2012 Tourism Award Recipients Recognized
at Maryland's Tourism & Travel Summit
BALTIMORE (November 29, 2012) – The Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD) – an agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) – and the Maryland Tourism Development Board presented their 2012 Maryland Tourism Awards at the 32nd annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit in Cambridge, Maryland. The awards recognize excellence and major contributions in economic impact, green/sustainable tourism, cultural heritage tourism and elevating Maryland's image as a tourism destination.
DBED Secretary Christian Johansson, DBED Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Film and the Arts Hannah L. Byron, Maryland Office of Tourism Executive Director Margot Amelia and Maryland Tourism Development Board Chair Greg Shockley made the presentations during a luncheon at the conference.
"I am proud to present the 2012 Maryland Tourism Awards," said Secretary Johansson. "Tourism is an important economic driver and it is important that we recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals, businesses, organizations and governmental agencies that have had major impacts on this industry statewide and regionally."
Johansson added, "These awards pay tribute to programs and companies that have ramped up their performance and significantly contributed revenue to the state."
"Success does not come overnight. In some categories, the winners literally spent years coordinating funding sources, staff, volunteers and marketing plans," said Shockley.
The award categories and the winners are:
Cultural Heritage Tourism Award: The recipients of this award are recognized for outstanding investments and contributions in stewardship and development of Maryland's cultural heritage product and engagement in regional and statewide tourism initiatives.
• Frederick Douglass Honor Society (FDHS): The Society worked tirelessly to produce "Douglass Returns", a three-day celebration honoring Talbot County's native son, writer and orator Frederick Douglass. The event included the unveiling of a statue located in historic Easton, and the proclamation declaring June 2011 through June 2012 the Year of Frederick Douglass. FDHS formed partnerships with the Academy Art Museum and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to host two additional events.
• Newcomer House – Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area Exhibit and Visitor Center: Made possible by a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, Newcomer House has welcomed thousands of visitors from nearly all 50 states as well as Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and Scandinavia since opening in September 2010. The center, which is housed in one of only two historic homes on Antietam National Battlefield that are open to the public, is a popular recreational destination for visitors using the battlefield hiking trail system and is an excellent example of adaptive reuse of an historic structure.
Economic Engine Award: Awarded for job creation; positive economic impact to the region and state; and exemplary contributions to Maryland's tourism industry.
• Allegany County Tourism/Trail Town Program Certified Trail Friendly Program: The Great Allegheny Passage is a rail trail stretching 150 miles from Cumberland to near Pittsburgh, PA with 21 miles located within Maryland. The Certified Trail Friendly Program encourages 75,000 annual trail users to patronize participating businesses with confidence that the employees and owners are familiar with trail users' special needs and interests. The program has certified 18 local businesses in Cumberland and Frostburg (identified via displayed decals and posters) through training on basic trail knowledge, access and local history; assisted in creating or retaining 36 jobs; and increased program participants' share of trail revenue by 14 percent.
Green/Sustainable Tourism Award: The recipients of this award have embraced sustainable tourism through green practices including waste reduction, recycling, energy and water conservation; have achieved significant cost savings; and promote their green practices to their employees and guests.
• Home2Suites by Hilton, Lexington Park: One of 12 Home2Suites that have opened nationally, the Lexington Park location is the first Silver LEED certified property in St. Mary's County. The hotel was built with an underground parking garage to reduce the building footprint, constructed with a white roof and tinted windows to reflect the sun's penetrating rays, and landscaped with indigenous plants to reduce the need for irrigation. Interior appointments include low-flow showers and faucets, CFL light bulbs, recycled flooring, carpets and furniture. Guests may participate via recycling stations on each floor, optional linen changing and optional cleaning services. The hotel is projected to save 32 percent in annual energy costs.
• Turf Valley Resort: A family-owned and operated business, Turf Valley Resort organized an Environmental Team with members of each department on the property contributing to their environmental goals, progress and results. The property currently composts 100,000 pounds of food waste per year; has converted to paperless invoicing for members and contract groups, paystubs and in-house manager reports; added clearly marked mixed recyclable containers to the hotel and conference center lobbies, entrance area, meetings and guest rooms; and they maintain vegetative buffers around streams and ponds, collecting wash-down water and using it for irrigation.
Visit Maryland Award: The major goal of the Maryland Office of Tourism is to increase tourism revenue from its visitors. The recipient of this award has demonstrated outstanding investment and performance in improving and promoting Maryland's image as a travel destination.
• Star-Spangled Sailabration Marketing and Media Committee: The City of Baltimore hosted more than 40 U.S. and foreign navy vessels, tall ships from around the globe and the Blue Angels from June 13-19, 2012 as the kick-off event for the War of 1812 Bicentennial. Multiple agencies formed a marketing and media committee designed to publicize the event and operate a media center. With an amalgamated budget of approximately $2 million targeting national, international and regional media, the committee tallied more than 402 million gross impressions and generated an advertising equivalency of $14.4 million. The event generated an economic impact of $166 million and attracted more than 1.5 million visitors.
The Maryland Tourism Awards are open to all individuals, private businesses and non-profit organizations offering a tourism product or service in Maryland. A panel of judges representing Maryland's tourism community reviews each nomination.
About Maryland Tourism ###
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes and provided more than 130,000 jobs to Maryland residents.