Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A big boost for downtown businesses. After huge events like Otakon and BronyCon in Baltimore, Charm City sees record tourism numbers.
Tim Williams has the breakdown.
You can’t disguise the numbers: Baltimore tourism is reaching new heights. An annual report from tourism overseer Visit Baltimore reports an increase in convention bookings for the city and a positive trend in spending.
“We’re excited to announce we’ve booked 477,000 plus room nights for this last fiscal year, which is our third highest production in our organization’s history,” said Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore.
This news comes as Otakon, the largest convention held in the Inner Harbor in recent years, announced it would relocate to Washington, D.C. in 2017. A few weeks ago, Otakon drew about 30,000 people to Baltimore with an economic impact of more than $15 million and booked about 4,600 hotel rooms.
Despite that news, the outlook is favorable. Business bookings get partial credit.
“We had a group here last week that filled our hotel, started filling a second hotel. We ended up filling five hotels around us and that’s not uncommon,” said Marriott Baltimore Waterfront General Manager Ed Rudzinski.
Visitor spending reached an all-time high of $5 billion during the fiscal year that ended June 30. Current numbers and projections are music to the ears of economists.
“We see that trend continue on for the next several years. I think we’re really starting to see the tourism industry hit its stride right now,” Noonan said.
“New York is New York, D.C. is D.C. But then certain cities come into their own. Baltimore’s time is now,” Rudzinski said.
International events like soccer and the Grand Prix of Baltimore are expected to contribute to hotel bookings and tourism for the next few years.