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Tourism rally held in Baltimore

Riford receives ceremonial grant check from Ehrlich

Riford receives ceremonial grant check from Ehrlich

January 27, 2006|By

BALTIMORE ? Gov. Robert Ehrlich has announced his proposed tourism budget for fiscal year 2007. At a rally in Baltimore, the governor remarked that money spent on tourism brings significant returns.

"Tourism is a successful way that Maryland gains economic impact. There is a $21 to $1 return on our dollars," said Ehrlich.

Maryland generates about $26 million a day in tourism dollars. More than 21 million people vacationed in the state in 2004. About 1.3 million people visited Washington County last year.

Ehrlich delivered remarks about his proposed budget, during a speech Monday morning at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum. The tourism budget, dubbed ""Seven in Seven," would bring $7 million during fiscal year 2007.

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More than 120 tourism leaders throughout the state turned out to hear Ehrlich renew his pledge for $7 million to promote tourism for fiscal year 2007.

The proposed tourism budget is a $1.5 million increase over the budget of fiscal year 2006. Of the proposed $7 million, $1 million will go to the state's tourism development board to market Maryland while $500,000 will be given to the county cooperative grant program to market the counties.

Ehrlich awarded ceremonial checks to tourism leaders at the various counties' convention bureaus. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Tom Riford was pleased to be handed a "check" for more than $24,000.

Riford said, "The grant money given to Washington County's CVB is the result of a cooperative effort with the State of Maryland. Our CVB spends a significant amount of money advertising, and some of the money is matched by the state. This helps stretch our marketing impact."

Tourism remains one of Maryland's largest industries. In 2004, the most current complete data compiled, the economic impact of tourism reached a record $10.1 billion. The study also showed tourism generated an estimated $813 million in state and local taxes. In addition, 115,000 people were employed in Maryland's tourism industry in 2004, mainly in the areas of foodservice, public transportation and lodging.

In Washington County, visitors spent $187.7 million. According to the State's Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Washington County has about 6,000 employed in the tourism industry (Leisure and Hospitality classification).

Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau President Tom Riford, left, accepts a ceremonial grant check from Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

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