The USS Zumwalt Commissioning Committee Thanks Deputy Secretary of Commerce Ben Wu

New Study Shows Economic Impact of Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts

ABA Announces Baltimore for 2021 Convention

Maryland Office of Tourism Takes Silver in NTA’s 2018 “Courier Distinguished Dozen”

MDOT Announces Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects

Maryland Office of Tourism Receives Network to Freedom Grant

Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards A Great Success

There’s Still Time to Shop Local for the Holidays at the MSAC Online Marketplace

The October Maryland Tourism Monitor is Here

Ben Wu, Deputy Secretary of Commerce receiving honors from the USS Zumwalt Commissioning Committee
​The USS Zumwalt Commissioning Committee Thanks Deputy Secretary of Commerce Ben Wu

In appreciation of the Maryland Department of Commerce’s efforts in promoting and producing the October 2016 commissioning ceremony of the USS Zumwalt, Rear Admirals (Retired) Scott E. Sanders and Frank B. Thorp presented Deputy Secretary of Commerce Ben Wu with a framed photograph of the cutting-edge new U.S. Navy destroyer. The commissioning of the vessel, touted as the most powerful and advanced warship ever to set sail, drew international media and thousands of guests to Baltimore as part of the inaugural Maryland Fleet Week & Airshow Baltimore, which also featured performances by the Navy’s famed Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Fleet Week returns in October of 2018 with Navy grey hulls on hand offering tours, and an airshow over Fort McHenry, this time featuring the U.S. Airforce’s legendary Thunderbirds and their red, white and black F-16s. Stay tuned for more information regarding Maryland Fleet Week & Airshow Baltimore 2018.

Pictured: (Left to right) Rear Admiral (Ret.) Scott E. Sanders; Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Ben Wu; and Rear Admiral (Ret.) Frank B. Thorp.

New Study Shows Economic Impact of Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts
  MSAC 50th Anniversary Logo

A study released this month by Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) on the economic impact of Maryland’s 25 designated Arts and Entertainment Districts shows continued growth. This year’s study is RESI’s fourth on the districts, and the numbers are impressive. From 2014 to 2016, the districts have seen an overall increase of 2,617 jobs; a $60.5 million increase in wages; a growth of $23.5 million in tax revenue; and a rise of $261.6 million in Gross Domestic Product.

“Maryland’s A&E District program is showing great benefits as it helps artists and arts organizations contribute to the rich cultural fabric of our state and gives counties and municipalities a way to harness the well-documented power of the arts in stimulating economic development,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “The 25 Maryland districts are a win-win for Maryland citizens, the arts community, and the state’s economy.”

Maryland’s A&E Districts are spread through 15 counties and Baltimore City, with Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill designating Oakland Renaissance the program’s 25th district earlier this year. Each district works to promote its unique character while bolstering arts activity, promoting livability, and encouraging tourism.

ABA Announces Baltimore for 2021 Convention
On December 12, American Bus Association (ABA) – the industry leader advancing North American motorcoach, travel and tourism – announced Baltimore as the site of its 2021 ABA Annual Meeting & Marketplace. This will be the second time the ABA has held its meeting in the city. American Bus Association’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace is the number one group travel show in North America with the greatest return on investment for its attendees. In 2017, ABA’s meeting in Cleveland welcomed more than 3,400 tour operators, travel industry suppliers and exhibitors and generated approximately $115.9 million dollars in booked business during the event and immediately afterward.

"We're excited to welcome thousands of American Bus Association members back to Maryland in 2021," said Governor Larry Hogan. "Last year, Maryland welcomed more than 4 million bus tour visitors which generated nearly $2 billion into our economy. This conference will give us the opportunity to increase our share of the group tour market, and also showcase Baltimore's rich heritage and outstanding cultural attractions." The dates of the 2021 Marketplace will be Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2021.

Pictured: Members of OTD, Visit Baltimore, the American Bus Association, and industry partners gathered for the announcement.

Maryland Office of Tourism Takes Silver in NTA’s 2018 “Courier Distinguished Dozen”
  Courier's 2018 Distinguished Dozen Award
In the December 2017 edition of the National Tour Association’s Courier Magazine, the Maryland Office of Tourism was awarded the silver medal for North American DMO Partner. “NTA tour operators work with DMOs and suppliers to create unique and innovative itineraries that really appeal to travelers,” said Bob Rouse, Courier editor. “And the Distinguished Dozen program gives operators a chance to recognize their valued partners.” Awardees were chosen by NTA tour operators who cast their votes based on quality of product, level of customer service, value to customers and dedication to relationship building.

“I am particularly proud of this award, as we were selected by our industry partners,” said Rich Gilbert, Travel Trade Sales Manager, OTD. “We value our tour operators and their contribution to Maryland’s vital tourism industry. The fact that the industry recognizes our efforts and appreciates our amazing tourism product is a true honor.”

