Marci Ross – Longtime Employee of the Maryland Office of Tourism Wins Maryland’s Tourism Person of the Year

37th Annual Tourism Awards highlighted recent three-day annual summit in College Park COLLEGE PARK, MD – The annual Maryland Tourism Awards Ceremony highlighted the 37th Annual Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit, held last week at the newly opened The Hotel at The University of Maryland. The summit, sponsored and managed by the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), drew together hundreds of the state’s top tourism industry professionals for the latest discussions on tourism trends and strategy for increasing visitation and spending in Maryland. Marci Ross, a 20-year employee of the Maryland Office of Tourism and resident of Baltimore City, won the coveted Tourism Person of the Year award. Marci began her long career in tourism as a hostess at the former Baltimore Chart House restaurant in 1985. She eventually worked her way up to sales and marketing manager for the popular restaurant. She held the same position at the company’s Annapolis and Old Town Alexandra locations. In January 1997, the Maryland Office of Tourism brought her on board a resources development manager. In 2005, she was promoted to assistant director of Tourism Development, the job she still holds. In addition to her many duties, she manages the state’s Welcome Centers Program, call center, and outreach efforts. She has received many other industry awards throughout her career. “Maryland is fortunate to have many award-winning quality tourism professionals. Each year, the selection of this award gets tougher, but Marci Ross has worked diligently for two decades to propel Maryland forward in all aspects of the tourism industry,” said MTC Chair Michael Haynie. “As one of the hardest-working, behind-the-scenes workers, Marci’s achievements will...

John Gehrig Biography

President, D3 John is founder and president of D3, a media and marketing agency providing Digital Data Delivery solutions for thousands of clients since 1995. John leads a team of 53 professional strategists specializing in custom website and mobile app development as well as a variety of digital marketing solutions, including email, social, SEO, paid search, multimedia and mobile. A 1991 graduate of Lehigh University, John was a 4 year player on the football team and received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. That education began John’s career in business development and marketing. In addition, John is a councilman on the Ocean City Council as well as director on many boards of organizations and foundations, including President of the Greater Ocean City Area Chamber of Commerce, Ocean City Paramedic Foundation, Ocean City Tourism Advisory Board and others. John is married with two children and resides in Ocean City,...

Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard Launched

Comptroller Peter Franchot, Assistant Secretary Ben Wu of the Maryland Department of Commerce, Secretary Joseph Bartenfelder of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and industry partners gathered at Peabody Heights Brewery in Baltimore to introduce the Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard. Baseball & Brew is a partnership between the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office, and OTD, which encourages travel across Maryland to experience craft breweries and baseball-themed attractions. “Maryland has a proud and rich heritage in both baseball and the brewing industries,” said Comptroller Franchot. “This new Baseball & Brew Scorecard promotion encourages Marylanders and tourists alike to explore every region of our wonderful state and experience the sights and sounds of baseball and the taste of our award-winning craft beer.” Read more here. Assistant Secretary Wu said, “Breweries are economic engines for the communities in which they establish themselves.” He noted that breweries help establish other small businesses such as food trucks, restaurants, boutique shops and artist studios that attract visitors and improve the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods. Pick up your Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard at Maryland Welcome Centers and participating breweries, then “hit a home run” by having a drink at a Maryland craft brewery – 1st base; dine at a local restaurant – 2nd base; visit a Maryland baseball attraction – 3rd base; and stay overnight – home plate. Share your experiences on social media with the hashtag...

How Will You Spend Your Longer Summer?

