Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, Maryland Experience Highest Tourism Revenue in State

In the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), Garrett County experienced the highest increase in the state in tourism sales tax revenues, nearly twice the tourism increases posted by the state of Maryland.  The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, the designated tourism marketing organization for the county, attributes much of the increase to the Chamber’s aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies.

According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, in the first three months of Fiscal Year 2017 (July, August & September 2016), Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 3.0%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 5.8% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 5.5% in the first three months of FY17, while Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 7.8%.

Garrett County experienced similar increases in fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, in fiscal year 2016, Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 6.4%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 7.0% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 6.3% in FY16 while Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 9%.

“We are very pleased to see a strong first quarter for FY17 as we approach the winter season that is extremely weather dependent,” said Nicole Christian, president & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “It is exciting to be leading the state in tourism growth but we are very aware that we have to continue our robust and innovative marketing efforts to remain competitive. We hope the State Office of Tourism will continue their efforts as well and that the Governor will maintain his support of this important industry by increasing tourism promotion funding for the Tourism Development Board.”

2016 has been a record year for tourism in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Maryland with a 6.3% increase in county accommodations sales, a 19.3% increase in heads on beds, a 2.3% increase in sales tax collections and a 23% increase in visitors to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s website, visitdeepcreek.com.

 

For more information, click here.

 

INTRODUCING THE LODGE AT WISP

Over $1.5 Million in Renovations launches a Rebranded Hotel As part of a 3 year $3.7 million renovation, Wisp Resort recently announced a rebranding of the Wisp Resort Hotel which will hence forth be known as The Lodge at Wisp. The renovation project on the hotel began in the Fall of 2015 and will continue thru Spring 2018. The Lodge at Wisp will welcome guests with significant changes and improvements to both the interior and exterior of the property. The upgrades are designed to give the hotel guests a heightened resort experience with more contemporary accommodations, new outdoor gathering spaces, and an overall more modern and functional design.

The exterior changes include a new entrance featuring a Porte Cocherè that creates a grand sense of arrival to the resort by welcoming guests with an outdoor gas fireplace, a timber-frame structure with stacked stone façade and thoughtful lighting. The new entrance surroundings are enhanced with landscaping highlighted by a dramatic waterfall, benches and a pergola walkway. The hotel exterior received a fresh coat of paint in a new color palate of earthy tones to match the Porte Cocherè.

Interior renovations include a redesigned and updated Front Desk and Check-in Area to compliment the new entrance. 100 rooms on all six floors in the Tower Section of the hotel have been renovated with freshly painted walls, new wall coverings, artwork featuring local photography, modern bedroom and living area furnishings, plush bed linens, new mattresses as well as upgraded lighting and fixtures. Sixteen new Business Class King Suites have been introduced into the guest room mix. The remaining 69 rooms on three floors in the Lodge Section of the hotel received all new mattresses with plans to complete the renovation of that portion of the rooms by Spring 2018.

Currently in progress at The Lodge at Wisp are upgrades to conference rooms, new audio visual equipment, a new fitness center, exterior signage, courtyards with fire pits and enhanced landscaping features. Construction on the current work will be completed in time for ski season. Work will continue in the spring on an additional courtyard on the east side of the hotel plus renovations to the lobby and a new front porch for the hotel.

for more information, click here.

 

When You Don’t Get the Air Miles You’re Owed

Don Sincell is a fourth-generation newspaper editor in western Maryland. Putting out the paper costs a lot of money, but Don links his business credit card to his airline miles account, which earns him a nice travel perk.

That is, until his airline miles disappeared.

Read Don’s original letter to the ABC News Fixer below, and see how The Fixer helped get his miles back. And check out The Fixer’s tips for earning free travel with credit cards.

Do YOU have a consumer problem? Maybe The Fixer can help! Submit your problems at ABCNews.com/fixer.


Dear ABC News Fixer:

I’m a frequent flyer with American Airlines, and have a business and personal credit card feeding miles into my account.

About nine months ago, I noticed the miles generated by my primary business card were not going into my account. With a couple of phone calls, I learned the problem was not with American Airlines, but with the card issuer.

I have called Barclaycard repeatedly to try to straighten this out. Each time, I am assured that the lost miles — earned from September 2015 through June 2016 — will be restored, but they never are. The total is about 90,000 miles, representing $90,000 spent on that card.

I am at the end of my rope. I have spoken with supervisor after supervisor, to absolutely no avail. I would so appreciate any and all help.

-Don Sincell Mountain Lake Park, Md.

Do you have a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.


Dear Don:

You told the ABC News Fixer that you’re earning all those miles through business expenses for the community newspaper you run: The Republican of Garrett County, Md.

