More than 200 of the state’s top tourism industry professionals recently convened for the 35th Annual Tourism and Travel Summit, which was sponsored by the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC) and the Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD).

The three-day conference, held at Turf Valley Resort & Spa, Ellicott City, included education, networking and award ceremonies that recognized the best in the industry. A line-up of speakers presented information on the latest trends in economics, marketing and grassroots advocacy. Topics ranged from crisis communications to managing change.

The news is good on the economic front, too. “Maryland had a banner year for tourism in 2014. Visitation was up to 38.2 million visitors. Spending increased 6% to $16.4 billion, which generated $2.2 billion in state and local taxes. The revenue generated by our visitors saves every Maryland household $1,000 in taxes,” said Maryland Office of Tourism Executive Director Liz Fitzsimmons.

The MTC has been the leading advocacy organization for Maryland’s tourism industry for more than 50 years. Its mission is to connect, educate and represent Maryland’s tourism industry.

“This truly was the best summit ever, thanks to an amazing and dedicated team of event volunteers and staff,” said Kevin Atticks, Maryland Tourism Coalition chairman and executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association. “The speakers were both educational and inspiring, and the attendees represented all facets of the industry. When the tourism industry comes together, the state of Maryland is the winner.”

The Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit included award ceremonies presented by the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, the MTC and AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Two local concerns were among the winners:

  • Maryland Tourism Coalition Award:
    Best Product or Event (Medium): Howard on Tap, Howard County Tourism & Promotion
  • Maryland Office of Tourism Award:
    Economic Engine Award: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia