Archives For Tourism

The Maryland House Travel Plaza serves Interstate 95 travelers in Harford County.

The Maryland House Travel Plaza serves Interstate 95 travelers in Harford County.

Good news for the State’s tourism industry: More Marylanders are expected to hit the roads this weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic announced Tuesday.

Nearly 728,000 Marylanders will travel at least 50 miles away from home this Labor Day holiday, AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates. That is a 1.2 percent increase from 2013 and the third-highest travel volume on record for the Labor Day holiday.

According to Ragina Cooper-Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic, the projected traffic increase reflects “Marylanders’ enthusiasm for travel.”

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Gov. Martin O’Malley presented on Tuesday $765,000 in matching grants to fourteen Maryland nonprofit and government entities in support of fifteen War of 1812 bicentennial projects.

“The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner are important chapters in our history as a state and as a nation,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I want to thank the grant recipient organizations for their commitment to telling this story and using these funds to invest in community revitalization, tourism development and job growth in Maryland.”

Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

Governor O’Malley and Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

The grants, supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds, will support capital improvement, visitor experience, programming and education projects that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout the State.

“From the kick off to this year’s Chesapeake Campaign in St. Mary’s County to the Bicentennial Living American Flag with 6,700 school children at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, these grants will bring the bicentennial to life in 2014,” said Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

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Book your hotel stay in Ocean City. Take the family camping at Deep Creek. Go shopping around the Inner Harbor.

Whether you realize it or not, your weekend getaways and sightseeing tours have a big impact on Maryland’s economy.

A new report, released Wednesday by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, an arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, shows that investment in the state’s tourism industry is resulting in significant growth.

According to the Fiscal Year 2013 Tourism Development Annual Report and Maryland tourism officials:

  • Maryland welcomed 35.4 million domestic visitors in 2012, up 2.9 percent from 2011.
  • Maryland tourists and travelers spent $14.9 billion on travel expenses in 2012, including local transportation, food and beverage, lodging, retail, air travel and entertainment.
  • Spending by visitors grew by 4.6 percent in 2012, and has grown more than 4 percent in each of the past three years.
  • The state’s tourism industry directly employed more than 135,000 Marylanders in 2012, with a payroll of $4.5 billion.
  • Visitation in 2012 was 30 percent greater than in 2007, when the state counted 27.2 million visitors. This growth was more than triple the national average increase in state visitors, 9.2 percent, over the same five-year period.
  • Every $1 spent in advertising by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development returns $160 dollars in visitor spending, more than $22 in state and local revenue and nearly $5 in state sales tax revenue.
  • The Maryland Comptroller’s office calculates that sales tax revenue from tourism spending generated $381.4 million in Fiscal Year 2013, up 1 percent from Fiscal Year 2012. Sales tax revenue from tourism has grown 31.4 percent since 2007.

Find the full report and findings here.

Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, explained her team’s growth strategy.

“For the past several years, we have focused our marketing efforts on the key feeder markets of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, including year-round communication through digital and traditional media, as well as consumer research to crystalize key messaging,” Amelia said in a statement.

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray lauded the tourism industry’s growth and its positive impact on jobs.

“Tourism has been and continues to be a powerful economic engine for Maryland,” Murray said in a statement. “More than 135,000 Marylanders were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2012, with a payroll of $4.5 billion. And the tourism industry not only creates and sustains jobs, it generates substantial tax revenue and business income.”

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

Executive Director of the Regional Economic and Studies Institute Dr. Daraius Irani shared his economic outlook.

With a projected increase in holiday shopping and a recovering housing market, Maryland’s economic outlook has multiple positive highlights, according to Regional Economic Studies Institute Executive Director Dr. Daraius Irani.

Irani presented RESI’s findings during the 2013 Economic Outlook Conference, the organization’s premier event, held at Towson University last week.

Maryland reached a milestone in August, regaining 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession—one of only 16 states to do so. Over the last year, statewide employment expanded 1.7 percent, the largest year-over-year growth rate since the start of the economic downturn five years ago. The professional and business services industry added 16,300 jobs to the economy over the last year, making it the state’s largest employment contributor, according to RESI.

Irani praised recent developments, including the planned Amazon facility in Southeast Baltimore, expected to create more than 1,000 full-time jobs, with wages at up to 30 percent more than the average retail job. “Not all of the jobs we create in our economy should require a Ph.D. or a masters degree. This presents some opportunities across the economic spectrum, as well as an excellent tuition reimbursement program to help workers pursue higher education,” he said.

Irani described the state’s housing market as “generally upbeat,” with home prices increasing by about $16,000 since the last year. Maryland building permits, which represent new construction, rose 12.9 percent between July and August, up 9.3 percent from the previous year.

He emphasized that recovery is ongoing nationally and at the state level and that overall consumer confidence historically remains low. He attributes much of the “lurch” in consumer confidence to party gridlock in Congress and the recent shutdown of the federal government. Still, RESI projects an increase in national holiday retail sales by 4 percent this year, welcome news for Maryland businesses that depend on a boost between November and December.

Irani light-heartedly added, “I encourage you all to go out and shop.”

Find a video of the presentation with additional data below:

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presents a proclamation during MEDA's fall conference.

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presents a proclamation during MEDA’s fall conference.

Looking to boost your community’s economy? Consider sprucing up the town’s welcome sign, organizing an outdoor farmers market or printing T-shirts with the town name on them.

These actions and more, shared during Tuesday’s Maryland Economic Development Association fall conference in Frederick, may not directly translate into new jobs, but the sense of place they create will help deliver sustainable long-term growth. Experts—ranging from a innovative mixed-use land developer to a social branding consultant—spoke on the importance of improving place to attract higher skilled workers, foster entrepreneurship and increase an area’s overall quality of life.

“Why would anyone invest in a city that doesn’t want to invest in itself?” asked keynote speaker Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute.

McMahon discussed the importance of basic aesthetics. “Every single day in America, people make decisions about where to live, where to work, where to retire, based almost entirely on what communities look like,” he said.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement said he hoped the backdrop of his city would help inspire fellow community leaders to devote resources to place making.

Developing Frederick’s unique character has been a conscious ongoing effort for the city, which boasts a growing selection of restaurants, outdoor markets and festivals, following a sort of “Mayberry theme,” McClement said.

“You’ve got to find that niche, that thing people would want to come see, whether it’s that hometown charm we have here in Frederick, or maybe the excitement of more urban aspects. You need to find what’s good for you, but we can share the example of building on what you have,” he said.

Keasha Haythe, vice president of MEDA and Director of Economic Development of Dorchester City, said she hoped the conference would inspire fellow MEDA members to improve the perception of their own communities.

“Creating a sense of place is extremely important to economic development because that is what the residents and the business community draw on. That’s how they attract new investment,” Haythe said.

She praised MEDA for providing a platform to spread innovative ideas within the state’s business leadership community. “Events like this bring all the players together, the right policy makers and panelists and business leaders. Today was truly a great conference and we had a great turnout,” she said.

On behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray presented a proclamation to MEDA, recognizing its support of Maryland’s third annual Economic Development Week.

“It’s such a pleasure to work with all of you as a team—we’ve got a tremendous team. All of us are dedicated to doing things that make Maryland a better place to live and work, it’s my honor and privilege to work with all of you,” Murray said.

A panel of experts discuss creating a sense of place  to promote growth in communities.

A panel of experts discuss creating a sense of place to promote growth in communities.

The longtime mantra of realtors, “location, location, location,” applies just as much to a community’s overall economic development, experts agreed during the Maryland Economic Development Association’s fall conference.

The conference, held Tuesday in Frederick and sponsored by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, made the case for “place making” as a tool for improving the social perceptions of a region’s assets.

So, how does that elusive sense of place impact economic development? Here are 10 takeaways from the conference’s expert lineup.

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With triple-digit heat indexes and high humidity, the National Weather Service calls the conditions across Maryland “dangerously hot” and urges residents to drink plenty of fluids. The heat advisory will remain in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday.

So, where should you go to beat the heat? County governments are issuing their own recommendations and listings, including public libraries, senior centers and other community centers.

Additionally, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suggested visiting a local shopping mall.