The paper has been in your family since your great-grandfather became editor and publisher in 1890 (the paper was founded in 1877 by Capt. James Hayden, a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln – thus the name “The Republican”).

As the paper’s fourth editor after your great-grandfather, grandfather and father, you’re counted on to cover every aspect of your community – but you said you also find time to be a volunteer firefighter, ski patroller, town council member and a trombone player in the community band.

We can only imagine how badly you must need a vacation.

And those missing miles are worth about three cross-country round trips.

The Fixer had a little better luck nudging this toward resolution.

By the time you wrote your letter, you had managed to get this business credit card connected to your American Airlines account. But even though the customer service representatives told you they could see the missing miles in their computer system, the miles stayed in a black hole.

We contacted Barclaycard and asked them to investigate. Within a few days, they had restored your 94,198 points and posted them to your account. They’re also giving you 20,000 more miles for your troubles.

And they figured out the mystery. Your old business and personal cards, issued by a different bank, originally earned miles on US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2015, and you and other cardholders got new AA-branded credit cards. And you got a new issuing bank – Barclaycard.

It seems that somehow in that transition, an error occurred in the data field containing your name.

This wasn’t apparent to the customer service people you spoke to, so while they were promising it would get fixed, they weren’t able to request the right steps to fix it. (And if all this gives you a headache, you’re not alone.)

At any rate, they found it, they fixed it, and you’re good to take another couple trips.

Don Sincell is a fourth-generation newspaper editor in western Maryland. Putting out the paper costs a lot of money, but Don links his business credit card to his airline miles account, which earns him a nice travel perk.

That is, until his airline miles disappeared.

Read Don’s original letter to the ABC News Fixer below, and see how The Fixer helped get his miles back. And check out The Fixer’s tips for earning free travel with credit cards.

Do YOU have a consumer problem? Maybe The Fixer can help! Submit your problems at ABCNews.com/fixer.


Dear ABC News Fixer:

I’m a frequent flyer with American Airlines, and have a business and personal credit card feeding miles into my account.

About nine months ago, I noticed the miles generated by my primary business card were not going into my account. With a couple of phone calls, I learned the problem was not with American Airlines, but with the card issuer.

I have called Barclaycard repeatedly to try to straighten this out. Each time, I am assured that the lost miles — earned from September 2015 through June 2016 — will be restored, but they never are. The total is about 90,000 miles, representing $90,000 spent on that card.

I am at the end of my rope. I have spoken with supervisor after supervisor, to absolutely no avail. I would so appreciate any and all help.

-Don Sincell Mountain Lake Park, Md.

Do you have a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.


Dear Don:

You told the ABC News Fixer that you’re earning all those miles through business expenses for the community newspaper you run: The Republican of Garrett County, Md.

The paper has been in your family since your great-grandfather became editor and publisher in 1890 (the paper was founded in 1877 by Capt. James Hayden, a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln – thus the name “The Republican”).

As the paper’s fourth editor after your great-grandfather, grandfather and father, you’re counted on to cover every aspect of your community – but you said you also find time to be a volunteer firefighter, ski patroller, town council member and a trombone player in the community band.

We can only imagine how badly you must need a vacation.

And those missing miles are worth about three cross-country round trips.

The Fixer had a little better luck nudging this toward resolution.

By the time you wrote your letter, you had managed to get this business credit card connected to your American Airlines account. But even though the customer service representatives told you they could see the missing miles in their computer system, the miles stayed in a black hole.

We contacted Barclaycard and asked them to investigate. Within a few days, they had restored your 94,198 points and posted them to your account. They’re also giving you 20,000 more miles for your troubles.

And they figured out the mystery. Your old business and personal cards, issued by a different bank, originally earned miles on US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2015, and you and other cardholders got new AA-branded credit cards. And you got a new issuing bank – Barclaycard.

It seems that somehow in that transition, an error occurred in the data field containing your name.

This wasn’t apparent to the customer service people you spoke to, so while they were promising it would get fixed, they weren’t able to request the right steps to fix it. (And if all this gives you a headache, you’re not alone.)

At any rate, they found it, they fixed it, and you’re good to take another couple trips.

For more information, click here.

 

Garrett County, Maryland Wins at 36th Annual Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce won two awards at the 36th Annual Tourism and Travel Summit held at the Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland last week.

Competing against nominees from other counties in the state, the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce won the Best Media & PR Campaign award from the Maryland Tourism Coalition for our “Military March” promotion. The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce also helped accept the Tourism Advocate award for the Marylanders for a Longer Summer Campaign, a partnership with Ocean City and other state and local leaders.

“The Chamber is honored to accept these two awards on behalf of our partners,” said Nicole Christian, President & CEO of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “It is particularly gratifying to be recognized by our tourism industry peers at the Maryland Tourism Coalition.”

