Visit Frederick says both visitors and spending were up last year.
Frederick, Md (KM) Tourism continues to be a major industry in Maryland. A report released last week called the Economic Impact of Tourism in the state says 419-million people visited Maryland last year, which is a slight decline from 2017 when 42.5-million visitors came to the state. But spending by tourists offset the decline in the number of visitors. The report says visitors spent more than $18-billion in 2018, a 2.1% increase from the previous year.
“At the same time, I’m happy to say that’s not the case in Frederick County. We had more visitors and more spending,” says John Fieseler, Executive Director of Visit Frederick.,
He says more than two-million people traveled 50-miles or more to visit Frederick County last year. They spent $428.3-million in 2018, which is a 4.4% increase from the previous year.
Fieseler says visitors come to Frederick County for a variety of reason, not just to see the historic sites. “It continues to be true to today that the people that traveled the furthest to come here are coming because of our history, particularly Civil War,” he says. “Within the immediate region, though, it’s wineries, breweries distilleries; it’s the unique downtown shops. It’s outdoor recreation with the growing trail network”
Right now, Fieseler says, the majority of the visitors are day trippers, but the number of people who stay overnight is almost equal to the those who only come for one day,and then leave. “But the split between day trippers and overnight is still about 54% day trippers, and 46% overnight,” he says. “It’s getting closer to 50-50. We think that’s a pretty good balance.”
Visit Frederick says 6,881 people have jobs in Frederick County supported by visitor spending. That spending also resulted in $120.1-million in combined federal, state and local tax revenues.
The organization also says Frederick County was number 11 in visitor spending in the 1990’s. That ranking has climbed to number eight since then.
He says it’s possible that next year visitors and spending may not be as much as in 2019. “What we’re looking forward to is that growth will continue. But whereas this year we saw 4.4% growth, maybe that will be a little less in the coming years,” Fieseler says.
While not predicting a recession is coming, Fieseler says economists he has heard from say the economy could be heading for a slowdown. “It’s been such an extended period of growth that everybody gets nervous,” he says. “But the economists will tell you that economic booms or economic recoveries don’t die of old age. Just because we haven’t had a recession in a long time, doesn’t’ mean one’s inevitable. At the same, they seem to be hedging their bets and saying it’s possible.”
By Kevin McManus