This Memorial Day, the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC) encourages families to visit the many historic battlefields and war memorials throughout our state and to take a moment to reflect on these outstanding Americans. Memorial Day is a time to honor the memories of all service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our great country. Memorial Day Weekend is also the “unofficial” start of summer. Thanks to an early end of the school year because of our mild winter for most school systems and starting school after Labor Day, Summer 2017 should be a record setting season for our many small and family-owned tourism businesses. As previously reported in a 2013 study prepared by the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates, starting the school year after Labor Day could result in as much as $75 million in additional direct economic activity. These revenues are critically needed dollars for our state budget to re-invest in our priority areas and make Maryland the best state in the nation to live, work, raise a family, and of course, play. To help kick off the summer season, MTC would like to share with you some of reasons tourism works for Maryland, #10: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, Cambridge The newest Maryland state park, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center provides visitors with a rare opportunity to reflect on the importance of Harriet Tubman’s legacy and retrace her quest for freedom.  This one-of-a-kind attraction promises to bring people from around the world to rural Dorchester County. Explore beautiful natural landscapes and low-lying marshes where Tubman not only escaped from slavery, but also escorted other slaves...

Wrapping up an exciting 2017 Legislative Session

Several dozen tourism industry professionals heard from some of the state’s leading business advocates at the Maryland Tourism Coalition’s Legislative Wrap Up in Annapolis on April 26. Our panelists reflected on the inner workings of key pieces of legislation that will impact businesses and tourism – with most of the discussion focused on the passage of Maryland’s paid sick leave bill. Thank you to Amy Roher, Maryland Hotel Lodging Association – MHLA, Kevin Atticks, Grow & Fortify; Cailey Locklear Tolle, Maryland Retailers Association and Larry Richardson Maryland Chamber of Commerce. And of course, our moderator and MTC Legislative Chair, Chris Riehl from Baltimore Rent-a-tour We also must thank our presenting sponsor for making this all happen! Comcast Spotlight! MTC Member Deb Travers and her crew presented the benefits of Comcast Spotlight before we launched into our panel discussion. Perhaps what everyone was most excited for was the reception following the engaging discussion on the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel’s spectacular rooftop deck overlooking the beautiful Annapolis harbor and city dock area. There may have been a few people enjoying their signature “Pain Killer” cocktail as well! Thank you to the hotel’s team for a job well done! And finally, after a few days of rain and clouds, the skies cleared toward the end of our event – just in time for a wonderful cruise aboard the Schooner Woodwind, docked just outside the hotel. Our work is just beginning to strategize how to best prepare for the 2018 General Assembly. Workgroups will be meeting over the interim to flush out issues associated with legislation passed and to prepare for the return of...

Industry News – Maryland Tourism

National Tourism Week Recognized Join Baltimore Tourism Week Career Pathways & Resources Fair In honor of National/Baltimore Tourism Week, Visit Baltimore and the Visit Baltimore Foundation are shining a light on the people and organizations who make the Baltimore tourism experience exceptional. As part of the celebration, there will be a sector-focused career pathways and resources fair for job-seekers to network with top Baltimore-area employers from a variety of industries, hear from individuals and inspirational speakers, and take advantage of a variety of resources in one place to help them in their job search. For more information and to register, click here.       Register Now for “On the Edge of Freedom” Harriet Tubman Network to Freedom Conference The National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) Program and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Conference are co-hosting a conference in honor of the opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, Maryland, marking the first time Maryland has hosted the event. The conference, “On the Edge of Freedom: Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in the Borderlands,” will be held in Cambridge, May 18-21, 2017. The conference will explore all aspects of the Underground Railroad in borderlands—both literal and figurative. The conference brings together scholars, site stewards, researchers, student artists, and enthusiasts from across the nation for four days of renowned speakers, panel discussions, workshops, an exhibit hall, and tours. “The Network to Freedom program is excited to bring the annual Underground Railroad conference to Dorchester County in recognition of the opening of the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, so that...

$12,794 grant funds melding of the hip and historic for Civil War geocaching trail

 DATE:   April 4, 2017                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:  Carol D’Agostino, (410) 604-2319; carol@purplecatpr.com $12,794 grant funds melding of the hip and historic for Civil War geocaching trail FREDERICK, MD – Marketing your strengths is important whether you are a business or a region. For many rural communities and regions throughout Maryland the real assets lie in the beauty of their landscape and the richness of their history. The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, one of the state’s 13 heritage areas, decided to leverage those assets to create a unique visitor experience to stimulate an interest in history while also channeling tourism dollars into the regional economy. The heritage tourism and economic development project called the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Geocache Trail is funded by a $12,794 Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) grant, which is administered by the Rural Maryland Council (RMC). The grant funded the development of 16 “treasure sites” or geocaches along a Civil War rich trail stretching through three counties: Carroll, Frederick and Washington. Participants use GPS-enabled devices to find items hidden in particular locations. Think of it as outdoor treasure hunting where the hip and historic meet. “We have been thinking a lot about how to make history relevant to more people,” says Auni Gelles, assistant director, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, and grant project coordinator. “In general, people tend to think about history around big landmark years like the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and bicentennials. Geocaching and using technology are strategies that we can use to make history relevant to visitors...

Support of Maryland Beer at Senate Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2017 CONTACT: Susan O’Brien, 443-254-6000, susanobrienpr@verizon.net MARYLAND TOURISM COALITION & CITY BREW TOURS BALTIMORE  TESTIFY IN SUPPORT OF MARYLAND BEER AT SENATE HEARING TODAY IN ANNAPOLIS Craft Beverage Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of Maryland Tourism ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Tourism Coalition Executive Director Winifred Roche will testify today in support of HB 1283 with amendments that allow the Maryland craft brew industry to continue its growth and contribution to Maryland’s economy and tourism.  Joining her to testify will be Barry Hansen, chief operating officer for City Brew Tours. City Brew Tours, based in Boston, operates City Brew Tours Baltimore. “Maryland’s breweries, as well as our wineries and distilleries, are one of the fastest growing segments of our state’s tourism industry. Their products’ exceptional quality and successful marketing campaigns are attracting thousands of visitors to Maryland,” said Ms. Roche. “Look no further than City Brew Tours, which opened its doors in Baltimore to accommodate the growing interest in craft beverage tourism. This company is just one of many companies that demonstrate the impact of tourism on Maryland’s economy. If this bill passes without amendments, it will set back years of growth by these small businesses, most of which are family owned and operated. To pass legislation that deliberately limits their ability to produce and sell their product is terrible for business and for tourism.” Mr. Hansen added, “We hope to grow our small business in Baltimore in tandem with these breweries and we hope to expand in other areas of the state. Passing this bill without amendments would prevent our business...

MTC Presents Tourism Advocate Award to Governor & Comptroller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                 CONTACT:      Susan O’Brien March 3, 2017                                                                                                         443-254-6000   MARYLAND TOURISM COALITION PRESENTS TOURISM ADVOCATE AWARD TO GOVERNOR & COMPTROLLER FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF “LET SUMMER BE SUMMER” CAMPAIGN Governor & Comptroller also declared March as Maryland Wine Month ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), led by Board Chair Michael Haynie and Executive Director Wini Roche, today presented Governor Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot its coveted Tourism Advocate award during the annual Tourism Day in Annapolis. The Maryland Park Commission also presented Senator Ed Kasemeyer with the State Park Legislative Champion award in honor of his support of Maryland State Forests and Parks. “With one signature on an Executive Order to start the school year after Labor Day, Governor Hogan has enabled Maryland families to enjoy their summers again. His action, along with Comptroller Franchot’s longtime support, will help thousands of mostly locally owned, family-operated businesses regain lost income,” said Ms. Roche. The Governor’s executive order, signed on August 31, 2016, declared that all Maryland public schools begin the 2017-2018 school year after Labor Day and end by June 15. “Tourism is a driving force in Maryland’s economy that creates jobs, supports our small businesses, and generates billions of dollars in revenue to our state each year,” said Governor Larry Hogan....

Destination Maryland 2017: The Official Guide to Maryland Travel is Available Now

Produced by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Destination Maryland is an inspirational travel guide that combines stunning photography and stories written by Maryland writers. This year’s guide includes works from authors who have also written for publications including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and Washingtonian, and offers travel ideas including adventures of all kinds, road trip suggestions and tips from Maryland experts including celebrity chefs Brian and Michael Voltaggio. Destination Maryland is available at state Welcome Centers, restaurants, and other tourist locations and can be ordered free online at...