More Tourism Funds For Worcester

SNOW HILL — Worcester County Tourism (WCT) is set to receive a healthy boost in state funding in the next fiscal year.

The Maryland Office of Tourism has awarded Worcester County nearly $50,000 more in advertising and marketing grant money than the prior year. This brings the total for state grant funding to WCT from 60,722 in FY11 to $109,836 in FY12.

This is an exciting development for WCT, according to Tourism Director Lisa Challenger, particularly in light of the decrease in grant funding during the same period to several other counties on the Eastern Shore. 

The state awards grant funding to local tourism departments based on several factors, including performance using tourism tax revenues and the level of contribution from the individual counties within the advertising budget.

WCT was awarded additional state grant funding for boosting the overall advertising budget and then seeing a marked increase in tourism dollars as a direct result of that increase. This has been the case for Worcester County during the last two fiscal years, and in FY10, the county saw a 4.3% increase in tourism sales tax revenues.

“This is great news because it means our advertising is working,” Challenger said. “We have ramped up our advertising with the additional county funds, which also helps us become eligible for additional state funds. On those two fronts together it gave us a large grant amount.”

Ocean City and Assateague beaches are featured in all WCT advertising. The county also partners closely with the Town of Berlin in its advertising efforts to attract visitors through the use of prominent, colorful, eye-catching ads. These ads can be found in national media outlets, including RedBook, Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, AAA World and Budget Travel, as well as cable television channels and Internet sites. You can expect to find Worcester County advertised in USA Weekend and other Sunday inserts, too, according to Challenger.

Worcester County advertisements appear in statewide publications as well, like Maryland Life Magazine, Ocean City Visitor’s Guide and Coastal Media. WCT recently increased its presence in the Vista Graphics’ OC Visitor’s Guide with full page advertising for Snow Hill and Pocomoke City as well as Berlin.

“We’re doing much more with online advertising with the, and e-mail marketing,” Challenger said. “We’re in Pennsylvania, Maryland and DC with Comcast Video on Demand as well as local resort cable channels and direct email marketing.”

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.