ABOUT THE MARYLAND TOURISM COALITION
MTC represents the interests of the tourism community across the state of Maryland with hotels, restaurants, retail locations, attractions, destination marketing organizations, and small businesses counted among our members. Our Legislative Committee, comprised of a cross section of members appointed by the Board of Directors, convenes regularly throughout the year to discuss and consider the potential impact of proposed legislation on the tourism community and to determine what, if any, action should be taken. MTC has a contracted lobbyist, Frank Boston III, to advise the organization and advocate on its behalf. MTC Executive Director Wini Roche is also a registered lobbyist. The MTC Legislative Committee has identified the following priorities for the 2018 General Assembly session.
MTC SUPPORTS PERFORMANCE-BASED TOURISM MARKETING FUNDING
- TO BUILD UPON POSITIVE TRENDS IN THE TOURISM SECTOR AND REMAIN COMPETITIVE WITH NEIGHBORING REGIONS, WE STRONGLY URGE THE GOVERNOR AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO INCREASE FUNDING TO THE MARYLAND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BOARD (MTDB) ACCORDING TO PROVISIONS LAID OUT IN THE TOURISM PROMOTION ACT OF 2008.
The Maryland Tourism Development Board (MTDB) qualifies for an increase for FY2018 under the Tourism Promotion Act of 2008. This funding formula provides a quantitative, policy-backed way to report the impact visitor spending has on sales tax. Eight sales tax codes are tracked and multiplied by a tourism factor —the amount deemed attributable to visitor spending — by the Comptroller. The MTDB qualifies for additional funding if this tourism tax increment exceeds 3% of the tourism tax revenues from the previous year.
On September 22, 2016, the Comptroller’s Office reported $450.6 million collected in designated tax codes resulting in a 5.8% increase and yielding a qualifying tourism tax increment of $5.9 million. Furthermore, the General Assembly should update the language of the 2008 Tourism Promotion Act to include directive language ensuring that future budgets fund tourism marketing and promotion at the appropriate levels.
MTC SUPPORTS AN EXPANSION OF MARYLAND’S CRAFT BREWING INDUSTRY TO DRIVE ADDITIONAL VISITORS TO THE STATE
- TO SUPPORT THE CRAFT BEVERAGE INDUSTRY IN MARYLAND, WHICH REPRESENTS A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO ATTRACT VISITORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD, MTC SUPPORTS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW THIS SECTOR OF THE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO EXPAND AND THRIVE.
Over the past several years craft brewing and distilling in the U.S. has become an important sector of the tourism industry. States across the U.S. have capitalized on this trend and directed marketing and promotional efforts toward attracting visitors to their breweries and distilleries. While Maryland’s craft beer/distillery industry has already proven to be both successful and popular, recent legislation restricting hours and production has hampered growth.
MTC supports the efforts of the “Reform on TAP” task force and encourages legislation intended to strengthen the craft beer/distillery industry in Maryland, encourage more breweries to operate here, and actively promote this industry to visitors.
MTC SUPPORTS A PRO-BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN MARYLAND
- TO SUPPORT THE HUNDREDS OF BUSINESSES, MANY OF THEM SMALL AND FAMILY-OWNED, THAT MAKE UP MARYLAND’S TOURISM COMMUNITY, MTC DISCOURAGES ANY LEGISLATION THAT WOULD DISPROPORTIONALLY IMPACT THE TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.
Maryland’s tourism and hospitality industry sustains more than 146,000 jobs that pay nearly $5.6 billion in annual wages. For many young people, a seasonal or part-time job in tourism and hospitality is the first step toward a fulfilling and lucrative career. MTC supports a regulatory approach that balances employee rights with the concerns of small business owners. The legislature should bear in mind that some of the measures currently under consideration do not necessarily apply equally to all Maryland employers, and could potentially place an inordinate amount of stress on the tourism and hospitality industry.
Any action taken by the General Assembly related to employment regulations, including paid sick leave and minimum wage increases, should be enacted only after careful consideration of the legislation’s impact on the tourism community, and small businesses in particular, which employ thousands of seasonal and part-time workers.