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Welcome centers seminar here

November 30, 1999

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau has announced that Hagerstown has been chosen as the site for the annual Welcome Center Seminar.

Nancy Wilson, manager of Maryland's Welcome Centers, said that this annual event is an important part of the state's welcome center staff training.

"There are 13 state-operated welcome centers across Maryland. These staff and volunteers are at the front lines for one of our state's largest industries ? tourism." Travel Counselors greet visitors, assist with directions, hotel accommodations, assist with itineraries, greet motor coaches and work with tourism industry and private sector representatives. Volunteers are trained as travel counselors, have the opportunity to participate in welcome center programs such as familiarization tours, seminars, team meetings and national certification training. "We're very pleased to come to Hagers-town and Washington County, and look forward to a wonderful tour," she said.

The chairman of the board of Directors of the Hagers-town-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau said that it is a honor to have been selected to play host.

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CVB Chairman Dennis Miller said, "More than 55 people from across the state will be visiting Hagerstown and Washington County, from March 27th through March 29th. Along with meetings and training, the group will be touring our county ? from border to border, and end-to-end. Sites include various state and national parks, several towns, many museums, attractions and also visiting some of the well-known shopping opportunities."

Miller also outlined the special luncheon scheduled at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, "Our Board of County Commissioners, Hagerstown's mayor and city administrator, will be joining members of our CVB board of directors to welcome these wonderful people from across Maryland."

Professional welcome center staff members will be coming from every corner of Maryland, including from the several centers on the Eastern Shore, Southern Maryland, Baltimore and Annapolis.

Several local organizations and companies have been coordinating with the CVB for this three-day event. The group will be visiting local restaurants, campgrounds, and businesses. Some groups providing assistance include the Miller House, Discovery Station, The Maryland Theatre, Washington County Playhouse and many other local companies and museums.

CVB President Tom Riford stressed the importance of the group's visit, "This event is giving our community the chance to show off to the people who are tourism's first contact with information for millions of visitors and travelers. In 2005, just at our three local state-operated visitor welcome centers on the interstates, more than 300,000 travelers stopped in to ask directions, for information and advice, for hotel and campground assistance, and more. We receive thousands of lodging reservations and information requests annually from the 13 state-operated Welcome Centers throughout Maryland." Last year was the first year that Hagerstown-Washington County was selected as the seminar's site. "We're very pleased to have this opportunity to again be host for the staff from the State's Welcome Centers. Washington County will really have the 'welcome mat' out!" Riford said the tours would give the Welcome Center staffers a better knowledge of Washington County, and the tour would include more than 20 separate sites and attractions.

During 2005, according to the State of Maryland's statistics, visitors spent more than $187-million in Washington County. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. The tourism industry, according to the State's DLLR office, has more than 6,000 people employed in Washington County (leisure and hospitality classification - not including retail employment).

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