Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) August 09, 2012
The Maryland Office of Tourism today unveiled details of a multi-channel effort to provide visitors with compelling information about travel in the state, including two new print publications showcasing Maryland’s scenic byways, a Civil War Trails mobile application and a television advertising campaign. Maryland’s ongoing efforts to boost tourism have resulted in a steady upward trend in visitor volume since 2007 and a 17 percent increase in market share over the last five years, outperforming regional and national trends.
“Tourism continues to be a major contributor to the strength of Maryland’s economy and we are attracting visitors at a pace that outperforms neighboring states and the nation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The continued growth of the tourism industry in Maryland is a sign that we are moving forward– creating jobs, finding new opportunities to grow and sharing with the world all that our State has to offer, including 18 scenic byways and numerous Civil War sites.”
Today’s announcement included details of the 64-page Maryland Scenic Byways guide and companion map, a collaborative effort of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration, the Maryland Office of Tourism and the National Scenic Byways Program. The two publications feature information and colorful images of each of Maryland’s 18 byways, which span nearly 2,500 miles of routes and views throughout the state.
“Driving tours are extremely popular among travelers in Maryland and this publication will guide them through some of the most picturesque and historic landmarks in the state,” said Melinda B. Peters, state highway administrator. “Among the highlights of the guide are the Star-Spangled Banner Trail, which revisits the days of the War of 1812, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which commemorates Tubman’s role in leading dozens of African-Americans from slavery to safety.”
The publication also includes practical, user-friendly information about restaurants, accommodations, gas stations and ATMs on each trail. It will be available at state welcome centers and county visitor centers or through 866-MD-WELCOME or VisitMaryland.org.
The Office of Tourism also shared details of a new Civil War mobile application, designed to create an engaging Maryland Civil War Trails experience for mobile-device users. The app will help visitors explore the state’s rich Civil War history and connect them with events, programs, businesses and services located on or near Civil War Trail routes and sites. It will be introduced September 4 at the Frederick County world premier of The Heart of the Civil War, a film that illuminates the border state experiences of mid-Maryland during the Civil War.
Underscoring the success of the byways program and other strategic promotional efforts by the Office of Tourism, Maryland recently reported a 26 percent increase in visitation since 2007, representing an additional 7.2 million visitors from 2007 to 2011, according to a national survey of U.S. travelers conducted by D.K. Shifflet and Associates, a leading tourism industry research firm. Maryland also welcomed 34.4 million domestic travelers in 2011, and experienced growth in all segments, including business and leisure trips, as well as day trips and overnights. These numbers outperform national and regional trends.
“Visitors continue to choose Maryland as a vacation destination and we continue to develop new ways to connect travelers with the information they need to plan and enjoy their stay here,” said Margot Amelia, executive director for the Maryland Office of Tourism.
While Maryland has been communicating year-round to prospective visitors in print, radio and online channels, the Office of Tourism is launching its first fall television advertising campaign in several years. The television spots, which highlight the state’s 18 byways and Civil War driving tours, will debut on August 13 and will appear in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Recently reported data shows that the state welcomed 34.4 million domestic visitors in 2011. Visitors in 2010 spent nearly $13.1 billion on travel-related expenses – generating close to $1.9 billion in state and local taxes and providing 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents. Visitor spending data for 2011 will be available later this year.
About Maryland’s Scenic Byways
The State Highway Administration’s Maryland Scenic Byways Program administers Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds for planning, interpretation, promotion, enhancements and preservation projects along 18 scenic byways. The program’s mission is to enhance the quality of life and pride in local communities as well as the visitor appeal by identifying and promoting as well as encouraging the responsible management and preservation of the state’s most scenic, cultural and historic roads and surrounding resources. SHA maintains and operates 16,000 lane miles of state, US and interstate highways across Maryland.