The Best Media & Public Relations Campaign award is given to a campaign that focuses on a single, unified theme that is related to a special event, crisis management program or overall promotion.  The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and Wisp Resort initially created the idea several years ago as an opportunity to salute our nation’s military with special discounts in Garrett County, Maryland. In 2016, the Chamber partnered with 28 member businesses participating in the promotion with all of the members offers available on the Chamber’s website, visitdeepcreek.com. GCC Technologies, LLC and Book Mark’et & Antique Mezzanine sponsored “Military March” to cover the cost of advertising the promotion in military outlets with all ads linking to the Chamber’s “Military March” promotion page. The Chamber’s website saw a 43% increase in visitors in March 2016 over March 2015 and, despite Wisp closing early for the ski season on March 15, Garrett County lodging sales collections were up 7.7% in March 2016 over March 2015.

For more information, click here.

DEEP CREEK WATERSHED FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED

The Board of Directors of the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the formation of the Foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a non-profit Maryland corporation.  The Foundation is formed to accept tax-deductible donations to foster a private/public partnership that will support, promote and advance scientific study, environmental protection and educational programs relating to the Deep Creek Watershed.

The Deep Lake Watershed contains 41,000 acres and is located in the mountains of Garrett County, Maryland.  Deep Creek Lake (DCL) is within the Deep Creek Watershed and is the State’s largest freshwater lake containing approximately 4,000 acres.  Deep Creek Lake has evolved as a primary recreational destination for the Mid-Atlantic States and is the economic engine for the County.  In 2000, the State of Maryland purchased the Lake and its buffer zone under legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly.  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is assigned responsibility for managing the Lake and its buffer zone. Likewise, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for, among other things, sediment and erosion control of DCL, as well as for the issuance of a Water Allocation Permit which provides authorization for various entities to use specified quantities of water from the lake. The 2000 legislation included stewardship requirements and authorizations, but it did not address the potential impacts from the watershed to water quality in the Lake.

Over the past 15 years, the Deep Creek community, the County, DNR and MDE have demonstrated a growing interest in ensuring that the quality and recreational value of the Lake is maintained.  Concerns have arisen relating to sediment in coves, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), water quality, lake level fluctuations, and other issues.  Many of these concerns extend beyond the authority of the state-owned property in the buffer zone.  Consequently, a more extensive assessment of the entire watershed was needed. 

Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DNR and the Garrett County Commissioners, the State and the County agreed to work together to develop a Watershed Management Plan.  Volunteers representing various interest groups and watershed residents, along with County and State officials, were appointed to a steering committee by DNR and the County and formed subcommittees to address the variety of issues affecting the watershed.  Through this effort the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan (Plan) was developed and completed in 2014 and then subsequently approved by the DNR and the Board of Garrett County Commissioners

Additionally, a second MOU has been agreed to and will be signed by the Board Garrett County Commissioners and the Secretaries of DNR and MDE, creating the Administrative Council which will oversee the implementation of the Plan; establish the staff position of Watershed Coordinator; and address the development of financial strategies.  The Foundation will work closely with this Administrative Council to identify projects that will require funding.

The Foundation is formed to support the Plan’s goal of “improving the environmental stability and economic viability of the Deep Creek Watershed while retaining its rural landscapes and natural beauty, so that, for generations to come, local citizens and visitors have a special place to live, work, and play.” The Foundation will accomplish this goal by engaging in fundraising activities to sponsor educational programs supporting initiatives relating to the watershed, soliciting and providing funding to support scientific, environmental, and educational programs relating to the watershed, and applying for grants relating to activities in furtherance of the protection of the watershed. 

For more information, click here.

 

Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, Maryland Experience Record Increases in Tourism

2016 has been a record year for tourism in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Maryland with a 6.3% increase in county accommodations sales, a 19.3% increase in heads on beds, a 2.3% increase in sales tax collections and a 23% increase in visitors to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s website, visitdeepcreek.com.

The increases follow a banner 2015 in Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, which saw a 3.1% increase in county accommodations sales, a 2.5% increase in sales tax collections and a 46% increase in visitors to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s website, visitdeepcreek.com.

The Chamber attributes much of the increase to the Chamber’s aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies.

And, according to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Garrett County’s increases have even outpaced Maryland’s tourism growth. In Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 6.4%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 7.0% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 6.3% in FY16 while Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 9%.

“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. “Even with Mother Nature being less than cooperative last winter and an abbreviated ski season, Garrett  County’s overall tourism sales tax revenues still outpaced the state’s growth. We attribute this continued growth to our aggressive marketing efforts.”

For more information, click here.