2012 Tourism Award Recipients Recognized at Maryland's Tourism & Travel Summit

2012 Tourism Award Recipients Recognized at Maryland's Tourism & Travel Summit
Hagerstown-Washington County CVB Recognized with State Tourism Award; Cultural Heritage Tourism Award Given to the Newcomer House - a Joint Project of CVB/NPS/HCWHA

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD) - an agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) - and the Maryland Tourism Development Board presented the 2012 Maryland Tourism Awards at the 32nd annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit in Cambridge, Maryland. The awards recognize excellence and major contributions in economic impact, green/sustainable tourism, cultural heritage tourism and elevating Maryland's image as a tourism destination.
DBED Secretary Christian Johansson, DBED Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Film and the Arts Hannah L. Byron, Maryland Office of Tourism Executive Director Margot Amelia and Maryland Tourism Development Board Chair Greg Shockley made the presentations during a luncheon at the conference.
"I am proud to present the 2012 Maryland Tourism Awards," said Secretary Johansson. "Tourism is an important economic driver and it is important that we recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals, businesses, organizations and governmental agencies that have had major impacts on this industry statewide and regionally."
Johansson added, "These awards pay tribute to programs and companies that have ramped up their performance and significantly contributed revenue to the state."
"Success does not come overnight. In some categories, the winners literally spent years coordinating funding sources, staff, volunteers and marketing plans," said Shockley.
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, through a partnership with the Antietam National Battlefield and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, was recognized with a Cultural Heritage Tourism Award. The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area is a state-certified heritage area made up of Washington, Frederick, and Carroll Counties.
The recipient of the Cultural Heritage Tourism Award is recognized for outstanding investments and contributions in stewardship and development of Maryland's cultural heritage product and engagement in regional and statewide tourism initiatives.
The award included:
* Newcomer House - Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Exhibit and Visitor Center: Made possible by a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, Newcomer House has welcomed thousands of visitors from nearly all 50 states as well as Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia since opening in September 2010. The center, which is housed in one of only two historic homes on Antietam National Battlefield that are open to the public, is a popular recreational destination for visitors using the battlefield hiking trail system and is an excellent example of adaptive reuse of an historic structure. The Exhibit and Visitor Welcome Center is financially supported by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the National Park Service and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. See: www.newcomerhouse.org.
According to Tom Riford, the President and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, "The Newcomer House is a great cooperative project of our organization, the National Park Service, and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Being able to utilize this historic home, for exhibits and information, helps tell the story of the entire heritage area, along with the historic sites and various attractions throughout Washington County. I am very pleased that the Newcomer House project received this award."
The Newcomer House first opened in September of 2010. The Heart of the Civil War Heritage area, which encompasses sites in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties, was offered the Newcomer House by the park in 2008. Riford headed the task force of representatives from Antietam, Monocacy, Harpers Ferry and South Mountain parks and others who developed plans for exhibits. The house is managed by the CVB, with volunteers coordinated by the park service.
The Newcomer House has a main visitor center room and three main exhibit rooms. Under the cooperative agreement the National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for the maintenance of the house and grounds. The NPS has provided exterior signage, and the CVB this year installed three new Civil War Trails markers, partly funded through a heritage area grant.
The visitor center volunteers greet visitors and give travel information for the battlefields and such other sites as the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Pry House Field Hospital Museum. The NPS and the Journey through Hallowed Ground has provided training for the volunteers. Also, more exhibit design and fabrication is planned for the Newcomer House.
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the project's financial entity, coordinating procurement and purchasing.
The Newcomer House was built in the 1830's alongside the Boonsboro Pike (Route 34) near Middle Bridge across Antietam Creek outside Sharpsburg. It is within the Antietam National Battlefield.
The 2,000 square foot farmhouse and 2.5 acres were purchased from a private in-holder by the NPS in 2007. The house is adjacent to a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee and also near the Pry House. It witnessed the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862. The house can be seen in historic photographs taken immediately following the battle.
The Maryland Tourism Awards are open to all individuals, private businesses and non-profit organizations offering a tourism product or service in Maryland. A panel of judges representing Maryland's tourism community reviews each nomination.
More than 280 tourism professionals from Maryland and surrounding states attended the 32nd annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit sponsored by The Maryland Tourism Council, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Tourism Development Board. The summit was held on Nov. 14-16 at the AAA Four Diamond Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge, MD.
Nationally recognized speakers presented a wide range of programs on current industry issues such as digital marketing, branding, the truth behind motivation, trends in destination marketing and why travel matters.
Anirban Basu of the Maryland based Sage Policy Group also shared his insights on recent and emerging economic trends as well as the impact of the recent elections on tourism and travel.
Special Guest, Delegate Norman Conway, Chair of the Appropriations Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates provided his thoughts on what to expect in the upcoming General Assembly session.
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. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes and provided more than 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents.
About the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create growth for the local economy by promoting, developing and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (www.heartofthecivilwar.org), and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://hallowedground.org). Please see the exhibits at the Newcomer House on Route 34 at Antietam Creek. The Exhibit and Visitor Welcome Center is financially supported by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the National Park Service and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. See: www.newcomerhouse.org. For more information about Hagerstown and Washington County, see: www.marylandmemories.com.

This information was provided by the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitor's Bureau - www.marylandmemories.com