Maryland's tourism industry generates about $5 billion annually to the state economy, and Gov. William Donald Schaefer wants state resident to do more to attract returning visitors.
"Tourism in Maryland With Pride," a campaign aimed at increasing the recognition of the tourism industry as a serious contributor to the state's economy, was unveiled yesterday at the Maryland Business Summit on Tourism, held at the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel.
Touting the slogan, "Company's coming. Let's keep them coming back," the state Office of Tourism Development will use radio, television and newspaper ads to impress upon Marylanders the importance of bringing tourists in and making them happy once they get here.
"Make them feel welcome," Mr. Schaefer said to an audience of people in tourism-related businesses.
State officials predict the summer and fall tourist season will be much healthier than the first quarter of the year, when the gulf war and the recession combined to crimp revenues.
Anticipating that increase in visitor traffic, the governor suggested that tourism-related enterprises should not just collect tourists' dollars but should promote return visits by providing superior service.
Hoping to lead the commitment to service, the Office of Tourism Development is investing $150,000 of its shrunken budget for the new campaign. "We don't have the funding to go to reach out and develop new markets," OTD Director George Williams said, so the strategy is to "do a better job of generating more sales of the business we do have."