Maryland courts motorcoach visits

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NEW YORK -- The number of visitors to Maryland by motorcoach appears to be on the rise.

Statistics for the three-year period from 1995 through 1997 show 1.2 million people visited the state by bus, but not necessarily a touring motorcoach.

"We have some figures that estimate that 2% of our total number of visitors come by coach or are on a group tour," said Wendy Kelman, manager of North American sales for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development. "We also know that the majority of our visitors come from nearby states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York."

Data gleaned from a national mail survey of 20,000 households covering 1995 through 1997, compiled for the state tourism office by TravelScope Data, shows:

  • 70% of the travelers came to Maryland for pleasure; 19% on business.
  • 68% were on a group tour.
  • 56% stayed more than one night.
  • The top three states of origin were Pennsylvania (21%); Virginia (14%) and Maryland (13%).
  • The most popular activities were historic sites/museums (29%); shopping (19%); outdoor activities (10%); visiting beaches (8%), and cultural events and festivals (5%).
  • "This is an exciting time to be in the industry," Kelman said. "We have the Pride of Baltimore II, which is our 'ambassador' ship that will be cruising the Great Lakes this summer," she said. "We hold dockside receptions for potential clients such as tour operators. These will be held between August and September in three cities: Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia." Exact dates for the reception blitzes have not yet been confirmed.

    "We also do a promotional thing called Maryland on the Road, which is a bus sales blitz. We put our private-sector and some county partners in a coach and make sales calls. This makes a nice four-day trip out of this event."

    For example, Kelman said the group would be flown to Cleveland, participate in the dockside Pride of Baltimore reception and then reboard the bus to make some stops at area operators and travel agents. In addition, we have a mini Maryland version of the On the Road effort [three days] that ends in Philadelphia."

    Kelman said MOTD is active in traditional trade shows and conventions such as the American Bus Association, the National Tour Association, Pow Wow and Ontario Motorcoach. "We [the state] will be hosting ABA in partnership with Baltimore in 2001, and this year Baltimore/Maryland will jointly host a dinner in Birmingham [Ala.] at the ABA Marketplace," she said. Maryland Office of Tourism Development, Phone: (410) 767-3400, Fax: (410) 333-6643, Web: www.mdisfun.org, E-mail: [email protected]

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