Tourism rises in Garrett County, Deep Creek Lake area

Tourism gains boosted Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area during the last fiscal year, the result of record accommodations sales for the county and a sharp increase in tourism sales tax revenue, according to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

Garrett County, roughly three hours from Baltimore by car, attracts visitors year-round with the state's largest freshwater lake, Deep Creek Lake, and its only ski resort.

Tourism sales tax revenues for the county climbed more than 6 percent during the fiscal year that spanned July 2012 to June 2013, while tourism sales tax revenues for the state as a whole grew by less than 1 percent. 

Nicole Christian, president and CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, attributes much of the county's tourism growth to aggressive marketing strategies that span print, television, radio and online mediums, among others.

"We really employ a variety and a diverse set of strategies so that we can make sure that we are reaching our target population and that we can reach a very large number of people," Christian said.

The Garrett County Board of Commissioners poured an additional $100,000 into tourism promotion efforts for the fiscal 2013 year, and the investment more than paid off, according to Christian.

The county experienced a nearly $1.5 million increase in accommodations sales, and the "heads on beds" number, a calendar year figure based on the number of people staying in lodgings overnight, grew by 15 percent.

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