Bids sought for $5.5 million pact for 3 state agencies' advertising

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts is seeking proposals for a new advertising contract worth about $5.5 million.

The contract, to begin Jan. 1, would promote the Film Office, the Office of Tourism Development and the State Arts Council, for a single year.

Although previous contracts have been multiyear, this shorter contract will allow the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to determine the cost savings of doing more of its work in-house, agency officials said yesterday.

Final proposals are due Oct. 20, and a decision will be made and confirmed by the Board of Public Works later this year, state officials said.

In May, noting budgetary concerns, the state canceled a three-year tourism advertising contract that it was set to award to incumbent agency Trahan, Burden & Charles Inc. - just before the matter was to go before the Board of Public Works for final approval. The proposed contract had two one-year renewal options.

The existing contract with TBC, which has held the account for five years, then was extended through December.

Tourism is considered one of Maryland's fastest-growing industries. In 2001, 19.4 million people visited Maryland, generating an estimated $8.5 billion in expenditures, according to statistics provided by the department. In that year, the state's tourism industry generated more than $709 million in state and local taxes and provided more than 105,400 jobs.

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