BALTIMORE (AP) — More people are visiting Maryland.

State tourism officials reported a nearly 7 percent increase Thursday in the number of domestic travelers visiting the state in 2011.

The 34.4 million visitors included more leisure and business travelers on both day trips and overnight stays.

Gov. Martin O’Malley says tourism is a powerful economic force, employing nearly 130,000 Marylanders.

State tourism director Margot Amelia credits the increase to a marketing strategy launched in 2008 that targets key markets with year-round messages.

She says that since 2007, the number of visitors to Maryland has risen by 26 percent. Amelia says Maryland’s tourism growth rate during that period surpassed that of other Mid-Atlantic states and the United States as a whole.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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