MTDB Business Meeting Minutes December 2011
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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes December 2011 

Capitol Building Photo 

Maryland Tourism Development Board Business Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Great Room at Historic Savage Mill, Savage, MD

Call to Order/Roll Call 

MTDB:  Paul Bales, Delegate Pam Beidle, Adolph Ebersberger,  John Fieseler, Mike Haynie, Senator Nancy Jacobs, Peggy Maher, Wini Roche, Khaled Said, Chris Schardt, Greg Shockley, Victor Sulin, Matt Taylor, Andy Vick, Linda Westgate;  EDC:  Kevin Atticks, Deb Carter, Pat Donoho, Mary Presley, Carol Benson (Heritage Areas Rep.), Tom Riford;  MDMO:  Rachelina Bonacci, Matt Neitzey, Amanda Fenstermaker, Sandy Turner, Margorie Hampson (+ guest: Jordan Fish); DBED:  Hannah Byron, Margot Amelia, Lucy Chittenden, Liz Fitzsimmons, Rebecca Goldman, Marci Ross, Bryan Barnes, Denise Reed.  Guest Speaker:  Matthew Baker, Terrapin Adventures. 

Board Chair Greg Shockley welcomed all in attendance.   

Board Member Comments/Highlights (not all inclusive) 

  • Matt Taylor – County will be hiring an event sales/marketing person; “Getting away together” – reality TV show filming complete - to be aired in January/February;   Deep Creek 2014 World Championship (white water canoe/kayaking) holding trials at ASCI next summer; ASCI also hosting the Jr. World Championship team in June.
  • Linda Westgate – In 2012, looking forward to business generated by Star Spangled 200, AIBTM and various other conventions. 
  • Mike Haynie – Encouraged everyone to attend upcoming National Academy Foundation’s fundraiser.
  • Chris Schardt – Retail sales increased 3-5% during holiday season this year.
  • Paul Bales – Local businesses are continuing their efforts to move the water taxi service forward.  This project has federal support (water taxi service between Fort Belvoir & Indianhead); Broken ground to bring commuter jet service to local airport.
  • Chris Schardt, Peggy Maher and Linda Westgate all voiced support for return of Grand Prix to Baltimore next year indicating that the event was a great revenue generator for their businesses.
  • Peggy Maher – Currently 575 cabs in Baltimore.
  • Andy Vick – Thanked DMO for efforts in bringing Alex Trebeck (Jeopardy game show) to the area – several clips were filmed which will be aired on the show – great P.R. for Western MD; MD Arts Day in Annapolis 2/8.
  • John Fieseler – 8 months since new visitor center opened in Frederick – visitation strong throughout year.  Gearing up in preparation for Antietam anniversary next September and the 150th anniversary of Battle of Gettysburg in 2013 (four million visitors expected).  Working to determine what needs to be done in order to re-open  US 15 Mason-Dixon welcome center.
  • Wini Roche – nearing end of Harford County Destination Study; 9% growth in tourism sector in Harford County this year; working with businesses, hotels, etc. on grassroots effort to propose a Harford County tourism promotion act bill this year which would provide a dedicated funding stream for the county tourism efforts.
  • Greg Shockley – Ocean City doing well however, they lost both their city manager and convention center director – tourism structure is in flux at the moment until a new city manager comes aboard.


Guest Speaker – Matt Baker, Chief Adventure Officer, Terrapin Adventures
(and Howard County Promotion & Tourism Board of Directors) 

Matt gave a brief overview/history of Savage Mill.  Terrapin Adventures opened about three years ago hosting about 42,000 customers to date.  Terrapin Adventures offers zip line, climbing tower, high-ropes course, giant swing, kayaking, mountain biking - in addition to tours and team building classes. 

Chairman’s Report 

Members of MTDB Executive Committee, Margot and Hannah met with Christian Johansson to discuss Tourism Promotion Act funding.  Governor’s budget is expected to be released January 20, 2012.  Time to reach out to your Delegates/Senators/Governor, etc. – letters and phone calls are critical at this point in time. 

