Visitors to Maryland spent more than $18 billion in calendar year 2018, up 2.1 percent from the previous year and 47 percent from 2009.

The announcement was made by Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz at the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit held at the Rocky Gap Casino Resort.

The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland, a report conducted by Tourism Economics, shows that visitor spending went up by $370 million to $18.1 billion and generated $2.5 billion in state and local taxes, saving every Maryland citizen $1,140 in annual taxes.

Visitor spending in Maryland has continued to grow every year since 2009.

In early 2019 the Maryland Office of Tourism, an agency of Maryland Commerce, launched their ‘Open for It’ branding campaign, which included marketing and advertising the state’s unique tourism assets in nine key markets around the country.

A study of the effectiveness of the campaign showed that more than 53,000 trips to Maryland were generated by travelers seeing the ads, and that for every dollar spent on the campaign, $31 came back into Maryland’s economy.

Tourism remains the 10th largest private sector employer in Maryland with a growth of 1,000 tourism jobs to 150,000.

While overall visitation decreased slightly from 42.5 million to 41.9 million in 2018, the decrease was offset by increases in visitor per-trip spending which were driven by longer stays at more in-state destinations.

Most of Maryland’s visitors come by car but BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport served a record 27.15 million passengers in 2018.

“Maryland’s aggressive tourism marketing strategy is showing significant results with consistent increases in spending at our state’s lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation and transportation providers,” said Secretary Schulz. “The state and our tourism industry partners are working hard to ensure that Maryland is truly ‘Open for Business.’ ”