The American Bus Association, a trade group of motor coach, travel and tourism companies, will hold its annual Meeting & Marketplace event at the Baltimore Convention Center in 2021, officials announced Tuesday.
The event is the top travel show for the intercity bus industry in the U.S. and Canada, and this year’s meeting in Cleveland drew more than 3,400 tour operators, suppliers and exhibitors — and generated $115.9 million in booked business during the event and immediately afterward, according to the ABA.
The event — scheduled the week of Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2021 — will be the second time the convention has come to Baltimore. It previously was held here in 2001. The group has more than 3,800 members including motor coach and tour companies, travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services.
“This city has transformed itself over the last 20 years to a multi-cultural, culinary city that is convenient to get around and unforgettable in all that you will see and do,” ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso said in a statement. “It is a perfect group travel destination city.”
More than 4 million bus tour visitors came to Maryland in 2017 which generated nearly $2 billion into our economy, Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement.
“We're excited to welcome thousands of American Bus Association members back to Maryland in 2021," Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. "This conference will give us the opportunity to increase our share of the group tour market, and also showcase Baltimore's rich heritage and outstanding cultural attractions."
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said: “events like ABA that provide ongoing, long-term economic impact to Baltimore are vitally important to the expansion of the tourism industry in Baltimore, supporting job growth and driving economic impact for years to come.”
The new bus routes have launched and riders respond to the changes. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)