New Maryland Week Promotion Growing

OCEAN CITY — Hoping to capitalize on the statewide mandate for starting the public school year after Labor Day, the first-ever Maryland Week arrives in the resort in 10 days with many businesses offering deals to encourage state residents to enjoy the last vestiges of the summer season.

Maryland Week was conceived by resort tourism officials and their hospitality partners to take advantage of the post-Labor Day school start for most jurisdictions across the state by offering deep discounts mid-week stays at hotels and other accommodations along with some restaurants and other Ocean City amenities. So far, roughly 33 resort area businesses are participating, according to Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Executive Director Susan Jones.

The dates for Maryland Week are set for Sunday, August 28 through Monday, September 4, which would include the entire Labor Day weekend. Some of the participating businesses are already offering the Maryland Week specials in conjunction with the Hotel Week promotions going on at roughly the same time.

The Maryland Week initiative was borne out of a pair of executive orders announced by Gov. Larry Hogan late last summer mandating a post-Labor Day start to the public school year across the state. Hogan’s orders included provisions by which local school boards could seek a waiver from the mandated post-Labor Day school year start. Most waivers have been rejected.

In Maryland, 22 of the 24 public school districts have students returning to class on Sept. 5, the Tuesday after Labor Day. Just two counties — Allegany and Garrett in Western Maryland — have received waivers from the post-Labor Day school start mandate and students in those jurisdictions will return on Aug, 28.

A look at neighboring Delaware reveals roughly a half-and-half mix. About half of Delaware’s school districts will return on Aug. 28, while the other half will return after Labor Day on Sept. 5.

A look at some of the deals offered reveals the hotels participating thus far are offering discounts on room rates of around 10 percent for one- or two-night stays. Others are offering graduated discounts based on the number of nights stayed. For example, some are offering a 15-percent discount for up to three nights, 20 percent for a four-night stay and 25 percent off a stay of five nights or more. Others are pairing discounted room rates with gift certificates to partnering restaurants or other amenities.

When Hogan announced the post Labor-Day school start mandate last August, he cited the benefits for students and their families to enjoy the last remaining days of late summer, but perhaps more importantly the economies in areas that would benefit from longer vacation times including Ocean City.

In the executive order, Hogan stated it would preserve the Labor Day holiday weekend and the days that precede it as an extended opportunity to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, but there is also a considerable economic element.

For example, Hogan stated a post-Labor Day school start would result in an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and $7.7 million in state and local tax revenue that could be reinvested in classrooms across Maryland.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.