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MD Tourism Records Banner Year for 2005 with $10.7 Billion in Economic Impact

MD Tourism Records Banner Year for 2005 with $10.7 Billion in Economic Impact

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announced October 31 that Maryland's tourism industry is continuing to pump billions into Maryland's economy, with the economic impact of tourism for calendar year 2005 climbing to nearly $10.7 billion. That figure is up from $10 billion the previous calendar year, according to a study released today by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, an agency of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. The study also showed tourism generated an estimated $850 million in state and local taxes, up from $813 million in 2004. In addition, nearly 116,000 people were employed in Maryland's tourism industry in 2005, mainly in the areas of foodservice, public transportation and lodging. Earlier this year, Governor Ehrlich announced that Maryland welcomed 27 million visitors in 2005.
"Maryland's tourism industry continues to be one of the state's top economic engines. Not only does it provide nearly 116,000 jobs and tremendous cost savings for Maryland taxpayers, a healthy tourism economy is also critical to our quality of life," said Governor Ehrlich. "Over the last four years, we have launched aggressive advertising campaigns, invested in our tourism infrastructure and partnered with web-based travel agency Travelocity to promote Maryland. This is further proof that our efforts are paying off."
The study, which is compiled for Maryland's tourism office by the Travel Industry Association of America, also showed that expenditures by Maryland's international visitors have jumped by more than 13 percent to $387 million, up from $342 million in 2004. Maryland tourism officials work in partnership with their counterparts in Washington, D.C. and Virginia through CRUSA, or Capital Region USA, to promote the region to foreign visitors.
"I am extremely proud of our efforts to attract more and more visitors each year, especially our increase last year in spending by international visitors," said Business and Economic Development Secretary Aris Melissaratos. "It is important that we continue to market Maryland globally as a top tourism destination. On the average, international visitors will stay at least two weeks and spend significantly more money."
The study also showed that visitors to Maryland spent the most money ($2.6 billion) on foodservice, which includes restaurants, grocery stores and other eating and drinking establishments. Expenditures on public transportation, which included travel by air, intercity bus, rail, boat or ship and taxicab or limousine service, ranked second at more than $2.39 billion. Lodging (hotel, motel, campground and ownership or rental of vacation homes) ranked third with an estimated $1.9 billion spent.
Maryland's economy, especially the tourism industry, is continuing to show tremendous growth. The most current figures show that job growth in the leisure and hospitality sector grew by 2.1 percent between July 2005 and July 2006. Most of the job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, where employment grew by 3,000 jobs over the year. Arts, entertainment and recreation employment grew by 1,900 jobs and accommodations added 400 jobs. In addition, Maryland hoteliers reported tax receipts were up 23 percent over the year.
The Maryland Office of Tourism Development promotes Maryland as a great state in which to tour and travel, as well as to hold meetings and conventions. Tourism is one of Maryland's fastest growing industries and largest economic generators. To learn more about Maryland tourism, go to
www.visitmaryland.org.

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