Tourism numbers in Maryland continue to rise

An estimated 34.4 million people visited the state in 2011

August 09, 2012|By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun

An estimated 34.4 million people visited Maryland in 2011, an increase of 6.8 percent over 2010, according to results of a survey released Thursday. Margot A. Amelia, executive director of the state's office of tourism, said a refocused advertising strategy has lured travelers from nearby cities.

"In 2008 we made a pretty significant change and started reaching out year-round, and directing all of our efforts to people in three broadcast markets: Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia," Amelia said after a press conference at the Ellicott City Station of the B&O Railroad Museum. "We're a driving destination, and these numbers show that we've been able to bring people to so many of the state's attractions. And, of course, they leave money behind."

Tourism in Maryland has gone up 26.4 percent since 2007, Amelia said, far outpacing the nationwide increase of 8.1 percent.

"Our state's tourism industry is a powerful economic engine," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement. "Tourism is a major generator of jobs, employing nearly 130,000 Marylanders."

State officials also unveiled a revised Maryland scenic byways guide and introduced a Civil War Trails mobile application. Television commercials touting the state's byways and Civil War driving tours are to begin airing Aug. 13.

Chris.korman@baltsun.com

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