Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, Maryland have seen record increases in tourism during Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) with a 6.3% increase in county accommodations sales, a 12.2% increase in heads on beds, a 3.9% increase in Admissions & Amusement collections, an 11.5% increase in visitors to the Chamber’s website, visitdeepcreek.com and an 18.8% increase in Visitor Guide requests. The Chamber attributes much of the continued growth in tourism to their aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies.
According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Garrett County’s increases even outpaced Maryland’s tourism growth. For the first nine months of Fiscal Year 2018, Maryland grew sales tax revenues specific to tourism 2.0%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 5.5% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 1.6% and restaurant sales tax code collections 2.7% while Garrett County grew them 5.5% and 5.7%, respectively.
“Tourism is an economic engine for Garrett County and we are pleased to see that this engine continues to churn out additional revenues and business for our community,” said Nicole Christian, president & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber, as the Destination Marketing Organization for the County, has confidence in our marketing strategies and these stats validate that our efforts are effective and yielding strong results for our community.”
Garrett County experienced similar tourism increases in fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017) with a 6.9% increase in county accommodations sales, a 8.6% increase in heads on beds, a 6.8% increase in tourism sales tax revenues, and a 6.7% increase in visitors to the Chamber’s website, visitdeepcreek.com. In fact, due to lodging growth in the county in FY17, the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce secured a 6.6% increase in state tourism marketing match grant funds from the previous year.
“These ongoing increases in tourism growth in Garrett County have been recognized by the State by way of increased advertising dollars through our County Cooperative Marketing Match Grant,” said Christian. “We now receive the 7th highest grant amount in the State behind only Ocean City, Worchester County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County. That is impressive for such a small county.”
The western-most county in Maryland, Garrett County is home to Maryland’s largest freshwater lake, Deep Creek Lake, Wisp Resort, the state’s only ski resort, and Adventure Sports Center International, one of only two recirculating whitewater courses in the western hemisphere. Garrett County is less than a three-hour drive from the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, two hours from Pittsburgh, PA, Winchester, VA and Hagerstown, MD and a 45-minute drive from Morgantown, WV and Cumberland, MD.