Greg, Hannah and Margot met with Superintendents of Schools to discuss school year scheduling (and school start after Labor Day).  Due to 2015 testing changes (which affect schedule) – they will revisit discussion again in 2013. 

Greg referred to calendar in binders and encouraged everyone to attend Taste of Maryland and Legislative Day in Annapolis which offers a great opportunity to talk to legislators. 

Greg then asked everyone to review Dave Radcliffe’s draft report included in binders.   Dave will work with MTC Board in early January and make recommendations for MTC’s Strategic Plan.  Working together, MTDB and MTC will then break down into committees to go over objectives with emphasis on tourism advocacy.  Hoping to have a plan in place by September 1, 2012 for next year’s legislative session. 

Executive Director’s Report 

Margot referred to the Annual Report included with Binders. We just received the new economic impact study for CY 2010 from new firm “Tourism Economics.”  Tourism impact up over 2009 by 4%.   Economic impact was $13.1 billion, 130,000 direct tourism jobs, payroll of $4 billion, and $1.9 billion in local/state revenue generated by tourism.  Overview of OTD performance:  8% reduction in web visitors over previous year due to fact that OTD advertising budget was down 27%.  Advertising generated inquiries down due to travel planning on web and budget.  PR generated exposure - $9.1 million, increase of 9.2% over previous year.  Tourism tax increase of 5.1% which qualified Board for additional $3.6 million.  She indicated that there is a chart in binders reflecting the FY 2011 direct tourism taxes for counties which reflects impact on county level - great chart to share with legislators. 

Margot then called on Hannah Byron for her report. 

Hannah - Film Office update:  The television series VEEP just wrapped up their filming for season 1.  Set was located in Howard County and filming was done at locations statewide.  Filming for season 2 will start again in May 2012.  This series provided 2000 jobs and $40 million in economic impact.  We are hoping to secure another major production – a TV series filming 2 seasons with 13 episodes per season.  If we do get this series, it would bring an estimated 2000 jobs and $80 million in economic impact to the State.  Hopefully we will be able to announce more info on that in the near future.  Currently working with the general assembly to get the film cap lifted. 

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk/Run - working with private sector partner “Greater Washington Sports Alliance” to bring this event back again.  Harriett Tubman - Hannah has been working with partners at the National Park Service on the Harriett Tubman initiative.  It has passed a key senate committee with the House bill to be introduced.  She also invited everyone to attend Harriett Tubman day in Annapolis on March 9, 2012.  Senator Barbara Mikulski will be honored at that event with a lifetime achievement award.  Hannah ended her report with a reminder to please contact your legislators and thanked everyone for their efforts and support. 

Margot - this year’s MTTS went very well and featured great speakers.  This year’s MTDB award winners, announced at the MTDB awards luncheon during the summit were as follows:  Savage River Lodge (Green/Sustainable Tourism); Tourism Council of Frederick County (Visit Maryland award for new visitor center); Carroll & Dorchester counties (Cultural Heritage Tourism Award for HTUGRR); The Fells Point Preservation Society (Economic Engine Award for generating $40 million in visitor spending at Fell’s Point Festival). 

She went on to give an overview of the FY 2012 Marketing Development Plan highlighting priority/new projects:  Advertising/Communications working on new scenic byways guide for distribution in spring; communications platform for commemoration period events for out of state visitors, resident, sponsors, stakeholders and elected officials; developing new T.V. creative to drive visitation during commemorations and offering co-op opportunities for DMOs and sponsors of various events; launch of new African-American travel guide during April 2012 African-American travel conference in Baltimore.  OTD will be sponsoring the first night reception at the Reginald Lewis Museum.  Research is working on an advertising effectiveness study to measure revenues/jobs created by our efforts.  OTD hired Bryan Barnes who is overseeing social media projects which includes increasing video content on the Maryland YouTube channel which has become a popular search site. website has been launched.  The Star Spangled Sailabration will be held June 13-19, 2012 featuring tall ships and various events which should bring an estimated 500,000 visitors to the area.  Maryland Green Travel finalizing a new consumer-friendly application to be completed in March.  An Antietam Campaign civil wars trail application is being planned for the Antietam anniversary in September.  AIBTM – OTD will again co-host a Maryland/Baltimore pavilion with Visit Baltimore this year at AIBTM.  Website development - We are the first state to include Trip Advisor on our accommodation pages and plan to expand to restaurant and attraction listings this year.  Working with statewide partners to roll out monthly sweepstakes/contests and promote on our home page, social media, newsletters, etc. 

