Leonardtown, MD – The St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development will host a meeting for community members and tourism industry partners to discuss the transition of the county’s Tourism division to a non-profit entity. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 7, from 2 – 3:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 45260 Abell House Lane, in California.

As part of the 2017 Tourism and Hospitality Master Plan, St. Mary’s County will create an official, non-profit tourism organization, Visit St. Mary’s MD. The entity will focus on destination development, raising awareness and supporting tourism partners to deliver a world class overnight visitor experience. Visit St. Mary’s MD will advocate for the local industry, partner in economic development and facilitate the continuous improvement of the county’s tourism sector.

The creation of a non-profit entity is the first step in bringing the Master Plan to life. The new organization will focus strategically and creatively on supporting the tourism industry.

Reasons for transitioning to a non-profit entity include:

• Tourism is one of the county’s 5 target industries to grow an innovation-driven economy
• The new entity will be better positioned to implement the Tourism and Hospitality Master Plan which calls for a focus on increasing overnight stays and building great visitor experiences
• Identify and leverage additional resources
• Be more agile and strategic in supporting the tourism industry

Meeting topics will focus on summary of findings from the Master Plan; information and discussion about the new tourism entity; overview of next steps for the county’s tourism community and gather feedback from industry partners.

Speakers will include Dan Fenton from JLL Tourism Strategy team, Chris Kaselemis, St. Mary’s County Economic Development Director and members of the Transitional Board.