Representatives from several of the state’s major shopping malls said they’re welcoming community members to enjoy their air conditioning, public bathrooms and water fountains. They recommend that customers check out their Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter to keep up with special events and promotions during the heat wave.

A representative of The Gallery shopping mall at the Inner Harbor said passersby can take a seat inside the mall to cool off and stay for a smoothie or iced coffee at Starbucks. Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, also confirmed that they’re happily offering locals and tourists respite from the heat.

Corrine Barchanowicz, marketing director for Westfield Annapolis, Maryland’s largest shopping mall, said she’s noticed an uptick in shoppers since the start of the heat wave.

“It’s an air conditioned climate, so you get the cool relief. There are services like the cinema, where shoppers can stay entertained and relaxed. We also have a great selection of food offerings like ice cream and frozen yogurt that people like to indulge in when it’s hot. Obviously, there is a lot to see and enjoy, including plenty of shopping. Malls are a great public space,” Barchanowicz said.

Find a list of some of Maryland’s most popular shopping malls here from also lists over two dozen Maryland shopping malls by number of stores.

Where are some of your favorite Maryland shopping centers to cool down? Tell us in the comments.



Keep up with the latest statewide business and economic developments.

Baltimore, MD (July 3, 2013) – The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development has made a $100,000 grant to support a mixed-use revitalization project by Seawall Development in Baltimore’s Remington neighborhood, Governor Martin O’Malley announced today. Using the grant made through the Brownfield Revitalization Incentive Program, Seawall will outfit a 21,770-square-foot building at 2600 North Howard with commercial space, a performance venue and a butcher shop and restaurant by Spike Gjerde, the celebrated chef and restaurateur behind Woodberry Kitchen and Artifact Coffee. The $3.8 million project is expected to be completed in December and will create 75 jobs over the next two years.

“Investing in communities like Remington is a sustainable and effective way to revitalize Maryland’s historic neighborhoods and support the arts that enrich Maryland’s culture,” said Governor O’Malley. “The redevelopment of 2600 North Howard will create jobs, serve as an anchor for future revitalization and development in Remington, and expand the thriving Station North Arts & Entertainment District.”

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Baltimore, MD (June 27, 2013) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the State, through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), has approved a $150,000 grant to the City of Hagerstown to fund the Hagerstown Revolving Loan Fund (HRLF). Hagerstown is actively pursuing opportunities to attract and retain businesses with a particular emphasis on business prospects for vacant buildings and redevelopment areas including the former Unilever plant, the former Cascade building, the Harrison Land Tracts, East End Redevelopment, and downtown redevelopment. As part of a One Maryland jurisdiction, the City of Hagerstown will provide $75,000 in matching funds.

“The State is pleased to support the City of Hagerstown’s Revolving Loan Fund, which is a critical tool to help create and retain jobs,” said Governor O’Malley. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Hagerstown to spur development and provide the resources needed for businesses to grow and thrive.”

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Governor Martin O’Malley announced that Media Rights Capital started filming the second season of the Netflix series House of Cards in Maryland.

“We are pleased that House of Cards, a critically-acclaimed and ground-breaking series has returned to Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “Season One had an economic impact of more than $140 million and provided jobs for more than 2,200 Marylanders. Together with our leaders in the General Assembly, we’ve expanded the Film Production Tax Credit, and as we welcome the cast and crew back, we also look forward to more job creation and economic opportunity to come.”

Find more information from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development here.

Learn more about the economic impact of the Film Production Tax Credit here.

A new Maryland/Israel Advisory Board is charged with developing business opportunities and partnerships between Maryland and Israel, the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development announced Sunday.

Governor Martin O’Malley, joined by a delegation of Maryland business, civic and higher education leaders, forged the advisory board with Israeli leaders on the first day of his weeklong economic development mission. O’Malley and Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman, a former Marylander and member of the Israeli parliament, will serve as honorary co-chairs. A full list of board members can be found here. 

“While Maryland and Israel have a long history of partnership, the Maryland/Israel Advisory Board will be a dedicated group looking to open new doors for Maryland and Israeli businesses and community organizations looking to collaborate,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Rabbi Lipman and the members of this board to strengthen our shared ties in industries like biotechnology, IT and aerospace and defense and encourage trade and cultural missions to both of our communities.”

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