Tourism: A Major Driver of Maryland’s Economy

Tourism Payroll and Visitor Spending Increases 6 percent in 2014


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Troy,


BALTIMORE (January 12, 2016) – The Maryland Office of Tourism Development, part of the Maryland Department of Commerce, today announced that tourism in Maryland is on the rise, with 6 percent increases in tourism employee payroll and visitor spending to the State in 2014. These and other insights about the impact of the travel and tourism industry in Maryland are contained within the Fiscal Year 2015 Tourism Development Annual Report.

“Tourism continues to be a powerful economic engine for Maryland,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Gill. “More than 140,000 Marylanders were directly employed in the tourism industry in 2014, making it the 10th largest private sector employer in the state. These jobs supported a payroll of $5.4 billion, which saw a 6 percent increase from the year before.”

Maryland visitors spent $16.4 billion on travel expenses in 2014, based on The Economic Impact of Tourism in Maryland – Calendar Year 2014 Tourism Satellite Account conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company. More than 60 percent of visitor spending takes place in three areas: transportation, food and beverage, and lodging.  In each of the last three years, visitor spending has grown by more than 3 percent and in 2014 generated another $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenues.

“From restaurants with celebrity chefs preparing gourmet meals, to historical sites where Marylanders played a role in building America, to indoor and outdoor activities to please any athlete or fan, Maryland offers an array of entertainment options for visitors,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, executive director of the Office of Tourism Development. “The Star-Spangled Spectacular, the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, a sunny summer in Ocean City, and 200 inches of snow in Western Maryland helped make 2014 a banner year for tourism in Maryland.”

While the results of a Tourism Satellite Account are only available on an annual retrospective 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 tourism activity generated $426 million in sales taxes in fiscal year 2015, up 6 percent from fiscal year 2014. Since fiscal year 2007, sales tax revenues attributable to tourism have grown 46.7 percent, far outperforming the 28 percent growth of overall sales tax collections.

The number of visitors traveling in the state has also been on the upswing. Maryland welcomed 38.2 million domestic visitors in 2014, an increase of 5.8 percent over 2013. Visitation in 2014 was 40.5 percent greater than 2007, when the state counted 27.2 million visitors. This 40.5 percent increase in the state’s annual visitors was substantially greater than the 25.7 percent increase in tourism nationwide.

About Maryland Commerce:
The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit