NEWS IN BRIEF
Tourism marketing delivers dividends for state
An analysis of advertising expenditures by the Maryland Office of Tourism shows that for every dollar spent during 2011, there was a return of $220 in incremental visitor spending, said Secretary Christian Johansson, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, during a keynote address at the Howard County Tourism and Promotion's annual meeting, Sept. 21 at Turf Valley in Ellicott City.
Johansson further reported that each advertising dollar generated in excess of $6 in state sales-tax revenue and $31 in state and local taxes. Without tourism spending, he said, each Maryland household would have to pay an additional $875 in state and local taxes annually to maintain current programs and services. And, the state's investment in tourism promotion has supported more than 1,800 new jobs - that's one new job for every $458 spent on advertising.
Since 2007, Maryland tourism marketing has focused on three key markets: Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore. The state welcomed more than 34 million domestic visitors in 2011, a 6.8 percent increase over the previous year. Moreover, Johansson said, tourism visitation in Maryland has risen 26 percent over the last five years.
Maryland is an appealing destination, he said, because the state has wisely invested and promoted its natural, recreational and cultural attractions. For residents and visitors, the result is a high quality of life, and as Howard County tourism officials point out, a diverse array of offerings – "from malls to mills."
The secretary also said that Maryland is in the midst of observing "a confluence of commemorations" – all of which have forged the nation's identity. In June, hundreds of thousands of visitors came to Baltimore for Star-Spangled Sailabration, the maritime festival that launched the national bicentennial of the War of 1812.
This month, thousands are visiting Maryland's Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area to pay tribute to the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War's Battle of Antietam. And next March, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway opens on the Eastern Shore to mark the 100-year anniversary of Tubman's passing.
Emmy-winning shows generate economic impact
Two HBO productions filmed in Maryland that just received Emmy Awards – VEEP and Game Change – have delivered a combined estimated economic boost of nearly $60 million to the state.
VEEP is a political comedy set in Washington, D.C., starring actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer. (She won the Emmy for best actress in a comedy.) It has accounted for $30 million in projected economic impact and is about to begin a second season of filming. The series, which garnered three Emmy nominations, has used more than 1,000 local crew and actors. It also purchased or rented goods and services from 1,100 Maryland vendors and businesses, ranging from catering to lumber to office supplies.
Game Change – an HBO movie about John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate during the 2008 presidential campaign – had an estimated $27 million in economic impact. It, too, engaged about 1,000 vendors and businesses in the state for goods and services.
Nominated for a dozen Emmys, Game Change captured four major awards at the Sept. 23 awards ceremony in Los Angeles: best movie/mini-series; best actress (Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin); best writing (Danny Strong) and best direction (Jay Roach).
"Maryland's Film Production Employment Act of 2011 – which offers partial tax credits for local production expenditures and encourages the use of local crews – has been extremely instrumental in bringing production companies to Maryland," said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office. "Filming in the state has certainly been on the rise since this legislation went into effect."
House of Cards is another series with a political backdrop, which has been filming in Maryland this year. Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, the Netflix production is expected to generate the largest economic impact of any film or single season of a series to be made in the state.
'Arts mean business,' DBED's Johansson says
Montgomery County's arts industry contributes $151 million to the local economy, said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson during a keynote address at the Arts & Economic Prosperity Summit, held at United Therapeutics, a Maryland-based biotech firm in Silver Spring, Sept. 19.
Johansson cited the findings of an economic impact study on the arts in Montgomery County, which was developed by Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization for the art and arts education. The study also showed that the arts supports more than 3,000 jobs in the county and generates $10.3 million in local and state government revenue.
"We consider an investment in the arts to be an investment in Maryland's future because in Maryland, the arts mean business," Johansson said. "On a state level the nonprofit arts generate an annual economic impact of $1 billion and provide 11,000 jobs, which are supported by an overall payroll of more than $385 million a year," he said.
Johansson encouraged the state's business community to invest in the arts, saying that recent reports show the benefit of supporting the arts as a way to spur economic growth and enhance the quality of life in Maryland. He added that Maryland ranks fifth nationally for public support of the arts.
The secretary also said that the Maryland State Arts Council – through its Grants for Organizations and Community Arts Development programs – awards more than $2 million to 46 Montgomery County arts organizations and the Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council.
And, he noted that Montgomery County is home to three of Maryland's 20 arts and entertainment districts: Bethesda, Silver Spring and Wheaton. Bethesda was the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award for a Maryland arts and entertainment district.
Photo: Christian Johansson, secretary, DBED; Dan Lurie, senior advisor, National Endowment for the Arts; and Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy, Americans for the Arts
Civil War commemorations bring tourism upswing
Two large-scale re-enactments and a flurry of other events in September tied to the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War's Maryland Campaign and its epic Battle of Antietam provided Washington County with an economic surge of "well over $5 million during what is normally a slow tourism month," said Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's been the busiest September in easily the past 10 years for tourism."
