One pass for all? Inner Harbor: Museums and exhibits should try joint ticketing at least during slow season.

February 09, 1997

ONE THING COMMON to Baltimore's downtown and Inner Harbor museums and tourist attractions is that they jealously guard their independence.

Institutional cooperation may have increased in areas like sharing storage facilities. But many other possibly fruitful mutual efforts have been inadequately explored. Joint ticketing and coordinated promotion, for example.

Such efforts are essential if Baltimore hopes to increase the number of repeat visitors at a crucial time when the number and range of downtown and Inner Harbor attractions is about to expand.

It may be unrealistic to expect anything like the reasonably priced pass that in San Diego admits a visitor to all museums and exhibits in that California city's Balboa Park. But surely many downtown attractions could come up with some form of a joint ticketing program.

This would be particularly useful during the slow winter months. It would allow local residents and visitors to peek in before the high-season tourists come. A discount ticket also could be one of the features of a comprehensive hotel package.

The biggest market for Baltimore's most successful tourist attraction, the National Aquarium, is Philadelphia, followed by the District of Columbia area. An off-season pass covering other city attractions would encourage visitors from those areas and others to stay here overnight. This would be a win-win situation for all concerned, bringing in sorely needed tourist dollars to the city.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, among others, has been lobbying for a combined pass. So far it has not happened. It should, during this bicentennial year of Baltimore's incorporation.

This is a matter that demands the urgent attention of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

Pub Date: 2/09/97

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