About 200 leaders of the state’s tourism industry convened in Annapolis, Feb. 3, for Tourism Day – an annual advocacy event presented by the Maryland Tourism Council and Maryland Destination Marketing Organizations (MDMO) that enables members of the industry to make the case for tourism funding to state legislators by discussing the industry’s economic value.
DMOs met with their state legislators during the morning, then returned to a ground-floor hall in the Miller Senate Office Building before noon to report on those meetings. Other speakers followed, including Christian Johansson, secretary of the Maryland Division of Business and Economic Development, Margot Amelia, executive director of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and Greg Shockley, chair of the Maryland Tourism Development Board.
“It’s all about economic development and jobs,” Johansson said of tourism. He announced that the industry provides $1.9 billion in state and local taxes, while employing 130,000 Marylanders in full-time positions. He also said that 97 percent of tourism-industry enterprises are small businesses. And, he underscored Gov. Martin O’Malley’s commitment to tourism.
Shockley, owner-operator of Shenanigan’s Irish Pub and Grille in Ocean City, said the effort to advise legislators of the economic impact of tourism is “a continuing education process in which we have to tell our story.”
Before and after a keynote address by Brian Conyers, general manager of the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore, a stream of legislators stopped by the gathering to offer their greetings.
(article courtesy of Gerald Levin, Maryland Division of Tourism, Film & the Arts)
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