Ocean City, MD – Over 250 tourism professionals gathered to bestow awards and celebrate an outstanding year throughout the state of Maryland and tourism industry. Maryland tourism shows resiliency and honors award recipients from counties across the state, including Howard, Anne Arundel, Annapolis, Washington, Talbot, Charles, St. Mary’s and Garrett Counties.
The 41st Annual Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit (MTTS) concluded on November 16, 2022, at the Ocean City Fontainebleau Resort in Ocean City, Maryland. Sponsored and managed by the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), the summit brings together hundreds of public sector leaders in the hospitality industry each year to network and learn new strategies to benefit tourism businesses and the whole state of Maryland.
While MTC celebrated 41 years gathering industry professionals, MTTS’s location this year was held in Ocean City for the first time since 2014. This year’s conference included topics about growing partnerships, interactive workshops and general sessions with guest speakers.
“We are so excited to see growth within our organization, and especially for the summit this year, as we welcomed 80 new conference attendees and 8 new sponsors,” said Ruth Toomey, Executive Director, MTC.
The event kicked off with a fun welcome reception co-hosted by the Town of Ocean City. Attendees gathered at Seacrets to enjoy a Taste of OC from local restaurants as well as craft beer and wine from local breweries and wineries. Attendees also enjoyed a special performance by Nashville recording artist Jimmy Charles.
“It’s so exciting to have MTTS held in Ocean City this year right in our back yard. Our office and the Town of Ocean City are extremely excited to show off our wonderful businesses and amenities within Worcester County. Not only do hundreds of professionals attend the summit, conference attendees also get to explore everything we have to offer during their stay” said Melanie Pursel, MTC legislative committee member and Worcester County Tourism and Economic Development Director.
Special guest speakers in attendance were Anirban Basu, Chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, Barbara Wold, International Speaking Professional, Retail and Consumer Authority and Rachel DruckenMiller, Unmuted Speaker. Each person spoke in one of the general sessions at MTTS. They brought insight and great tips to those working in the tourism and economic development industries.
As part of this informative, three-day event, annual tourism awards were presented to many deserving individuals within the industry. Award recipients at the annual banquet included Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County for their partnership with Black History 365. The best products were awarded to Visit Hagerstown-Washington County CVB for their Pottery Trail, Beach to Bay Heritage Area and the Town of Berlin for the Reverend Dr. Charles Albert Tindley Mural and Maryland Sports for their Maryland 5 Star event at Fair Hill.
The tradition of honoring one professional, the esteemed “Tourism Person of the Year”, has resulted in 41 professionals from previous years who came together to honor the newest “Pineapple Person,” who is someone who personifies the spirit of hospitality. Terry Hasseltine, Maryland Sports Commission and Maryland Stadium Authority employee, won the 2022 Tourism Person of the Year Award.
Terry Hasseltine, the long-time Executive Director of Maryland’s Sports Commission is an award-winning industry leader whose exceptional commitment has significantly enhanced and perpetuated the tourism industry through sports in Maryland. Terry Hasseltine has served as Executive Director of the Maryland Sports Commission since 2008 and the Vice President of the Maryland Stadium Authority’s Marketing and Communication since2014. He added to his responsibilities in 2019 the President’s role of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, a newly formed non-profit affiliated foundation to support the Maryland’s Sports Commission. Terry was the Chairman of the Sports Event and Tourism Association (Sports ETA, formerly NASC) from April 2013-April 2014 and served on the board for 10+ years. Terry also serves on the Maryland Tourism Coalition Board of Directors, US Sports Congress Advisory Committee and serves in an advisory role with the Maryland Horse Industry Board.
Terry has been instrumental in leading various bid-development and event- support opportunities for the state related to the USEF CCI4*, FIFA World Cup ™, AAU Junior Olympic Games, ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championships, World Football Challenge, Dew Tour, CONCACAF Gold Cup, IronMan, USATF Junior Olympics, Grand Prix, Army-Navy football games and more. Maryland Sports has engaged in well over two billion dollars worth of economic activity and secured over billion dollars worth of those activities in direct spending to date.
Congratulations to all the winners of the evening!
For more information on the Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit, visit https://mdtourism.org/maryland-tourism-travel-summit/