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DC businesses are banking on Trump's inauguration being as profitable as Obama's

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WATCH  |   While the country prepares for a new president, businesses are hoping to make big bucks off inaugural tourism.

Donald Trump's swearing in may not draw the record crowds President Obama's 2009 inauguration saw (1.8 million), but planners are still expecting 1 million visitors and protesters in the city on Jan. 20.

The event could even boost the local economy by $1.4 billion, according to a George Mason University study.  Whether you support Trump or not, you're going to spend money on food, lodging or even political swag.

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Political merchandise at the Washington Welcome Center. (Credit: Circa)

And this might just be the must-have memento you snag during the inauguration. 

If anything, it makes you do a double take.

And that's exactly what businesses across the country and specifically in the nation's capital will be trying to do as they vie for tourists' attention and money on inauguration weekend.

Cashing in on tourism

Despite what you think about Trump, businesses know a president's first go-around is better for sales than their second -- and they're looking to make a profit. Businesses like bars, hotels and retailers stand to benefit. The Trump International Hotel is already sold out.

But thanks to innovations like Uber and Airbnb, it might also be easier (and possibly cheaper, per Quartz) for visitors looking to make the trip.


The D.C. Metro (WMTA) is offering a limited edition $10 SmarTrip card commemorating the inauguration, which will give users unlimited rides on Inauguration Day. WMTA is also distributing, for free,  an inaugural SmarTrip sleeve with Trump's face on it.

Some D.C. eateries have pledged to donate their inaugural profits to charities like the Human Rights Campaign.

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Washington Welcome Center has temporarily rebranded itself as "Inauguration Headquarters." (Credit: Circa)

The Washington Welcome Center, a souvenir shop in the heart of downtown D.C., temporarily rebranded as "Inauguration Headquarters" is hoping for huge sales. 

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Trump bobbleheads at the Washington Welcome Center. (Credit: Circa)

"People come in and say, 'Let's go in there, they have everything.' Just because [of the] sign," Assistant Manager Johanna Mendez told Circa. 

Their best sellers? The Trump bobbleheads.

Political merchandise is a lucrative revenue stream for campaigns and retailers. Items like Trump bobbleheads could one day become collectors' items. 


Online memorabilia seller, Lori Ferber Collectibles, says sales have been "brisk" as well, but have started to see an uptick. "Collecting isn't just for the person who can spend $2,900 on an Abraham Lincoln Inauguration invitation. We also have buttons for sale for 99 cents," Co-owner Steve Ferber told Circa.

"That's the beauty of collecting, there is something for everyone."

Compared to Obama's first inauguration, sales for the Washington Welcome Center are down about 20 percent, but they expect sales to really ramp up as the crowds trickle in.

"This one has been a little slow. We're hoping it will pick up," Mendez said.

WATCH |  Donald Trump hasn't even taken office yet, but the president-elect has probably had an impact on your money.

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