Visitors to Maryland spent nearly $17 billion on travel expenses in 2015, up 3.5 percent from the previous year, according to a report released today by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, an agency of the Maryland Department of Commerce. The report also found that Maryland welcomed 40.5 million visitors in 2015, a six percent increase from 2014, which also outpaced the growth of national visitation by a full percentage point.
“Tourism continues to be a powerful industry in Maryland, providing a significant number of jobs and economic benefits for our citizens,” said Governor Larry Hogan, who is a staunch advocate for the industry and was the driving force behind the reopening in the last year of two previously closed Maryland welcome centers. “The state and its partners are continuing to expand the visitor experience, and each year, we welcome more and more visitors to Maryland.”
According to the report, 60 percent of visitor spending focused on three areas: food and beverage, lodging, and transportation. This spending has generated $2.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. More than 143,000 Marylanders were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2015, making it the 10th largest private sector employer in the state. The industry supported a payroll of $5.7 billion, which is an increase of 6 percent from 2014.
“Tourism plays a critical role in Maryland’s economic development story, from workforce attraction to corporate expansion and retention,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “In addition, a vibrant tourism economy showcases our outstanding quality of life that makes Maryland a great place to live and work.”
“Maryland has continued to delight visitors while increasing its product offerings with new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and wineries,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, executive director of Maryland’s Office of Tourism Development. “The state and its partners began expanding the traditional marketing footprint of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, which is paying off with increased visitation and visitor spending.”
“The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland – Calendar Year 2015 Tourism Satellite Account” was conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company. While the results of this report are only available on an annual retrospective basis, many performance metrics, including the Tourism Promotion Act sales tax codes, are available on a more frequent and timely basis.