Information center helped 4,000 tourists in 1993

March 18, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Nearly 4,400 visitors stopped by the Tourist Information Center in Westminster last year.

Many asked for directions and planned to spend the day in

Carroll County.

The number doesn't include the many thousands who come to Carroll for its frequent festivals and tours. Joan Meekins, administrator of the county Office of Tourism, wants to keep all those visitors here longer.

"You rely on tourists for your business and you want them to stay," said Ms. Meekins at the Tourism Association meeting Tuesday. "There is so much competition for tourist dollars across the state, you have to show visitors there's plenty to do here in our back yard."

She urged members to work together and develop overnight packages for visitors.

"If we don't package, we are missing a big part of our business," she said.

The EnterTRAINment Line has put together 32 packages with tour operators.

"We are marketing the group tour industry and packaging our hearts to death," said Barbara Itzkowitz, group sales manager for the railroad. "We have many overnights with a Carroll County destination."

The railroad and the Tourism Office are sharing a booth during the Maryland On Display exhibit next month at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The annual calendar of events, "A Carroll Sample," will be out April 1, and about 20,000 coupon sheets with incentives for stopping and staying in Carroll County will be available for convention-goers.

"We have to come up with creative, in-house promotion opportunities," said Ms. Meekins.

Carroll sites also appear in "Destination Maryland," the state's travel guide, which is distributed at state highway information centers.

The Office of Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce are also sponsoring a customer service workshop April 19 at Wakefield Valley Golf Club in Westminster.

Arnold G. Abrams of Image Plus, a member of the Maryland Tourism Council, will show participants that service is the key to survival in business.

"You will hear a vivacious, interesting and upbeat message," said Dottie Freeman, marketing specialist at the Carroll County Farm Museum and a recent workshop participant.

"I knew a lot more after the workshop than I did when I went in," she said.

Cost for the three-hour workshop is $25 for association members and $35 for non-members.

Information: 876-2085.

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