Visitors to Maryland spent more than $18 billion in 2018, up 2.1% from the previous year and 47% from 2009, according to a Maryland Commerce Department press release.
The announcement was made at the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit being held earlier this mont at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County.
“Our administration is committed to providing outstanding customer service and ensuring visitors to our state have the best possible experience,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in the release. “Maryland offers a wealth of unique travel options to our visitors — from our mountains to our beaches and all of our vibrant cities and towns in between — we have something for everyone.”
The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland, a report conducted by Tourism Economics, shows that visitor spending went up by $370 million to $18.1 billion and generated $2.5 billion in state and local taxes, saving every Maryland citizen $1,140 in annual taxes, according to the release. Visitor spending in Maryland has continued to grow every year since 2009.
“Maryland’s aggressive tourism marketing strategy is showing significant results with consistent increases in spending at our state’s lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, and transportation providers,” Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz said in the release. “The state and our tourism industry partners are working hard to ensure that Maryland is truly ‘Open for Business.’”
In early 2019 the Maryland Office of Tourism, an agency of Maryland Commerce, launched its ‘Open for It’ branding campaign, which included marketing and advertising the state’s unique tourism assets in nine key markets around the country. A recent study of the effectiveness of the campaign showed that more than 53,000 trips to Maryland were generated by travelers seeing the ads, and that for every dollar spent on the campaign, $31 came back into Maryland’s economy, according to the release.
Tourism remains the 10th largest private sector employer in Maryland with a growth of 1,000 tourism jobs to 150,000. While overall visitation decreased slightly from 42.5 million to 41.9 million in 2018, the decrease was offset by increases in visitor per-trip spending which were driven by longer stays at more in-state destinations. While most of Maryland’s visitors come by car, the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport — the busiest airport in the greater D.C. area — served a record 27.15 million passengers in 2018, according to the release.