2018 Tourism Award Recipients Recognized at Maryland’s Tourism & Travel Summit


Leslie Troy,
Connie Spindler,
Matthew Scales,


BALTIMORE, MD (November 14, 2018) – The Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD) – a division of the Maryland Department of Commerce – and the Maryland Tourism Development Board (MTDB) presented the 2018 Maryland Tourism Awards at the 38th Annual Maryland Tourism & Travel Summit in Cambridge, Maryland. The awards recognize excellence and major contributions in expanding the market of Maryland tourism products, maximizing opportunities to generate overnight stays, leveraging partnerships and showcasing Maryland as an exciting must-see tourism destination.

Commerce Secretary Mike Gill, President of Six Flags America and MTDB Board Chair Rick Howarth and Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts Managing Director Liz Fitzsimmons presented the awards during a luncheon at the conference.

“Tourism is a vital economic driver for the state,” said Secretary Gill. “I am honored to present the 2018 Maryland Tourism Awards to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of our tourism partners who support OTD and MTDB in fulfilling their mission of increasing visitor spending in Maryland.”

“The Maryland Tourism Awards showcase the influential people, programs and organizations that have made an economic impact on our state by encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more here,” said Fitzsimmons.

The award categories and winners are:

Market Expansion Award: Awarded to Visit Howard County and Korean Society of Maryland for successfully offering a Maryland tourism product into a wider new demographic and geographic market.

Maryland’s Korean Way is a cultural experience that surrounds the Korean or Korean-inspired restaurants along Maryland Route 40 known as “Korean Way.” The state-designated five-mile stretch offers visitors who are unfamiliar with Korean culture and cuisine a way to explore a previously underserved area of Howard County.

Maximizing Opportunities Award: The recipients of this award are recognized for successfully taking advantage of an event to generate overnight stays. The award is presented to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area.

The 50th Annual Autumn Glory Festival celebrates the beauty of the local fall foliage with a five-day festival. The festival features a parade, fall foliage driving tours, craft shows, band competitions and much more.

Transactionable Opportunities Award: Awarded to Worcester County Tourism, Delmarva Birding Weekends and Somerset County Tourism for successfully creating tourism products and programming to bring in revenue.

Pelican Tours and Sunset Seabird Safaris are guided tours of waterbird colonies that nest in the Chesapeake Bay near Smith Island. The birding tours offer visitors the experience of viewing and photographing wild and nesting colonial waterbirds, along with highlighting the importance of wildbird conservation. 

Leveraging Partnerships Award: This award is presented to Talbot County Economic Development and Tourism, Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture, Talbot County Frederick Douglass 200 Committee, Anne Arundel County Frederick Douglass 200 Committee, Baltimore City Frederick Douglass 200 Committee, and Visit Baltimore for successfully identifying and packaging complimentary assets, such as byways passing by hotels, restaurants, shopping districts, etc. in order to drive revenue with overnight stays.

The Year of Frederick Douglass commemorates the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s birth. Events throughout the state, which includes lectures, reenactments, celebrations, walking tours and film series shines a light on the legacy Douglass left behind. 

The Maryland Tourism Awards are open to all individuals, private businesses, governmental agencies 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 Commerce. Visitors to the state spent $17.7 billion on travel-related expenses in 2017. The Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.4 billion in state and local taxes, and provided Marylanders with more than 149,000 jobs with a payroll of $6 billion. For more information, visit www.visitmaryland.org.