Summer Season Off To Brisk Start For Ocean City Area

OCEAN CITY – Numbers go to show that it is just not left to the imagination that the crowds in town this summer seem larger than previous years.

According to Demoflush, May and June of this year have seen an increase in visitors compared to last year during the same period. Demoflush is weekend population estimates based on wastewater volume.

In May, the total weekend estimated population was 766,246 with an average of 191,561, and in June the estimation is 1,000,583 with an average of 250,146. In 2011 in May, the total weekend estimated population was 829,813 with an average of 178,563, and in June the estimation was 990,178 with an average of 247,545.

Data has been reported so far through April on the room and food tax collected this fiscal year in Ocean City. In April approximately $436,000 in room tax was received, which is a 3.06 percent increase from the year before. Every month so far this current fiscal year, except for August when Ocean City was closed due to a hurricane, has resulted in an increase in room tax.

The same trend has resulted in food tax collected so far. In April, close to $52,000 in food tax was reported, which is a 6.10-percent increase from last year, and every month, except for August and October, resulted in an increase from the year before.

Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones said she has heard nothing but good news from the association’s members so far this summer.

“We have a wonderful foundation for a successful season as things are off to a great start,” she said. “I’m hearing many positive reports from our lodging and dining members.  Everyone is cautiously optimistic that the trend will continue.  Provided the weather holds out, it should be a profitable summer for all.”

Ocean City Tourism Director Donna Abbott agreed and added that the non-stop events in town hasn’t hurt.

“There has been a lot of activity so far this year and we are not even in July yet, so that is a good sign,” Abbott said.

Abbott explained that Ocean City has been running a robust marketing campaign since April and that will continue through the summer to keep the public aware of Ocean City and the town’s long list of free events and activities provided for visitors to enjoy.

A first-time media buy that has stood out from the rest this year is the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) for both of their Baltimore and Washington stations. During Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals baseball games, Rodney the lifeguard commercials are aired.

“The ratings for both of those games have been through the roof because both teams have been playing very well, so the ratings have actually been higher than what we were told they would be,” Abbott said.

Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melanie Pursel added that the amount of investment in business this year has created a level of excitement in town.

She cited as examples the renovation of 45th Street Village and it’s new restaurants, 45th Street Taphouse and OC Steamers, as well Galaxy 66’s new addition of the Sky Bar and Hooters’ new location in West Ocean City.

“The really exciting thing is if you just look around there is a lot of new activity in terms of business … it seems like people are making investments into business again and the visitors are seeing that Ocean City is thriving and they want to be a part of that,” she said. “You always got to keep it a little bit fresh, people come here for the nostalgia but it is nice to come and have a different place or something new to try out. “