BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Downtown businesses gear up for New Year’s Eve. The night is more than a celebration; it’s also a major boost for the tourism industry.
Adam May explains why the event is becoming more important economically.
Most people who go to the Inner Harbor on New Year’s Eve don’t live downtown…and they spend millions.
On New Year’s Eve, you expect booms in the sky, but it’s also a boom for the economy.
Morton’s Steak House is one of the many popular downtown restaurants expecting big crowds Saturday night.
“It’s really wrapping up our year on a super high note,” said Judi DiGioia.
In years past, downtown visitors spent almost $2 million and 80 percent comes from outside the city.
“People try to time their dinner so they’re done with dinner, step outside, enjoy fireworks, then come back for dessert and coffee,” DiGioia said.
Last year, more than 50,000 people came downtown. This year, it could be bigger if the weather is better.
“Things are starting to roll again for tourism business,” said Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore.
Officials with Visit Baltimore say New Year’s visitors spend three quarters of a million dollars on food and drinks, plus around a quarter million shopping, even more on entertainment and almost another quarter million dollars on hotel rooms.
“Traditionally, the winter months are not strong tourism months, so to have the nice island as it were, New Year’s Eve, to show some economic impact, that is really important for our hotel community,” Noonan said.
With occupancy rates between 80 and 90 percent, it’s a tax boost for City Hall and more jobs.
If you are coming downtown, reservations are going fast at hotels and restaurants.
Make sure to watch the WJZ New Year’s Eve special, with complete coverage of the fireworks live from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. You can see all of the festivities starting at 11 p.m. Saturday.