Maryland Welcome Centers are vital customer portals for travel information. Well-trained and enthusiastic travel counselors directly inspire and influence travel decisions of the more than 400,000 customers we speak with each year. Welcome Centers are marketed annually through Visitmaryland.org, Destination Maryland Magazine, the state’s official travel guide, and Google My Business Listings. To maximize your business’s exposure, partner with the Welcome Center team through literature distribution, informational displays and other promotional programming.
Chesapeake Bay Storytellers are trained through OTD and the National Park Service to create inspiring tour experiences about the Chesapeake Bay. Upon certification, OTD markets your tour and business to domestic and international customers through its multiple print and digital platforms and through public relations. The 2021 inaugural class of 38 Storytellers from 28 businesses/organizations included 38 watermen and women, paddle trip leaders, sailing tour providers, charter fishermen and more. Through the rigorous training program, the Storytellers gained knowledge and skills in developing, enhancing and presenting tours or programs and best practices for tour businesses.
The next opportunity for training is scheduled for winter/spring 2023. Check back for schedule and registration information.
Maryland’s Civil War Trails continue to be one of the most popular attractions in the state. For partners, the power of the program is in the network of 1,350 sites across six states under one internationally recognized brand. If you have a Civil War Story to tell, consider joining what the National Trust for Historic Preservation considers one of the of the most successful and sustainable heritage tourism initiatives in the country.
For more information about program membership, visit the Civil War Trails website.
Maryland is the Most Powerful Underground Railroad Storytelling Destination in the World as the state with the most successful flights for freedom utilizing the Underground Railroad. Consumer inquiries for Underground Railroad travel information are on the rise because of OTD’s on-going domestic and international marketing. Now is the time to maximize your storytelling and domestic/international marketing opportunities by becoming a National Park Service National Underground Network to Freedom member as OTD celebrates International Underground Railroad Month every September, Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday in March 2022 and the 25th Anniversary of the Network in 2023.
For more information about program membership, visit the Network to Freedom website.
Do you own, work with, or know of a property, facility, or program that helps to tell the story of the African American Civil Rights movement? If so, leverage this partnership opportunity with the National Park Service and apply to become part of the African American Civil Rights Network. Upon membership acceptance, OTD will work with you to expand your markets much in the same way we have through other national Park Service Programs.
For more information about program membership, visit the African American Civil Rights Network website.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) manages two sign programs that benefit tourism businesses. The Specific Services Sign Program provides signs for eligible food, gasoline, lodging and camping businesses. The Tourism Area Corridor (TAC) Sign Program provides signs that serve as wayfinding guides to eligible tourism attractions.
For more information about how to apply to the programs, visit the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration website.
Over the past decade, visitors have used Maryland Scenic Byways to stay longer and spend more! Visitors are drawn to the state's byways because they link together sites and experiences showcasing a region’s unique scenery, nature, culture, history, recreation and/or archaeology. Road trips are currently a popular form of travel. Maryland has 18 scenic byways, 6 of which are recognized as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads, the highest designation in driving tours in the United States. If your tourism-related business is located on a byway corridor, contact OTD to learn how you can maximize the opportunity to market your business.
For more information about the byway program, visit the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration website.
Below are several grant opportunities that fund tourism development projects that may help transform your destination into a world-class differentiator. Grant details, eligible projects, deadlines, and applications are available from funding source websites through the links below.
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network Grants
Kim Lamphier Bikeways Network Program Grants
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Grants
National Scenic Byway Program Grants
Network to Freedom Grants
Recreational Trails Program Grants
Rural Maryland Council Grants
Transportation Alternatives Program