According to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, 2016 was a banner year for tourism in the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Maryland. The resort area recorded a 3.6% increase in county accommodations sales, a 7% 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 Chamber attributes much of the increase to an aggressive marketing plan with concentrated efforts and new ad strategies. Fiscal year 2017 is shaping up to continue this trend. According to the Maryland Office of Tourism, Garrett County’s increases have outpaced the rest of the state in tourism growth. For the first six months of Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016), Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 4.6%, while Garrett County grew tourism sales tax revenues 7.2% during the same time period. Maryland grew lodging sales tax code collections 5.8% while Garrett County grew lodging sales tax collections 9.5%.
Garrett County experienced similar increases in fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016). Maryland grew tourism sales tax revenues 6.4% in fiscal year 2016, 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 an impressive 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. “ The Chamber, as the Destination Marketing Organization for the County, is pleased to see that our strategies are proving effective and that our efforts are yielding strong results for our community.”
The western-most county in Maryland, is home to the state’s largest freshwater lake, Deep Creek Lake, Wisp Resort, the state’s only ski resort, and Adventure Sports Center International, one of only two recirculating whitewater courses in the western hemisphere. Garrett County's close proximity to dense populations may be credited for its growing popularity. With just a three-hour drive from the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, two hours from Pittsburgh, PA, Winchester, VA and Hagerstown, MD and a 45-minute drive from Morgantown, WV and Cumberland, MD, vacationers seeking a mountain adventure are just a short drive away.