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Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau shares tourism statistics

May 27, 2012

Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, was joined by Julie Rohm, chairwoman of the CVB’s board of directors, at a recent presentation to the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

The annual update included a presentation of significant tourism initiatives and efforts in 2011 and 2012 to date. The presentation also included the organization’s annual financial audit presentation.

CVB board members Clarence Horst and Dan Spedden also attended the presentation, along with CVB Director of Operations Jolene Thomas and CVB Director of Sales Betsy De Vore.

The CVB reported that for 2011, local hotel occupancies increased slightly over the year before. Also, most attractions, including parks and museums, reported an increase in visitation.

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Additionally, the CVB reported that for the first quarter of 2012, lodging occupancy was up 12.4 percent, and for the running 12 months occupancy is up 4.8 percent.

Also for 2011, the county’s lodging tax was up 4.7 percent of the year before.

Rohm discussed the current financial state of the organization, and highlighted some of the CVB’s successes in 2011, and several initiatives in 2012.

The CVB has produced marketing material, including a new visitors guide, a new calendar of events, new bike maps, new brochures and new advertising. Also, the CVB is working hard to promote the activities and events taking place during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

The organization has produced an online flip-book visitors guide and several new marketing pieces for the Civil War anniversary.

Tourism is the second-largest industry in Washington County based on the number of leisure and hospitality jobs, taxes collected and visitor spending, according to a news release from Riford. Last year, the tourism industry created more than $60 million in total tax (federal, state and local) revenue. There are more than 6,200 people working in the tourism industry locally, and visitors spent nearly $300 million, the release said.

About 2 million overnight guests visited Washington County last year, and there were millions more day-trippers who came to the county, the release said.

In a Washington County Board of Commissioners proclamation presented to the CVB, the commissioners declared May 5 to 13 to be Washington County Tourism Week, and praised the CVB for helping the local economy and attracting visitors to the area.

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