December 1, 2021

Visit Montgomery’ Receives Two Tourism Awards at 40th Annual Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit

Visit Montgomery President & CEO Kelly Groff, Director of Marketing Cory Van Horn and
Marketing Manager Leticia Engel at the Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit (MTTS).

“Visit Montgomery,” the official destination marketing organization for Montgomery County, received two tourism achievement awards during the recent 40th Annual Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit (MTTS) in Hanover. The awards were in the categories of “Leveraging Partnerships” from the Maryland Office of Tourism and “Collaborative Partnership” from the Maryland Tourism Coalition.

The Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit is Maryland’s annual tourism industry conference that brings together all sectors of the hospitality industry to advance Maryland’s Tourism industry.

“Our hotels, restaurants, theaters and event spaces have been among the worst hit businesses during the pandemic,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “I applaud the award-winning, innovative approaches and partnerships by Visit Montgomery to generate interest and draw visitors to Montgomery County. For our County to quickly rebound from the economic impacts of the pandemic, we are thankful for the creative ingenuity from Visit Montgomery and our tourism industry.”

The awards presented to Visit Montgomery were:
  • Maryland Tourism & Tourism Summit Awards: Collaborative Partnership Presented by the Maryland Tourism Coalition
  • Destination Maryland Tourism Awards: Leveraging Partnerships Presented by the Maryland Office of Tourism of the Maryland Department of Commerce
“We are honored to be recognized by our industry colleagues during the Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit,” said Visit Montgomery President and CEO Kelly Groff. “Collaboration and partnerships are deeply rooted in Visit Montgomery’s organizational culture. We all thrive when we work together,”

For the past two years, Visit Montgomery led a collaborative marketing committee in partnership with Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties to create a distinctive tourism brand and promotional program that encourages residents and visitors to explore the 184.5-mile C&O Canal National Historical Park, surrounding communities, attractions and small businesses. The committee also worked closely with the C&O Canal Trust, National Park Service, Maryland Office of Tourism and local partners.

“The C&O Canal Experience provides a unified marketing strategy, branding and communications plan that connects partners and assets located across the C&O Canal region,” said Visit Montgomery Director of Marketing Cory Van Horn. “The objective of the marketing committee was to drive economic growth to local communities and revenue with overnight stays while promoting a message that celebrated the region’s distinctive National Park Service tourism assets and outdoor experiences.”

The marketing partnership resulted in new tourism experiences such as the C&O Canal Libations Trail, more than 30 media articles, several hosted media visits including a virtual group media event and an increase in visitation. The efforts contributed to the C&O Canal National Historical Park becoming the eighth most-visited U.S. national park during 2020. It previously ranked No. 12.

According to a visitation study commissioned by the Maryland Office of Tourism and conducted by Rockport Analytics, the C&O Canal National Historical Park welcomed 5.1 million visitors in 2019. Of this total, an estimated 25 percent (1.31 million) traveled from outside the immediate area for more than 50 miles.

The visits generated an annual average of $309 million in visitor spending and $254 million in total economic contribution. The Montgomery County section of the park and surrounding communities received 43.7 percent of the visits with Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Poolesville as the top visited communities.

Montgomery County is home to three National Park Service sites including the C&O Canal National Historical Park, the Clara Barton National Historic Site and Glen Echo Park.