by Andrea Doyle | May 07, 2019

An ordinance to begin a process that could create a new Baltimore Tourism Improvement District was signed into law at an event at City Hall on Monday, May 6. The signing was timed to celebrate the start of National Travel & Tourism Week and tourism's $5.7 billion-per-year economic impact on the United States. It also marks a step forward for Visit Baltimore and the city's hotels to increase supplemental funding for destination sales and marketing initiatives.

The process calls on Visit Baltimore, the city's destination marketing organization, to work with the hospitality industry to get a majority of the city's hotels to sign on to a funded effort to lure more leisure and meetings business. Steps include starting a petition drive to get hotel buy-in, followed by the creation of a district-management committee of hoteliers, initially appointed by the Baltimore Convention and Tourism Board of Directors, and a subsequent public hearing and vote on the Tourism Improvement District's financial plan will be held. Any recommended financial plan and final assessment rate needs approval by the board of estimates before collection can begin.

"I appreciate Visit Baltimore and the hotel community's proactive efforts in coming to the city with an innovative public-private solution that will increase our capacity to attract both leisure travelers and conventions," said Baltimore's Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "A thriving tourism industry contributes to our overall success by employing residents and driving economic impact in the city. I sponsored this bill as council president, and I'm proud to sign this ordinance into law during National Travel & Tourism Week."

Revenues realized through the new district will help Visit Baltimore to be more competitive in the meetings marketplace. "It's a game changer for the city and really the entire region," said Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore. "Our ability to drive visitation is entirely resource-dependent, and this private-public partnership between our Baltimore hotel community and state and city officials provides transformational support for Visit Baltimore's sales and marketing efforts. I want to thank our partners for their commitment and dedication to this initiative."