Tourism initiatives brought a total of 34 events to Wicomico County and infused $43.1 million into the local and state economy in FY14, an 11 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, county officials announced.
Of this amount, the direct impact was $27 million, said County Executive Rick Pollitt.
“More and more people are coming to realize what we’ve known for years. We live in a very special place,” Pollitt said. “Tourism is an essential component of our economic development strategy and continuing to grow it remains one of my top priorities.”
Wicomico County Tourism is working to drive continued and future tourism by promoting the area as a destination for youth sports, meetings, conventions, events and all other tourism-related activities.
Sports’ marketing is the largest segment of the County’s book of tourism business. Twenty-five sports events were held last year generating just over $32 million in economic activity.
Wicomico hosted nine major regional/national events including a 399-team girls’ softball World Series. The event covered a three week period and featured teams from 14 states and Canada. It also brought the USSSA Pride National Pro Fastpitch series to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium featuring the best women’s softball players in the world.
“We’re really pleased with the County’s trajectory and the generous support received from our elected officials and the efforts of the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism staff, the Tourism Board, and stakeholders,” said Gary Mackes, Director of the Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism.
Wicomico continues to build its group-business market by leveraging the assets of the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. In FY14, a new religious conference was held at the WY&CC which drew over 2,000 attendees. Additional highlights included the return of the Cheer & Dance events, the Poodle Club of America’s international dog show and the Salisbury Kennel Club dog show. These events generated an estimated economic impact of $7.8 million.
The county’s Visitors’ Center remains busy. Over 26,000 people frequented the facility in FY 14.
In May 2014, Wicomico County and the town of Ocean City formed the Mid-Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance to expand sports marketing efforts. The partnership leverages the region’s facilities and accommodations to attract additional large-scale amateur sporting events.
MAASA will be marketed in concert with Maryland Sports.