When it comes to tourism in Maryland, the Washington County area has long stood behind places like Ocean City and Baltimore.
But lately, the numbers keep going up, and local hotels are aiming to take advantage.
On Friday morning, the Holiday Inn Express and Suites hosted a preview party for its upcoming expansion – with 24 new sleeping rooms, and a 12,000 square foot expansion of the plaza coming soon. Hotel managers said they are often more than 80 percent occupied, and sometimes, have to turn people away. But now, they can welcome more travelers with open arms.
Over the last four years, about 90 jobs have been created each year in Washington County’s tourism sector.
“You can’t export these jobs,” said Dan Spedden, President of Visit Hagerstown-Washington County CVB. “If you’re a call center worker, [or] if you work in manufacturing, any day now, they could take your job overseas. But people come here to visit our community. You can’t export that.”
County officials said the increased tourist traffic along Interstate-81 is also driving growth forward.