Most hotels in the area were sold out on the re-enactment weekends, Sept. 8-9 and Sept. 15-16, he said, adding that many visitors who attended the events also stayed at lodging in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.
The National Park Service said more than 17,000 visitors came to Antietam National Battlefield, Sept. 14-17, to attend commemorative programs, living-history demonstrations, and battlefield tours and talks. Park staff planned nearly 300 interpretive programs and presentations for the four-day weekend.
In Frederick County, the month opened with the Sept. 4 world premiere of Heart of the Civil War at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick. More than 1,100 people packed the theater to view the Maryland Public Television documentary, a film about life in a border state during the Civil War. During the Sept. 21-22 weekend, several hundred visitors went on walking tours of churches in Frederick's historic downtown, where docents and living-history interpreters revealed how the town was a center of medical care for wounded soldiers during the Civil War.
View related Antietam coverage on CBS' Sunday Morning and NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams.
Photo: Re-enactors parade across a field at Legacy Manor Farm in Sharpsburg, Sept. 15, during an illumination ceremony in honor of the 3,654 soldiers who were killed at the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862.
Online portal provides students with grasp of 1812
Maryland Public Television (MPT) has launched an educational web site dedicated to the War of 1812 as the newest component of its Thinkport series – an online resource for teachers and parents that offers a multi-media approach to learning. Thinkport was developed by MPT with the Johns Hopkins University's Center for Technology in Education. MPT produced the War of 1812 site in collaboration with the Friends of Fort McHenry and the National Park Service, and with the support of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and Living Classrooms Foundation.
The web portal was unveiled Sept. 14, at Charlesmont Elementary School in Baltimore County, near the location of the Battle of North Point. Fifth-grade students at the school had an opportunity to explore such features of the site as "Hold the Fort," an interactive game that relates the story of the British bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore.
"Thinkport is an exciting project because it demonstrates how students will learn in the future using interactive techniques that will help them understand and experience what the War of 1812 was really like and why it was so important to our nation," said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, who attended the event. "This new learning tool is funded by the (U.S.) Department of Education as a way to help history come alive for our students."
"We are delighted to be part of this important education collaborative and bring Maryland's proud history to classrooms across the state," said Larry Unger, MPT president and CEO. "MPT continues to provide War of 1812 content and programming to educate and entertain our audience."
Historical Society event introduces new 1812 book
Maryland Historical Society, located in Baltimore, hosted a book launch, Sept. 12, for In Full Glory Reflected, Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake – an illustrated 252-page softcover book by historians Ralph E. Eshelman and Burton K. Kummerow that is available through the Maryland Historical Society Press and Maryland Historical Trust Press. Sale proceeds benefit the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail.
The Defenders Day event featured remarks from invited speakers, a book signing and a tour of the society's War of 1812 exhibit, In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland during the War of 1812 – the largest such display in the state. This exhibit includes an array of artifacts and documents from the 1812 era, many of which belonged to the "Old Defenders" of Baltimore.
Speakers included Thomas V. Mike Miller, president, Maryland Senate; Chip Mason, chair, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission; and Kummerow, MdHS president and CEO. The Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps also performed.
"In full glory reflected" is a phrase from the second stanza of The Star-Spangled Banner. The authors note: "Just as people are unfamiliar with anything but the first of four stanzas, few people know much about the War of 1812, the dramatic event that provided the background for those words."
Civil War film debuts after day-long gala in Hagerstown
Hagerstown celebrates its 250-year anniversary, Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features an array of visitor displays in the streets of City Center. High-school bands, musical ensembles from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts and the Hagerstown Municipal Dance Band are among the groups scheduled to perform. In the evening, a premiere screening of Divided Valor: Hagerstonians in the Civil War will be shown at the Bridge of Life Center, 14 S. Potomac St. The hour documentary profiles six Civil War-era residents, whose lives reflected the divided loyalties of the region. Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a co-sponsor of the celebration.
Baltimore celebrates literary arts at yearly festival
The Baltimore Book Festival – a weekend extravaganza for the literary-minded – features appearances by 200 local, celebrity and nationally-known authors, Sept. 28-30, at Mount Vernon Place by the Washington Monument. Readings, workshops, panel discussions, cooking demos, theatrical presentations and musical performances will occur on the festival's 11 stages. Event also offers an array of food and beverage options, and numerous activities for children. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, and noon to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Tour du Port supports bike-advocacy group
Bike Maryland's annual fundraising ride, Tour du Port, is Sunday, Sept. 30, in Baltimore. The ride includes five new routes – from 12 to 65 miles in distance – that start and finish at Canton Waterfront Park on Boston Street. All routes include a stop at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. A post-ride celebration features live music, local exhibitors and food. Bike Maryland is a nonprofit organization that advocates for improved bicycling conditions and the rights of bicyclists, while promoting bicycling in the state as an everyday transportation mode and recreational pursuit.
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32nd Annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit
Date: 11/14/2012 - 11/16/2012
Venue: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina
Address: 100 Heron Blvd., Cambridge, Maryland 21613