The Tourism Office is run by the county government as part of the Department of Public Information and Tourism.
Charged with the responsibility of promoting Carroll County as a tourism destination, the office focuses both on the individual and the group markets.
The individual and family market is the target for the current advertising campaign, which won the coveted award for best tourism advertising campaign at the 1989 Maryland Governor's Tourism Conference.
Additionally, a variety of brochures are produced by the office toprovide easy access to information needed by the traveler. More than15 sites are listed in the generic brochure entitled, "Carroll County, Maryland -- Classic Country." A calendar of events and bicycle tour brochures also are available.
"The group market involves the motorcoach industry, and the best way to encourage group travel plannersto consider Carroll County is to package tours," notes Micki Smith, director of public information and tourism.
Five new tours have been created this year that include historical sites, luncheon and picnics and shopping.
"We are taking Carroll County to national and international marketplaces," Smith says.
The Tourism Information Center is the place to find local, regional and national tourism information. Brochures listing attractions, accommodations, restaurants and special events abound at the small office in the Historical Society headquarters.
Joan Meekins, tourism program administrator, thinks the service is unique.
"Sharon Kirk, our tourist information specialist, initiated a service that allows individuals to access generic tourism information from all over the country. We know of no other information center that does this. Considering the space limitations, this is no small accomplishment."
Located at 210 East Main St. in Westminster, the center is staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday throughSaturday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays and holidays. The center is closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As county special events have expanded and the number of county visitors hasincreased, the Carroll County Attractions Association has evolved tomeet the needs of the growing tourism industry. Membership is encouraged and extended to any agency or business involved in some aspect of the travel industry.
The group meets bi-monthly at various locations around the county.
Latest available statistics compiled by the U.S. Travel Data service for 1989 indicate more than $50 million was spent in Carroll County
by tourists. The Travel Economic Impact Model incorporates day trips and overnight expenditures for transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation, incidentals. The figures for Carroll County indicated a 12 percent increase over the previous year.
"Given the state of the economy, that's a fantastic figure," says Smith. "We are very pleased by the results of our efforts.The bureau continues to work closely with other agencies and tourism-related business in the county to promote Carroll as a tourism destination."
STATE TOURIST CENTERS
Several of the state's 10 tourist information
centers are in the area.
Trained travel counselors welcome visitors to the state with helpful information on historic sites, attractions, accommodations, campgrounds, festivals and events.
In addition, these counselors provide friendly assistance with directions to Maryland destinations:
* I-70 West (South Mountain): On Interstate 70, westbound, between Hagerstown and Frederick, in the rest area at mile marker No. 39; 1-301-293-4161;open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. rest of year; closed major holidays.
* I-70 East (South Mountain): OnInterstate 70, eastbound, between Frederick and Hagerstown, in the rest area at mile marker No. 39; 1-301-293-2526;open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. rest of year; closed major holidays.
* U.S. 15 South: On U.S. 15, southbound, between the Pennsylvania state line and Emmitsburg (one mile south of the Pennsylvania state line); 1-301-447-2553;open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Memorial Day-Labor Day; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. rest of year; closed major holidays.
* Baltimore-Washington Corridor: On I-95, near Laurel, in the rest areas at mile marker No. 37. Centers serve north and south bound traffic; 1-301-490-1333,north; 1-301-490-2444,south; open 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. MemorialDay-Labor Day; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. rest of year; closed major holidays.
* Chesapeake House: On I-95 in Cecil County, in the rest area at mile marker No. 27; serves north and south bound traffic; 1-301-287-2313;open 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily; closed major holidays.
* State House: In the lobby of the Maryland State House, Annapolis; 1-301-974-3400;open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; closed holidays.
* Maryland House: On I-95 near Aberdeen, Harford County; 1-301-272-0176;open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; closed major holidays.