The mission of the public relations unit of Maryland’s Office of Tourism Development is to assist qualified journalists develop travel stories about Maryland’s destinations, attractions, accommodations, restaurants and travel-related businesses.
To serve you better, we have developed the following set of guidelines as a way of ensuring that all journalists receive equal treatment and that each has as pleasant an experience as possible.
For the purposes of these guidelines, we have divided journalists into two categories: a) those participating in a group familiarization tour organized and paid for by the state, and b) those traveling independently – either on assignment for a publication or on their own.
We appreciate your willingness to abide by these guidelines.
1. All journalists will be asked to fill out an application. The application includes a request for copies and or links to recently published travel stories and/or an assignment letter.
2. All journalists seeking assistance in planning an independent tour of Maryland must give the state’s Office of Tourism Development at least two weeks’ notice of their intentions. This is a matter of courtesy to the private-sector partners (attractions, hotels, restaurants, event organizers, etc.) who will help make the trip a success, as well as an aid to scheduling PR staff time.
3. a) On an organized press trip, all transportation will be provided.
b) Independent journalists will be responsible for their own transportation to, from and around Maryland.
4. a) A pre-determined itinerary, accommodations, admission to attractions, expert guides and meals will also be included.
b) The public relations staff will attempt to negotiate complimentary or reduced-rate arrangements for independent writers but cannot guarantee success. Arrangements for such writers will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and will often depend on seasonal availability, holidays, city-wide events, budgets, etc.
5. Complimentary accommodations will not include any incidentals (i.e. phone charges, non-complimentary WIFI, room service, in-room moves, parking, valet, tips, etc.)
6. Complimentary meals may or may not include alcohol depending on the policies of your host destination.
7. Some Maryland destinations have VIP or media passes available for qualified journalists that will provide free entry to area attractions.
8. Please note that any offer of assistance is extended to working media only; we will not provide assistance if the primary purpose of your trip is for leisure or holiday travel with your friends and/or family.
9. a) Most group press tours are space-limited by design, therefore, no spouses, children, parents, significant others or friends may participate in an organized press tour unless specifically invited by your hosts.
b) Journalists traveling independently sometimes wish to bring friends and family members with them. However, the presence of these guests often makes it impossible for the state to negotiate complimentary admissions, accommodations or meals. Such courtesies are wholly left to the discretion of our contacts at the attractions, accommodations, restaurants and events, and, if they are unable to supply gratis services, the journalist agrees to be responsible for any costs incurred by the extra traveler(s).
10. As a matter of courtesy, the state requests that all journalists hosted by the State of Maryland please send at least one copy of any article(s) or program(s) generated as a result of the visit. Details about circulation, reach, audience and ad rates are appreciated as well.