BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The National Aquarium is pumping more than $300 million into the local economy.

Christie Ileto has more on why this means good news for you.

For Deborah Hanley, when you come to Baltimore, there’s one place you have to go

“The National Aquarium!” she said. “It’s my 60th birthday, and I’m skipping work to celebrate.”

That’s the city’s main attraction for Hanley and for more than a million other visitors this past year, according to a new report.

In fact, numbers show the underwater creatures draw large crowds, drive more than $300 million to the city and state, and help maintain more than 3,300 jobs.

“It helps us understand the impact we’re making in the community,” said Steven Schindler, chief marketing officer and vice president of the National Aquarium.

The aquarium commissioned report just released comes as the nonprofit receives a grant from the state to help renovate its Ray Tray exhibit that won’t be ready until next year.

“The $2.5 million that the state made available to us to help support that project is very, very important to us remaining vital and relevant and really providing new things to our visitors,” Schindler said.

The report also shows that of those who visit the aquarium every year, more than half are from out-of-state.

What does this mean for Marylanders? How do they benefit from this?

“Because people are coming from out-of-town, money that they earn elsewhere they’re spending in town here, so everyone in Maryland benefits from that,” Schindler said.

Translation:  out-of-towners spend almost $206 million on lodging, transportation and food. Those dollars are funneled right here to our city, our backyard.

The aquarium generates $11.7 million in state tax revenue.

As for the renovation of the Ray Tray, it’s a $12.5 million project that is scheduled to open next summer and is expected to be a big attraction.


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