BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The official kickoff for this year’s Light City is just days away.
While the artists, the installations and labs will take center stage–businesses in the area are showcasing themselves to attract the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to attend.
Opening ceremonies are set to get underway on Saturday, but for the businesses in the Harbor, they’re already open for business.
They’re pulling out all the stops to lure customers in with deals and packages. They’re banking on this year’s event—but even better than last year.
The artists aren’t the only ones looking to show off their work.
“It’s a great opportunity for the tourism community to really showcase our hotels and restaurants,” said Ramond Sneed of Royal Sonesta Harbor Court. “The 400,000 more people that we’re expecting, they have to stay somewhere.”
Nearly all of the 203 rooms at the hotel are going fast. The hotel is just one of the many businesses expected to cash in from this year’s Light City.
Close to half-a-million visitors attended last year’s Light City, bringing along $44 million to the Baltimore economy. Organizers and businesses in the area, are hoping to cash in on that momentum.
Across the street at Spirit Cruises, more visitors, means more cruises and more people put to work.
“We actually add cruises, so that definitely helps,” said Kelsey Casey of Spirit Cruises. “We’re able to give our staff more hours and it helps drive more revenue. We add about 2-3 additional dinner cruises that we normally wouldn’t have and about 6-8 tours that we normally wouldn’t have.”
Restaurants are serving plans of their own to handle the large crowds.
Phillips Seafood—says it’s hiring new workers utilizing all 3-kitchens, and opening up the crab deck.
“Light City definitely kicks off the season for Phillips,” said a Phillips representative. “Everybody is excited to just get back to work full time.”
As the Light City buzz continues to grow, businesses are hoping it can provide a bounce to their bottom lines.
“It’s definitely going to be a positive impact for the Baltimore tourism community, which is much needed,” Sneed said.
Something else the event will bring in is media impressions! Last year’s event brought in more than a billion impressions from different social media platforms—something many say is priceless.