Visit Baltimore, the official sales and marketing organization for Baltimore, reported on its sales and marketing results and the impact of tourism on the regional economy for fiscal year 2017.

According to data from Longwoods International, Baltimore welcomed 25.9 million visitors in calendar year 2016, marking a  2.8 percent increase over 2015 with gains in both overnight (10.6 million) and day trip (15.3 million) categories. These visitors generated a record $5.6 billion in direct spending, contributing $705 million in local city and state taxes, a 3.8 percent increase over 2015 with a notable five percent increase in food and beverage spending in alignment with Visit Baltimore’s strategic focus on promoting the city’s culinary offerings. The meetings and tourism industry remains a major employer for the region, creating or sustaining more than 85,000 jobs, activity generating $1.5 billion in taxes and fees for the state and city.

In fiscal year 2017, Visit Baltimore booked a total of 385 events for future years, confirming 30 citywide conventions, and generating $332 million in future economic impact through 2032. Additionally, this fiscal year the city welcomed 53 conventions and trade shows, inclusive of 22 citywide conventions, to the Baltimore Convention Center, surpassing the last three fiscal years’. Marked by high-impact meetings, the sales team attracted a number of industry meetings from top vertical markets including those in the scientific, technical, health, medical and education markets in fiscal year 2017.

Organizational Highlights for FY17

Visit Baltimore continued to invest in new sales and marketing initiatives designed to increase the city’s competitive position and attract additional visitation in fiscal year 2017 and beyond. According to a press release, key highlights included:

  • Elevated Baltimore’s awareness in the international market through strategic efforts surrounding IPW, the travel industry’s premiere international marketplace, conducting more than 75 sales and media appointments and hosting pre and post event familiarization tours immersing top tier international media and group tour operators in the destination.
  • Continued strategic culinary marketing, notably running a two-page advertorial spread highlighting Baltimore’s culinary scene across several top-tier publications including New York Times “T” Magazine’s Summer Travel issue and in the Baltimore, DC & Philadelphia June issues of Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Real Simple.
  • Presented the inaugural Baltimore Legends & Legacies Jubilee during Black History Month, an event gathering 16 of the city’s top cultural attractions under one roof to celebrate the city’s rich African American heritage and culture while encouraging inclusivity and community engagement.
  • Activated significant promotion for Light City Baltimore helping to drive a 30 percent increase in out-of-state visitors over 2016 attendance figures through public relations and marketing efforts.

Compiled by Baltimore editor Jeffrey Davis, managing partner of Baltimore marketing communications firm Van Eperen.

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