NEWS IN BRIEF
Bus groups can view air show at Port of Baltimore
South Locust Point Marine Terminal has emerged as an alternative location for tour groups to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform in the Star-Spangled Air Show on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17.
The air show above Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is one of the featured events at Star-Spangled Sailabration – the June 13-19 international maritime festival that launches Maryland's War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration.
The terminal will be open – at no charge – to groups arriving by motorcoach or school bus (minimum 25-seat vehicles). Reservations are required. Approximate viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Though seating is not provided, passengers in the groups may bring their own chairs. Food vendors and portable restroom facilities will be available. And, all passengers should have a government-issued identification card to present upon entry to the terminal.
Call 410-767-6974 for more information and to reserve space for your group. South Locust Point Marine Terminal is located at 2001 E. McComas St. in South Baltimore, a short distance from Fort McHenry and just off I-95 (Exit 55, Key Highway).
African-American travel guide debuts at conference
The Maryland Office of Tourism released the new Maryland African-American Heritage Travel Guide at an opening dinner event for the African-American Travel Conference, presented at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, April 18. About 260 participants in the conference attended.
Christian S. Johansson, secretary of Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development, introduced the guide by saying: “The state has so many stories that can be told, we've even wrote a book about it – actually, a brochure.”
The free 32-page brochure lists approximately 200 attractions and sites throughout the state that are linked to African-American heritage and culture. It includes destinations and sites that are part of the National Park Service's Network to Freedom program, which promotes the preservation of historic places associated with the Underground Railroad.
Johansson also spoke about Maryland's signature commemorations – the sesquicentennial of the Civil War; bicentennial of the War of 1812; and 100-year anniversary of Harriet Tubman's passing – that are occurring now and through the next several years. The bicentennial begins in June with Sailabration, an international maritime festival in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The two-day African-American Travel Conference, held at the Baltimore Convention Center, brought a few hundred bus operators to meet with destination representatives during appointment sessions.
New U.S. stamp honors Antietam sesquicentennial
The U.S. Postal Service issued a new first-class “forever” stamp, April 24, which commemorates the upcoming 150-year anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. It is paired with another Civil War stamp that pays tribute to the 1862 Battle of New Orleans.
In 2011, the Postal Service launched a stamp series to honor the Civil War. Sheets of 12 stamps with two designs will be issued each year, through 2015, for the commemoration.
The Antietam stamp reflects Thure de Thulstrup's 1887 painting of the charge of the Iron Brigade during the morning phase of the Antietam conflict. Dunker Church is in the background. Thulstrup, a Swedish-born illustrator who emigrated to Canada and then the U.S., became known for depicting historical military scenes. His Antietam painting was one of a series of works commissioned by a Boston publisher to commemorate the Civil War in the 1880s.
The Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862, is the bloodiest single-day battle in American history with more than 23,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of fighting.
Arts advocates convene at yearly Capitol Hill event
Americans for the Arts presented its 25th annual Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., April 16-17. More than 500 advocates from 40 states came to the capital to meet with elected officials and advocate for increased public funding for the arts. Americans for the Arts is a national nonprofit that advocates for the arts and arts education.
Actor Alec Baldwin delivered the annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The public forum is designed to stimulate discussion of how the arts advances the economic and social well-being of the nation.
In the above photo, members of a Maryland contingent meet with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who represents the state's eighth Congressional district (portions of Montgomery and Prince George's counties).
View coverage from The Washington Post.
National Harbor hotel among top meeting venues
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Prince George's County was named one of the top 10 hotels for meetings in the U.S. by Cvent, a meeting and event technology company with more than 10,000 clients in 90 countries.
Cvent created the list from a pool of 80,000 hotels in the U.S. on its Cvent Supplier Network, using such criteria as: number of electronic request for proposals (RFP); average response rates to RFPs; number of meeting rooms; total square footage of meeting areas; and the amount of business in 2011 that was awarded by meeting planners through the Cvent Supplier Network.
Gaylord was listed number six on the list. With 2,000 rooms and 470,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Gaylord is the largest combined hotel and convention center on the East Coast. Two other Maryland properties were named in the top 100. Hilton Baltimore was number 49, and Baltimore Marriott Waterfront was number 54.
SSB coin sales on track toward year-end goal
The U.S. Mint has sold slightly more than 139,700 new Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins, since the coins went on sale March 5. A total of 123,400 silver coins – $54.95 (proof) and $49.95 (uncirculated) – and 16,300 gold coins have been sold. The acquisition cost of the gold coins fluctuates with weekly gold prices. Both the gold and silver coins will be available for purchase through mid-December this year. For more information about purchasing the coins, visit the U.S. Mint online; or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468); TTY: 1-888-321-MINT (6468).
Tourism tax-code revenue up by 7.7 percent
The latest issue of the Maryland Tourism Monitor — the Office of Tourism's monthly report on measures for visitation and marketing, tourism-related sales taxes and leisure and hospitality jobs — is available online. This month's issue includes additional analysis on OTD's social media strategy and kiosk use at the east and westbound I-70 Welcome Centers.
Among its findings: Sales-tax revenue from tourism tax codes grew 7.7 percent — more than 50 percent above the 5 percent rate of growth for overall sales-tax revenue through February of this fiscal year. Additionally, with an increased advertising budget, the tourism office has seen 49 percent more web-advertising responses, 41 percent more print-advertising responses and more than double the number of broadcast responses compared to the same time period last year.
Wildlife enthusiasts flock to Shore for birding excursions
Delmarva Birding Weekend, April 26-29, provides opportunities to explore the Delmarva region in search of local and migratory bird species. Call 800-852-0335 to reserve space on canoe and kayaking trips, boat excursions, and day and night expeditions. The weekend is sponsored by Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences – a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, and local, state and federal agencies dedicated to promoting low-impact tourism on the Delmarva Peninsula. For accommodations information, view these tourism sites.
New boat show debuts in Annapolis this month
The inaugural Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show is April 27-29 at Annapolis City Dock. It features 2,000 feet of floating docks that accommodate more than 60 new and brokerage sailboats. Equipment and accessory vendors surround the exhibition area. The show runs in conjunction with the second annual Cruisers University, April 26-29, which offers instruction in subjects related to long-range cruising. Tuition starts at $190 for a one-day package. For more information visit United States Yacht Shows online, or call 410-268-8828. United States Yacht Shows also presents sailboat and powerboat shows in Annapolis during the fall.
Naturalist leads bike ride in Western Maryland
Fort Frederick State Park offers a free, guided bike ride along the Western Maryland Rail Trail, Saturday, May 5, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The ride is on a mostly paved, flat surface and covers about 24 miles round-trip. Bike rentals and snacks are available in Hancock. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the C&O Bicycle Shop, 9 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Hancock. For more information, call 301-842-2155. The Rails to Trails Conservancy selected the Western Maryland Rail Trail as one of the top dozen trails in the U.S.
ABA plans free networking session at Gaylord
The American Bus Association (ABA) hosts a regional networking and educational program, ABA on the Road, Wednesday, May 9, 8:30 -10:30 a.m., at Gaylord National in National Harbor in Prince George's County. ABA invites both members and non-members. This free event is designed for bus operators, tour operators, members of the travel industry, and product and service suppliers. Light refreshments served. E-mail ABA to RSVP by May 4.