Tourism chief hopes grant leads to quick return


A $14,000 Maryland Office of Tourism grant will help bring more visitors to Carroll County. Jack Lyburn, county director of -- economic development, said the money will be spent in ways he hopes will show a quick return on the state's investment.

"The money allowed us to do many things we couldn't do before," he said.

About $7,000 of the grant was used to double the number of promotional calendars printed this year, from 15,000 to 30,000. The calendars, published this month, list dates and information on county events through the end of this year.

"We printed 30,000 calendars this year and have already distributed half of them," Barbara Beverungen, senior tourism assistant, said at the Carroll County Tourism Association meeting Tuesday. "Last year, we ran out in June."

The events calendar also is available electronically through the county library's computer system.

The grant will also pay the $500 in advertising costs for USA Weekend magazine. The ad, which features a picture of the tourism brochure and includes a toll-free 800 number, will be one of a dozen on a page touting Maryland sites. It will run May 28 in the magazine's semiannual travel section.

"A few years ago, when we ran a similar ad, we got 6,000 responses," Ms. Beverungen said.

The county also will advertise in Spokes, a magazine for cyclists. Mr. Lyburn estimates that ad, which will run before July 1, will cost about $1,000 and should pay for itself in tourism dollars.

"We have the best cycling trails in all of Maryland," Mr. Lyburn said.

The office will purchase a $2,500 exhibit booth to take to travel shows. Entry fees for the shows are about $1,500. The booth will display upgraded photos, which cost about $300.

"We have photos enlarged from different sites and we are going to a lot of travel shows," Ms. Beverungen said. "The booth can be a good sales piece for all of us."

The remaining money will allow the county Office of Tourism to participate in several consumer and group tour shows this spring. The first will be Wednesday for the Pennsylvania Bus Association in Harrisburg. In April and May, the staff will take the booth to shows in Washington, Bethesda and Philadelphia.

The booth also will be at the Carroll County Air Show May 13 and 14, when organizers are expecting about 40,000 visitors to the county.

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