tourism

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Senate committee is backing a bill to close a tax loophole for third-party travel websites.

The committee voted 9-4 on Wednesday in favor of the legislation, which ensures booking companies such as Expedia and Travelocity pay Maryland the same amount of sales tax on that a customer would pay if they did not purchase a discounted hotel room from the travel site.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Virginia Beach's tourism industry experienced a record year for lodging and restaurant sales.

The city says tax receipts show lodging sales increased about 5 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year, for a total of about $315 million. Those figures include hotels, campgrounds, vacation rental homes and condo rentals.

Citywide restaurant sales in 2014 increased 3.6 percent compared to 2013, amounting to $1.1 billion.

creative commons

Hockey could be coming to Worcester County officials are looking at possibly constructing a multi-purpose stadium-style arena that could provide a venue for a minor league hockey team as well as concerts and convention groups.

Bill Badger, director Economic Development, told the Salisbury Daily Times that it is too soon to say where or when it might be built.

He adds that more than likely this would be a public-private venture.

But such project would stir up some competition with the Ocean City Convention Center.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - A new report says tourism in Maryland rose by 3.2 percent in 2013.

The Maryland Office of Tourism Development released its annual tourism report Tuesday. The report attempts to measure the effectiveness of the state's tourism efforts, and the impact travel and tourism have on the state's economy.

Margot Amelia, the agency's executive director, says "tourism has been and continues to be a powerful economic engine for Maryland."

Tom Hunt

Now is the time that businesses along the Delmarva coastline are heading toward the end of the summer season. And, Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush sent Tom Hunt out to see how the tourist season has been doing.

panoramio.com

It may be the sign of the long winter may have been good for business this summer.

WMDT reports that hotels in Rehoboth Beach say reservations are up.     

The hotels say they have not only seen an increase for this Memorial Day Weekend but tourists are filling up the rooms for the coming months.

At the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel they expected to be sold out by Fourth of July.

If the weather holds up it should beat the slow start of last year when rain and low temperatures took its toll on the tourist season.

oceancitymd.gov

Sunfest is back.

And Ocean City is gearing up for the first blast for the tourist season.

Some 240 vendors from across the country are setting up for the event… located in the Inlet parking lot that will feature food and live music.

This year’s 24th annual event will run through the weekend from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

With the rain gone and good weather showing up vendors say they have already been doing well.

Maryland Office of Tourism

HANOVER, Md. (AP) - Maryland tourism officials say more tourists than ever are visiting the state despite an anemic economy.

The Maryland Office of Tourism says the state attracted 35.4 million visitors in 2012. Leisure travel led the increase, growing 6.7 percent last year and 39 percent since 2007. The Daily Record reports the new figures were announced at the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit this week.

Don Rush

Maryland and Delaware tourism officials say there’s been a 20 percent uptick in information requests about activities in the region.

And there were similar spikes in Web traffic from the New Jersey and New York areas this year.

Whether they will come is still not clear.

Joseph Seneca, professor at Rutgers University released as study in January, saying they will after the damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy.

Don Rush

If you plan on bicycling from Westover to Crisfield the Somerset County Commissioners could make it a bit safer.

County Administrator Doug Taylor told the Commissioners that the trail would follow the former railroad tracks.

But it would need to deal with the state’s 60-foot-wide right of way along the 13.5-mile stretch.

Julie Widdowson, the county tourism director, noted that unlike Wicomico and Worcester counties Somerset does not have any.

She said that this would boost tourism and bring more business to the region.

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The Crisfield Beach is open for summertime tourists.

City officials say that there was some $120-thousand in damages with much of the sand having disappeared as a result of Hurricane Sandy last year.

WBOC reports that private donations and some city funding help restore the beaches so that sunbathers can bask on the shores just as they did before.

Wayne Swift of Crisfield told the station that the beach is extremely important to nearby damaged neighborhoods.

geraldhocker.com

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Republican state senator is proposing legislation to study whether all Delaware public schools should wait until after Labor Day to start classes.

Sen. Gerald Hocker of Ocean View says the move could mean more money for Delawareans, particularly high school students with summer jobs.

Hocker says only two of Delaware's 19 public school districts, both in Sussex County, started classes after Labor Day last year.

ococean.com

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - Ocean City tourism officials are trying to get a better sense of visitors and where they're coming from.

Tourism Director Donna Abbott tells the Daily Times of Salisbury that Ocean City is looking for "firmer metrics" to improve marketing effectiveness and to better know where advertising money should be spent.

The tourism commission has agreed to create a subcommittee to study better ways to gage the tourist population.

wikipedia.org

ST. MICHAELS, Md. (AP) - Sidewalk bricks with QR codes on them are being proposed for a St. Michaels walking tour.

QR codes are square black-and-white codes that can be scanned by smart-phone software and take visitors to a web-page that will provide information about the location.

rehoboth dewey beach chamber of commerce

It may only be early February but the Rehoboth-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce says it’s getting inundated with calls by potential first-time visitors.

These are many who normally show up at the beaches that have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Chamber has allocated another $20-thousand for marketing in communities that typically see residents visit the resorts in Long island, New York or northern New Jersey.