MDOT Announces Funding for Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
  2 bicyclist riding over a bridge.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced $20.3 million in grants to support improvements for bicycle and pedestrian safety and connectivity projects across the state. The funding includes $2.1 million in state funds from the Maryland Bikeways Program; $478,000 in federal funding from the Recreational Trails Program; and $17.8 million in federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program, and will support 43 Maryland projects being led by transportation agencies, local jurisdictions, and nonprofit organizations.

Supported projects include a 700-foot bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Patuxent River, linking the WB&A Trail in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties; support for Maryland’s Bikeshare system; a new bicycle route in Ocean City; the stabilization of off-road and snowmobile trails in Potomac-Garrett State Forest; repairs to 12 miles of the C&O Canal Towpath near Sharpsburg; and connectivity enhancements to the Aberdeen MARC Station. “By investing in improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists across the state, we are providing more transportation options for people of all ages as part of Maryland’s balanced transportation network,” said state Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. For more information, follow this link to the MDOT website.

Maryland Office of Tourism Receives Network to Freedom Grant
  National Underground Railroad Network To Freedom Logo
The Maryland Office of Tourism was awarded a $20,000 grant from the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program to produce a video about the Underground Railroad in Maryland. The video will inspire viewers about the unique conditions of slavery and the Underground Railroad in Maryland and feature some of its prominent leaders and conductors. The short video will also motivate viewers to explore the stories more fully by visiting Network to Freedom sites and programs all across the state, and will reside on Currently Maryland has 81 sites, programs and facilities that are recognized by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Program.
Maryland Traditions Presents 11th Annual Heritage Awards
  Documentary story quilter Joan Gaither. Photo by Edwin Remsberg Photographs.
The 11th annual Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards were held Saturday, December 2, at the Proscenium Theatre on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The event honors stewards of Maryland folklife in three categories: person, place, and tradition. This year’s person was documentary story quilter Joan Gaither of Anne Arundel County, who gave an onstage interview surrounded by four of her larger-than-life quilts, which document the histories and lives of Maryland’s African-American communities. The Baltimore American Indian Center was this year’s place recipient, and was honored as a center of community traditions with the premiere of Talk Together, a documentary telling the story of the center since its founding nearly 50 years ago. The final award, in traditions, went to the Skipjack Race and Festival of Deal Island in Somerset County. Skipjack Capt. Harold “Stoney” Whitelock and Jack Willing were on hand to share their experiences as part of Maryland’s maritime culture in front of a photographic display of this year’s race.

The night’s performances included a country blues concert by the Phil Wiggins Blues House Party. Bandleader and harmonica player Wiggins, of Montgomery County, is the recipient of a 2017 NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Maryland Traditions is the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council. Since 1974, state-employed folklorists have worked to identify, document, support, and present Maryland folklife through grants, awards, festivals, and events such as the Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards. For information, contact Maryland Traditions director Chad Edward Buterbaugh at 410-767-6450 or

Pictured: Documentary story quilter Joan Gaither. Photo by Edwin Remsberg Photographs.

There’s Still Time to Shop Local for the Holidays at the
MSAC Online Marketplace
  Hand Made Wooden Carved Bowls
The Maryland State Arts Council’s (MSAC) online Maryland Artist Marketplace is the perfect holiday shopping tool. Featured on MSAC’s website, the Marketplace is a one-stop shopping destination for unique works by Maryland jewelers, photographers, glass blowers, painters, sculptors, musicians, weavers, writers, and more. The Maryland Artist Marketplace features a comprehensive search engine allowing shoppers to search by category, price range, county of origin and artist. The marketplace is designed to make it easy for those who wish to buy local and support Maryland businesses while providing a tool for consumers seeking to discover new artists. Artists who wish to sell through the site can opt-in through their existing Maryland Artist Registry account or, for first time creators, by creating an account through the registry. Follow this link and start your holiday shopping today.
The October Maryland Tourism Monitor is Here
  Tourism Works for Maryland Logo
According to the latest Maryland Tourism Monitor, Welcome Center visitation and social media followers continue to climb (17.1 percent and 22.5 percent year-over-year, respectively), despite an 18.6 percent decrease in advertising expenditures; and a focus on driving web users to the websites of Maryland businesses has led to an 18.1 percent increase in digital referrals to industry partners. Tourism tax categories rose 3.8 percent from the prior year, with hotels leading the way with a 7 percent rise; and leisure and hospitality employment has showed growth of 2.6 percent to nearly 290,000 full time and full time equivalent jobs. For a full roundup of Maryland’s latest tourism numbers, follow this link to the October Maryland Tourism Monitor.
Back to Top Back to Top
Plan Your Holidays at
Looking for that perfect holiday adventure? Still need to plan your New Year’s Eve celebration? Your friends at OTD have already done the work of finding great holiday performances, parades, shopping, light displays, and more, all for you. So hop on over to, and check out all of our great holiday events pages.
Back to Top