Tourism officials point out appeal community has for visitors COUNTYWIDE

June 28, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

As they rode through the rolling hills of Western Maryland, members of the Carroll County Tourism Task Force touted the benefits of their industry on the community.

About 50 people, sporting "Tourism Works" buttons, boarded the EnterTRAINment Line train Wednesday to discuss ways to generate more tourism dollars in the county.

"We are trying to network with all businesses to let them know how they are affected directly and indirectly by tourism dollars," said Tom McPherson, general manager of Days Inn in Westminster.

Starting in September, the task force will be tracking how far tourists' dollars travel with a purple sticker stamped on each dollar spent at a county event.

George Williams, director of the Maryland Office of Tourism, called tourism "the largest industry in the world." To demonstrate his comment, he brought a fact-filled poster along for the ride.

The poster showed how 19 million tourists spending $191 million in Maryland each year reduce every local household's state tax bill by $105.

"Local efforts can be traced directly to increased generation of retail sales taxes," Mr. Williams said.

He congratulated the task force members, who have made county tourism "a sound partner of economic development," and encouraged them to continue their efforts.

"Preserve local resources like the one you are riding on now," he said. "Those tools are an integral part of

your community's economic structure."

Carroll County is "Maryland's best-kept secret," said Jerry B. Pilcher, owner of the train line and a task force member.

"Carroll County has a lot to offer of what families are looking for today," Mr. Pilcher said. "We in the industry, as well as everyone else in the county, all benefit from tourism dollars."

He is working with county motels to plan weekend trip packages. He urged other businesses to develop similar packages, which would give visitors time to see the county's attractions.

"The easier we make visits, the more likely we'll get tourists to spend their dollars here," he said. "We don't want people to just come for lunch. We want them to stay."

The EnterTRAINment Line has put together a July Fourth package: the Firecracker Limited, which includes dinner and a 3 1/2 -hour train ride to Western Maryland, followed by bus transportation to the fireworks display at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

"Tourism dollars turn over seven or eight times, and are vital to the people of Carroll County," Mr. Pilcher said. "The community needs to recognize the positive impact."

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