Tourism Generates Substantial Return on State Investment

Industry provides 138,600 direct full-time jobs as visitation and revenues continue to increase


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Cox,


BALTIMORE (January 6, 2015) – The Maryland Office of Tourism Development (OTD), an agency of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), announced that tourism in Maryland is on the rise, with a 3.2 percent increase in spending from visitors to the State in 2013. The Fiscal Year 2014 Tourism Development Annual Report highlights a variety of performance measures that evaluate the effectiveness of the State’s tourism efforts as well as the impact the travel and tourism industry has on Maryland’s economy.

“Tourism has been and continues to be a powerful economic engine for Maryland,” said Margot Amelia, executive director, Maryland Office of Tourism Development, DBED. “Nearly 139,000 Marylanders were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2013, with a payroll of $4.6 billion. And the tourism industry not only creates and sustains jobs - it generates substantial tax revenue and business income.”

Maryland tourists and travelers spent $15.4 billion on travel expenses in 2013, based on The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland – Calendar Year 2013 Tourism Satellite Account conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. Local transportation, food and beverage, and lodging each account for about 20 percent of visitor spending, followed by spending on retail, air and entertainment. Visitor spending has grown by more than three percent for four straight years and expanded more than 21 percent since the recession.

While the results of a Tourism Satellite Account are only available on a annual delayed basis, many performance metrics, including the Tourism Promotion Act sales tax codes, are available on a more frequent and timely basis. The Maryland Comptroller’s office reported that sales tax revenue attributable to tourism totaled $401.3 million in Fiscal Year 2014, an increase of 2.4 percent from Fiscal Year 2013. Since Fiscal Year 2007, sales tax revenues attributable to tourism have grown 38.2 percent, far outperforming the 22 percent growth of overall sales tax collections.

“As a small business owner, I analyze every aspect of business with an eye toward return on investment,” commented Greg Shockley, chair of the Maryland Tourism Development Board and owner of Shenanigan’s Irish Pub in Ocean City. “The Board commissioned a leading market research firm to measure the recognition and effectiveness of OTD’s 2011 and 2012 advertising placements. The study concluded that one dollar invested in OTD ads returned $177 dollars in visitor spending, more than $25 in State and local revenue, and $5 in State sales tax revenue.”

The number of visitors traveling in the state has also been on the upswing. Maryland welcomed 36.1 million domestic visitors in 2013, an increase of 2.2 percent over 2012.

"The Annual Report is a testament to our strategic regional promotional efforts," said Amelia “For the past several years, we have focused our marketing efforts on the key feeder markets of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore with year-round advertising in digital and traditional media, based on new consumer research to crystalize key messaging.”

Visitation in 2013 was 33 percent greater than 2007, when the state counted 27.2 million visitors. This 33 percent increase was substantially greater than the 17.2 percent increase in tourism across the nation and greater than the rate of increase for other mid-Atlantic states. Despite the challenging economic climate, Maryland has grown its share of the visitor market 13.3 percent since 2007, outperforming national and regional trends.