campaign; developing a robust national media relations effort; expanded video, photo, itinerary, and blog content; and increased digital and social media marketing. As a result of these efforts visitor spending, hotel occupancy, consumption tax revenues, media stories, and web visits have risen to record levels under her leadership.
Patricia is responsible for Visit Alexandria’s vision, culture, and data-driven content-first marketing strategy, which shines a light on Alexandria’s diverse and inclusive community. In collaboration with the City of Alexandria and the Office of Historic Alexandria, Visit Alexandria continues to expand the lens through which it frames African American history through new experiences like the waterfront African American Heritage Trail and expanded marketing to diverse audiences with a “Drop In” campaign launched in 2021, targeting Black travelers and featuring iconic and new travel experiences. In 2022, Patricia led Visit Alexandria’s “Expand Your Alexandria” campaign highlighting the diverse cultures and global cuisine throughout Alexandria’s neighborhoods beyond Old Town.
Patricia serves on the U.S. Travel Association’s Destination Advisory Council, the Alexandria Arts Alliance board, the Northern Virginia Tourism Partnership, and Heard, a nonprofit which provides arts services to underserved children and adults. Recent past boards include Alexandria Historic Resources Commission and the Torpedo Factory Art Center Board.
Before moving to Alexandria in 2012, Patricia worked for more than a decade as vice president of cultural tourism at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (now known as Visit Philadelphia) where she worked on major citywide history, music, art, neighborhood tourism, and outdoor recreation initiatives. Before entering the travel and tourism industry, Patricia worked in philanthropy as a program officer at the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia where she worked on Arts & Culture and Children, Youth & Families initiatives. Prior to that, Patricia served as an assistant city solicitor in the City of Philadelphia Law Department and as program director for the Painted Bride Art Center a multidisciplinary arts organization in Philadelphia.
Patricia has a JD and BFA from Howard University.