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Tourism extends beyond borders

October 18, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The jurisdictional borders between Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia are essentially being erased in tourism campaigns to let visitors delve more fully into Civil War experiences, tourism officials told legislators Friday.

Marci Wolff Ross, manager of destination resources development for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, said maps for Civil War trails that are being distributed make it easy for people to travel across state lines to follow historical themes.

She touted the success of the Maryland Civil War Trails program, in which brochures and roadside markers provide historical information to tourists.

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The program - which points out historical sites in not only Maryland but also in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - is modeled after a similar one in Virginia, she said.

Bob O'Connor, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he liked that some of the publications Ross distributed barely distinguish where one state ends and another begins.

Janis Schmees, president of the Hershey Capital Region Visitors Bureau, said tourists sometimes do not know or care where county or state lines are but they do understand following a theme such as a Civil War campaign.

They made their remarks during the 16th Annual Quad State Legislative Conference at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg. Elected officials from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia attended the conference.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, people are willing to travel father by car, she said. Tourism in rural areas with authentic experiences are in high demand.

Patricia Zontine, development coordinator with the Shenandoah University Historical and Tourism Center, said she is planning anniversary events for the French and Indian War.

After the presentation, a few of the elected officials thanked the tourism officials for their presentations.

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