Having Fun is Serious Business
Promoting all that is wonderful and unique about visiting and living in Howard County is Howard County Tourism and Promotion’s primary purpose. And there is plenty to promote.
It helps that Columbia Association (CA) offers amenities, programs, events, facilities and its 3,600 acres of open space to Howard County residents. Countless other public and private recreational, leisure, cultural, historic and wellness opportunities abound as well. Howard County is strategically located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It’s no wonder, then, that the Columbia/Ellicott City area continues to be recognized as one of “America’s Best Places to Live” by CNN/Money Magazine.
The appeal reaches people from beyond our region. Visitor spending has a significant impact on the local economy. According to a 2014 Tourism Economics report, tourism is the 10th largest private sector employer in Maryland and directly employed more than 140,000 people. It was also reported that tourism generated more than $2.2 billion in state and local taxes. Without taxes generated by visitor spending, Maryland households would have to pay $1,010 more a year in taxes.
Howard County generated nearly $18 million dollars in designated tourism taxes, which was an 8 percent increase over the previous year. It is vital to the local economy that these numbers continue to rise as tourism tax-generated revenues are reinvested into Howard County citizens’ unparalleled quality of life.
Howard County Tourism and Promotion carries out its mission to increase, develop and promote tourism by featuring the county’s unique location, sites, services, products and people through a variety of products that reach regional, national and international as well as nearby audiences. Most visible to locals is the Howard County Welcome Center located in historic Ellicott City.
The Official Howard County Welcome Guide is another key product, with 100,000 copies distributed annually inside and outside Howard County. VisitHowardCounty.com is the official website for visitor information and serves as a gateway to all that Howard County has to offer. It provides calendar of event listings and travel packages, and it receives more than 10,000 unique visits monthly. Other popular products include ghost tours in Old Ellicott City, the semi-annual Howard County Restaurant Week culinary events and the award-winning HowardOnTap Craft Beer Trail travel app.
For more information go to VisitHowardCounty.com or call 1-800-288-TRIP (8747).
Amanda Hof, Community Development Director, Howard County Tourism and Promotion