Tourism group welcomes plans for wooing visitors

November 21, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Tourism will become the largest industry in the United States within the next few years, and the hospitality business is making its mark in Carroll County.

The county director of Economic Development gave the Tourism Association the statistics to support those claims last week.

"Tourism is a big business in the county now and brings $32 million annually into Carroll County," said Jack Lyburn. "It generates $670,000 in tax revenues in the county."

About 20 association members, who met Friday at the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers' Market in Westminster, applauded the news.

"Jack is going to be a champion for us and make the [Carroll County] commissioners understand the importance of tourism in the county," said Barbara Beverungen of the Tourism Office.

Mr. Lyburn, who came to the development job from Frederick County in September, told association members that tourism is a $100 million business in Frederick. He hopes to expand the industry in Carroll.

He would like to "revisit all marketing pieces and develop a higher profile for the county."

About 25,000 visitors patronized the Wine Festival two months ago, he said. The tourism industry should make the most of those numbers and interest those people in return trips, he said.

"Carroll is an amazing place with thriving businesses," he said. "If the new commissioners are skeptical about the effects of tourism, we can show them the numbers from bus tours, restaurants and motel rooms filled every weekend."

To help tourists find their way around the county, the Visitors Center now is open seven days a week. The center, at 210 E. Main St., Westminster, organizes tours, and offers information about area events and businesses from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Mr. Lyburn said the county should capitalize on its history, particularly its Civil War traditions, to attract tourists.

"We get a lot of calls about events related to the Civil War," Ms. Beverungen said. "It is a popular trend now."

Several re-enactments and related events are being planned for next year. The Tourism Office will have a Civil War brochure, with lists of historical sites, available Dec. 12. Visitors who want to take a driving tour of the areas will find maps and directions in the brochure.

Mr. Lyburn urged association members to work closely with his office and keep him informed of events and promotions.

"Tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand," he said. "We keep running into each other."

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