By Stetson Miller

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tourism took a huge hit last year because of the pandemic but now with the restrictions now easing, locals are hoping to have a better summer.

“When the pandemic hit, it did decimate the tourism industry,” said Tom Riford, Maryland Department of Commerce.

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Travel spending in Maryland dropped 42 percent last year resulting in the loss of thousands of tourism jobs. Businesses were nearly at a standstill for much of the industry for months.

“When the second surge hit again in November, things stopped again,” said one business owner.

However, a lot has now rebounded. Places like Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City are seeing an increase in demand.

“We are seeing individual packages have picked up,” he added.

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Some parts of the industry did do well last year such as golf at the Turf Valley Resort and Eastern Watersports in Middle River. They actually saw an increase in business.

“We definitely had a lot of people who wouldn’t have normally chosen to come out and kayak or paddleboard. They were just looking for anything to do,” said a worker at Eastern Watersports.

This year they are continuing to see a lot of demand as many people are coming back again.

Attendance is also up at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

“People are ready to get out. So we have seen increasing numbers here at the museum over the month of May and into the month of June,” said an employee of the museum

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All of this is an optimistic outlook for the industry as the state reopens for business and returns to normal.

Stetson Miller