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Kiwanis Club

January 31, 2007

Can you name all of the state parks in Washington County?

Members of the Hagerstown Kiwanis Club were able to name all but one recently when challenged by Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Riford attended the club's regular Thursday luncheon to update the local business leaders on the county's fourth largest economic sector.

Employing almost 10 percent of the county's workforce, tourism has a unique impact because it generates jobs, but doesn't require new schools or sewage treatment plants, Riford said.

He said jobs in tourism create employment in other fields, usually at a ratio of five to one. For example, he said, five tourism positions might create one in accounting or another support field.

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Riford said tourism in 2006 exceeded 2005 by more than 600,000 visits, most to the county's many museums, parks, and activity areas.

But shopping is important, too, he said. Washington County ranks tops in the state for square foot of retail space per resident.

Riford said this means that most of the visitors to the county's stores come from out of town. Of these, he said, many stay - which helps explain why the county's hotel revenues were up 5 percent.

The Hagerstown Kiwanis Club meets Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. at Richardson's Restaurant on Dual Highway.

For more information about Kiwanis, call Fred Nugent, membership chair, at 301-739-9325.

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