Black Meetings and Tourism

January / February 2020

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THE ONLY STATE WITH TWO AFRICAN-AMERICAN CVB PRESIDENTS OFFERS GREAT OPTIONS FOR MEETING PLANNERS BY Thelonous Winston There are multiple film festivals, restau- rant weeks, and art festivals throughout the state of Maryland. Known for its Eastern Shore, Maryland Blue Crabs and the home of the NAACP, Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens, Maryland has a great deal to offer all of your senses. Maryland has more food than you can shake a fork at. In Maryland between January and March alone are the following Restaurant Weeks; Baltimore City, Harford County, Baltimore County, Howard County, Annapolis Annapolis, Calvert County, Frederick and the St. Michaels Chocolate Fest. Tourism remains the 10th largest pri- vate-sector employer in Maryland with a growth of 1,000 tourism jobs to 150,000. While overall visitation decreased slightly from 42.5 million to 41.9 million in 2018, the decrease was offset by increases in visitor per-trip spending. • • BALTIMORE • • With a population of 602,495, Baltimore is the most populous city in the state of Maryland, as well as the 30th most populous city in the United States. It is also the largest such independent city in the country. Baltimore has a Convention Center with 407,216 sq. ft. of function space, including 300,000 sq ft of exhibit space, a 36,000-sq ft. ballroom and 50 meeting rooms. Cjharm City boasts 75 hotels with a total of 12,405 sleeping rooms, 8,000 of the located within a mile of downtown. The largest hotel has 757 rooms. Baltimore has more public statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the country. Over 65,000 properties are designated as historic buildings and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, more than any other U.S. city. Baltimore has the annual mid July Artscape, which is America's largest free arts festival, that brings out over 350,000 artists in the per- forming, visual, and fine arts. Charm City is known for its seafood, inner harbor, and now the 2020 A. Phillip Randolph Institute national conference, and the CIAA Basketball Tournament are coming 2021 – 2023. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, just steps from Baltimore Harbor, is more than just a museum: it is a celebration of Maryland's African-American experience and a home for cultural exploration and expression. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, another top place to explore, combines amazing artistry with compelling history. In addition to the Baltimore CVB, the Black Dollar Xchange is a one stop shop for your travel and tourism needs in Baltimore. The Baltimore Tourism and Improvement District encourages small business development in the tourism industry. New developments include The Sagimore Pentry Hotel, owned by Under Armour, Bunzzz Sports Bar and Grill on Pratt Street, the state-of-the-art Keystone Korner Jazz Café, and New Port Covington, a $5 Billion dollar mixed-use project currently in development. Be sure to contact Visit Baltimore President/CEO Al Hutchinson if you are planning to meet here. He and his crew are eager to assist. The city's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immi- grants to the United States. In addition, Balti-more was a major manufacturing center. After a decline in major manufac- turing, heavy industry, and rest-ructuring of the rail industry, Baltimore has shifted to a service-oriented economy. Johns Hopkins Hospital (founded 1889) and Johns Hopkins University (found- ed 1876) are the city's top two employers. Baltimore's his- tory and attractions have allowed the city to become a strong tourist destination on the East Coast. In 2014, the city hosted B M & T ••• January/February 2020 ••• 38 AREA GUIDES • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor 757 Baltimore Marriott Waterfront 750 Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel 586 Embassy Suites by Hilton Baltimore 300 EXHIBITION FACILITIES Baltimore Convention Center Total Exhibit Space 300,000 sq. ft. Meeting Rooms 50 Largest Ballroom 36,672 sq. ft. WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Visit Baltimore – (877) Baltimore Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce Black Dollar Exchange M A R LY L A N D Pier Six Concert Pavilion Photo Credit: Baltimore C.C

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