From Harford County government:
On January 28, 2011, approximately fifteen Harford County tourism stakeholders traveled to Annapolis for the annual Tourism Day in Annapolis. Eyre Bus Lines transported attendees from Harford and Baltimore Counties from the White Marsh park n ride.
The event is part of a grass-roots tourism advocacy campaign, “Tourism Works for Maryland” spearheaded by Wini Roche, on behalf of the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations MDMO. A special report on the impact of tourism to Maryland’s economy was distributed at the event along with local tourism statistics
Participating Counties met with their legislators to report on the impact of tourism to their areas. Jim Richardson, Director of Economic Development and Ms. Roche spoke to the Harford County Delegation about state and local tourism budgetary issues and the need to generate a revenue stream to support tourism in Harford County where visitors spent over $362.2 million and supported 5,364 jobs for local citizens.
Mr Richardson presented a “white paper” developed by numerous industry stakeholders that proposed levying a room tax to support 3 key components of Harford Counties tourism industry including funding a destination marketing strategy, sustaining Ripken Stadium, and attracting a conference center to attract large scale meetings and special events.
Becky Fitzgerald, Chairperson of the Harford County Tourism Advisory Board, also spoke to the delegation as a small business owner in support of generating a dedicated revenue stream for tourism. “Over ninety – six percent of tourism businesses are small businesses”, said Ms. Fitzgerald, “and without effective destination marketing many of us would sink.
Ms. Fitzgerald is the owner of The Lantern Queen Paddlewheeler and Vancheri’s Restaurant in Havre de Grace. During her presentation she also credited new group tour business from promotional efforts of the County’s Office of Tourism.
After the delegation meetings, the groups returned to the Senate Office Building where several state leaders stopped by to express their support and appreciation of the tourism industry.
For a copy of the Tourism Works for Maryland publication, contact the Harford County Office of Economic Development at 410-638-3059.