Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a great weekend for Baltimore. Every hotel is booked, thousands of visitors are in town and stores are seeing a big boost.
Gigi Barnett explains conventions, sporting events and street fairs are raking in the cash.
This weekend, the Baltimore Convention Center is packed. The Natural Products Expo East—one of the city’s largest trade shows–is in town. It draws thousands of visitors from across the country every year.
“I’m almost an Oriole fan,” said visitor Rodger Hurcomb. “I met a couple of people that registered late and they couldn’t get a hotel room.”
Almost all of the city’s 9,500 rooms were snapped up fast.
With the Red Sox in town, tickets at Camden Yards will go fast, too. The baseball matchup between Baltimore and Boston pulls in the big crowds.
“We come down every year. We like walking the Inner Harbor. Good time down here,” said a fan.
For downtown businesses, that signals one thing: the start of the fall tourism season is off to a good start.
“It’s hard to put a dollar figure on it,” said Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore. “But any time you’re selling out the hotel community, it’s big dollars. Millions of dollars, obviously.”
Noonan runs Visit Baltimore, the city’s tourism arm. He says when you add in the Baltimore Book Festival and a new mummy exhibit to the Science Center, this weekend’s entertainment lineup will rake in even more dollars to the city.
But if businesses think it’s good now, Noonan says wait until next year.
“We have the lacrosse Final Four going on, we have Ohio State/Navy going on over Labor Day, then we have the Army/Navy football game,” he said. “We’re calling it the banner year for tourism.”
With so many visitors and events in town, there are several road closures planned. The city says the best way to get around is to take public transportation.