NEWS IN BRIEF
Tourism Advocates Rally in Annapolis
More than 200 tourism industry professionals joined together for the 4th annual Tourism Day on Jan. 31. This one-day event brings together tourism leaders with elected officials to highlight the economic benefit that tourism delivers to the state through revenue and jobs. This event is sponsored by the Maryland Tourism Council (MTC) and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (MDMO).
“The tourism industry is the marketing muscle in Maryland,” said Ross Peddicord, chair of MTC and Maryland Horse Industry Board, executive director. “We span multiple business sectors including the hotel, restaurant, transportation and attraction industries. Together we are creating jobs, generating revenue and providing a strong economic engine for our state.”
Tourism leaders at the event often referenced statistics from the Maryland Office of Tourism Development’s Annual Report, which cites:
- More than 35.4 million people visited Maryland in 2012
- Visitors pent $14.9 billion on travel expenses
- Tourism generated more than $2 billion in state and local taxes in 2012.
- Each dollar spent in tourism advertising generated nearly $5 in State sales tax revenue.
- Tourism employs more than 135,000 people
“We have a great story to tell and we are grateful that our legislators continue to listen to this story,” said Rachelina Bonacci, MDMO, chair, and Howard County Tourism and Promotion, chief executive officer. “The Governor’s budget provides terrific support for the industry in FY15 and will put Maryland on the map as a top destination for travelers.”
Statewide Poll of the Arts Results Released
Eighty-one percent of Marylanders overwhelmingly agree that “a vibrant arts community makes Maryland a better place to live,” according to a new statewide poll released by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). According to the poll, two out of three Marylanders say the state should encourage and promote artistic expression and access to the arts, with top priorities for state support including art and creativity in communities, exposure to the arts in schools and opportunities for artists to be successful.
“The poll affirms that beyond valuing arts experiences, Marylanders envision the arts as a means of progress in education, community enhancement, cultural awareness and more,” said Theresa Colvin MSAC, executive director.
Tourism, Film and the Arts Projects Receive Recognition for Preservation
Maryland's best efforts in historic preservation were spotlighted today during the Maryland Historical Trust's (MHT’s) 39th Maryland Preservation Awards. The MHT awards honors outstanding preservation efforts in architecture, archaeology, museum work, cultural conservation, education and related fields. Ten awards were given with eight for projects and activities, with two for outstanding individual leadership.
“It is an honor to have three projects that have been developed with Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts and its partners such as the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and Heart of the Civil War to be recognized for their efforts in preserving and promoting Maryland’s significance to America’s history and heritage,” said Hannah Byron, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, assistant secretary.
The following people and programs were recognized with 2014 awards.
- The U.S. Naval Academy: Seas, Lakes & Bay: The Naval War of 1812 Exhibit - Excellence in Programming and Exhibits
- Catoctin Center for Regional Studies: Crossroads of War: Maryland and the Border in the Civil War - Excellence in Media and Publications
- Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area: 150th Anniversary of the Maryland Campaign - Excellence in Community Engagement
- Ladew Topiary Gardens - Outstanding Stewardship of an Easement Property
- Rita R. Church Community Center - Excellence in Commercial/Institutional Rehabilitation
- Rockville Police Headquarters - Excellence in Commercial/Institutional Rehabilitation
- 2013 Field Session in Maryland Archeology - Preservation Partnerships
- Gale Yerges - Outstanding Individual Leadership
- Sharon Kenned - Outstanding Individual Leadership
Maryland Productions Hit the Screen
Ping-Pong Summer, an ode to summers spent in Ocean City, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and then made its way to the Rotterdam Film Festival in the Netherlands. This summer, Michael Tully’s love story of Ocean City will be seen worldwide thank to the distribution agreement with Gravitas Ventures and Millennium Entertainment.
For those that love House of Cards, stay tuned on Valentine’s Day, February 14, for the premier of the second season. VEEP will begin its third season on April 6.
Both productions have been racking up the honors recently with both House of Cards and VEEP being named as two of the Top 10 Television Series for 2013. Additionally, VEEP recently won a writer’s guild and an artists’ award.
Calendar Year 2013 Lodging Data now available
The latest issue of the Maryland Lodging Monitor – the Office of Tourism’s biannual report on Maryland lodging data supplied by Smith Travel Research, Inc. (STR), is now available online. Lodging room demand statewide declined 1.4 percent from calendar year 2012, driven by decreases in the Capital Region and Southern Maryland. There was a softening in demand across the DC-MD-VA-DE region (down 1.6 percent), which correlates to declines due in large part to the government sequestration and shutdown. Average room rates for Maryland increased slightly (0.6 percent) to $113.73.
Total room revenue for the state decreased by 0.8 percent compared to 2012 – the regional decline was 1.2 percent. Maryland’s occupancy rate declined 1.6 percent to 60.0 percent, with the region declining 2.0 percent to 60.4.
The report also details metrics for counties that have significant sample size in the STR survey. (Unfortunately, Caroline, Carroll, Garrett, Kent and Somerset counties cannot be reported on a county level). Areas that saw strong revenue growth include Allegany County (up 7.6 percent) and Baltimore City (up 5.8 percent). Gains were also seen in Cecil (up 3.3 percent), Howard (up 0.8 percent), Queen Anne’s (up 0.4 percent), Talbot (up 2.4 percent), Wicomico (up 2.8 percent) and Worcester (up 1.3 percent).
Gov. O’Malley receives Outstanding Leadership in the Arts Award
The Maryland Citizens for the Arts at its 16th annual Maryland Arts Day, which is organized by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA), presented Gov. O’Malley with its Outstanding Leadership in the Arts Award. The award was given to O’Malley for his unwavering support of the Maryland State Arts Council throughout his term, signing the Maryland Public Art Initiative into law, and the recent 15 percent increase in the General Fund appropriation in the Fiscal Year 2014.
Arts and Entertainment Districts Honored for Sustainability
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission recognized the Arts and Entertainment District program for its role in helping build economic potential in communities across Maryland by supporting the arts.
Voting Continues for Berlin to win Coolest Small Town in America distinction
Budget Travel announced that Berlin has been named a finalist for the "America's Coolest Small Town". The people of Berlin created a website to engage the community to continue to vote for #MDsCoolestSmallTown at www.coolberlin.org. CLICK HERE TO VOTE. Voting will continue until February 25th. As of press time, Berlin was commanding a small lead.
Profit by Joining a Capital Region USA Sales Mission
CRUSA's upcoming sales missions to Brazil (April 20-25), Germany (May 18-22) and China (July – TBD) will give you the opportunity to sell your destination or product directly to our most important tour operator, travel agent and media clients in three of the region's top producing markets. Mission formats vary but typically include personal sales calls, private client events and training opportunities. All missions are organized and led by CRUSA's representatives in each market. Contact Matt Gaffney at 443.994.1862 for more information or to see a sample mission itinerary, or click here to register.
Destination Capitol Hill
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) announces the availability of the guidelines for ArtsCONNECT
February 26 - February 27, 2014
Destination Capitol Hill is the travel industry’s premier legislative event. Travel professionals from across all segments of the industry converge on Washington, D.C. to speak directly to lawmakers about issues that impact the travel industry.
A program supporting the presentation and touring of performing arts engagements of excellence across the mid-Atlantic region. ArtsCONNECT supports projects developed by presenter consortia that include both public performances and complementary activities. The application submission deadline for the 2014-2015 ArtsCONNECT program is Friday, March 14, 2014. Program guidelines are available here.