BALTIMORE – Gov. Parris N. Glendening Tuesday revealed a plan to boost state tourism and commerce by increasing the advertising budget and eliminating tolls and park admission fees.
Glendening spoke at the B&O Railroad Museum, a Baltimore tourist attraction where American railroading was established in 1827.
Glendening encouraged people to leave their homes and enjoy the tourist attractions in Maryland, noting the tourism and airport industries are experiencing “a major drop off” since terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center and severely damaged the Pentagon Sept. 11.
“Even as we mourn the loss of human life, we must not allow these events to diminish the reality of Maryland’s outstanding business climate and excellent quality of life,” said Glendening.
From now through December, Maryland will triple its tourism advertising budget to $1.2 million, a time when tourism is not usually heavily promoted, said Glendening.
The state will launch an advertising campaign in print and on radio in Maryland, Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to let people know about discounts they can receive Columbus Day weekend. Maryland bridges and tunnels will be free and no admission will be charged at unreserved campsites in state parks.
The state also will hold “Maryland Family Fun Weekend” on Oct. 13 and 14, when some tourism industries and businesses will offer free admission and discounts.
The Department of Natural Resources wants people to visit state parks, even if it means a loss of state income. They’re hoping tourists will spend money with private industry – restaurants and the like.
The parks will lose about $150,000 this weekend, said DNR spokeswoman Heather Lynch. “But it’s a commitment we’re willing to make.”
Tourists can also expect breaks in Ocean City. Many restaurants, hotels and golf courses are offering 10 percent discounts during the holiday weekend, said Mayor Jim Mathias.
Glendening also encouraged people to fly and take comfort in the extra security in place at Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
The Maryland National Guard will be at BWI Thursday to ensure the safety of passengers. Maryland State troopers are patrolling the airport until guardsmen complete training. The guard members have finished Federal Aviation Administration training and will start state training in civilian interaction.
The campaign is designed to prevent layoffs in the tourism industry, which employs more than 100,000 and contributes $7.7 billion to the state’s economy.
Glendening’s plan to promote Maryland tourism comes on the heels of his two-day jaunt to New York with other governors and District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams to promote American tourism.
– 30 – CNS 10-02-01