D.C. fights 'most-expensive' tag

April 8, 2005 at 11:43 AM

WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- District of Columbia tourism officials are disputing a recent report about the relative high cost of visiting the capital of the United States.

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of AAA issued a news release last month claiming a family of four could expect to have to pay an average of $441 a day for food and lodging in Washington. D.C. officials claim not all the free attractions the city features were taken into account, USA Today reported Friday.

AAA told the newspaper it was standing by it's contention that a hotel room in the District of Columbia cost, on average, $286.28 and food for four people would cost about $150, plus incidentals.

John Townsend, of AAA Mid-Atlantic, told USA Today, "What we were saying, which drove (D.C. tourism officials) to distraction, is, 'Hey don't stay in the District because it will be more expensive.'" AAA suggested visitors stay in the D.C. suburbs to save money.

Smith Travel Research showed that Washington does indeed have the highest hotel rates, USA Today said. D.C. rooms averaged $181.84 by STR's survey, compared to $181.20 a night in runner-up New York.

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