Budget overview:  Information in meeting binders gives a good snapshot of how money is spent and return on investment, general funds, and funds generated through advertising sales and grants.  Margot also gave a brief overview of the Tourism Monitor stats included in the binders. 

Staff updates:  

Liz – Projects include:  newsletters, Calendar of Events.  Thanked everyone for their help on press tours.  Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers will be here in the Spring of 2012. 

Lucy – lots of holiday festivities listed on website – thanks to DMOs for submitting their events. 

Bryan – appeal – needs help in obtaining info from our partners throughout state for social media and video material.
Working on style guides and policies for web 

Rebecca – compiling info from 2700 surveys received for Cycle Maryland – should have report in January 

Marci – travel info workshop – Grant application kits due back by Jan 13th 

Margot referred to “Power of Travel Promotion” publication included with binders.  Good reference when putting together advocacy pieces.  There is a form in binders for those of you who would like to order a star spangled banner flag, along with further information on upcoming Sailabration activities.  Also included in binders is a profile sheet that Rich Gilbert uses when meeting with tour operators (FYI). 

At conclusion of Executive Director’s Report, Greg invited members of EDC and DMOs to report out. 

Executive Directors Council 

Carol Benson (Heritage areas) – Heritage areas have submitted their draft five year plans. 

Kevin Atticks (Maryland Wineries Association) - 55 Wineries in every Maryland county except Caroline, Allegany, Howard and Charles.  594 wineries shipping wine to MD; 5 wine trails; Wednesday, 2/1 – Taste of Wine in Annapolis. 

Matt Neitzey (Prince Georges County) - invited everyone to Army/Navy game; Gaylord Ice event. 

Patrick Donoho (Maryland Retailers Association) – Sales are up; black Friday successful; partnered with P. Franchot traveling around state promoting shop local; President’s Day weekend – energy star appliances tax-free. 

Tom Riford (MDMO) – recognized Sandy Turner for her role as MTTS chair – Rachelina chairing next year.  Taste of Maryland 1/16 in Annapolis; Tourism day 2/3.  MDMO finalizing new advocacy piece – condensing down to rack card size.  Counties spend about 7.5 million in advertising/marketing to help bring visitation to Maryland.   20,000 attended the Illumination @ Antietam; Antietam/South Mountain 150th - two reenactments scheduled over two separate weekends in Sept/October.   Hats off to Liz tourism person of year! 

Sandy Turner (for D. Reel, MTC) – MTTS mid-November at the Hyatt in Cambridge; MTC/Restaurant Association will offer seminars in afternoon prior to Taste of MD event.  Thanks to everyone for a successful Summit. 

Deb Carter (Maryland Association of Campgrounds) – Just returned from national conference in Savannah – 3800 members in national organization….participated and won conference contest increasing attendance this year – Deb brought 29 members which resulted in an 800% increase in attendance for our sector. 

Mary Presley (Maryland Motorcoach Association) – Maryland Marketplace 2012 will be held in Howard County at Turf Valley; battling fuel tax in House this year. 

Amanda Fenstermaker (Dorchester County) – focusing on keeping tourism/heritage areas funded – heavily involved with Harriett Tubman and Michener Chesapeake Country scenic byway programs. 

Rachelina Bonacci (Howard County) - Old Post Office has been converted into a new welcome center in Howard County which just opened.  New space is four times the size of previous center.  Currently focusing on dedicated funding through increase in hotel funding. 


There being no further business to come before the Board, upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously approved, the meeting was declared adjourned.

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