1. What is the mission of your organization?
We are the recognized Destination Marketing Organization for the City of Frederick and Frederick County, working to attract visitors to our community through three programs: Destination Marketing, Destination Development, and Visitor Services. Visitors here now spend in excess of $1-million per day, on average, which benefits not only businesses, but every taxpayer in the county.
2. What are your top priorities?
Our top marketing priority is promoting, through traditional and new media channels, Frederick’s assets that are of interest to visitors. Currently these include our wineries, breweries & distilleries, culinary & unique shopping opportunities, outdoor recreation, and heritage. Family Fun and Carroll Creek Park have been drawing increasing visitor interest lately. Our top development priority is advocating for the Downtown Hotel at Carroll Creek. The top Visitor Services priority is helping our visitors have the best experience possible. Check the Frederick Visitor Center’s TripAdvisor reviews sometime to see what great feedback is provided after people have been here.
3. How did the organization get started/tell us some history about your organization.
The Tourism Council “spun off” from a tourism committee at the Chamber of Commerce in 1976. This was the national bicentennial year and Frederick was taking pride in its role in the nation’s history. The Chamber felt that there ought to be a separate organization focused on growing tourism, and the new organization was incorporated that fall. It is an early example of a public-private partnership. County and municipal government support is combined with dues and sponsorships from local businesses. Tourism was housed in a City-owned building at 19 E. Church Street until renovating an old cannery warehouse on the new East Street gateway as the relocated Frederick Visitor Center in 2011.
4. Can you share any upcoming events or any news about your organization?
Visit Frederick, as we brand ourselves these days, has been honored to be asked by Destinations International to make presentations about the success of the Frederick Visitor Center this year. This association of destination marketing organizations dedicated a session to our project at their annual convention in Montreal this summer. Based on the feedback they received, we were asked to present again at their Visitor Services Summit in Columbus Ohio this fall. Executive Director John Fieseler and Visitor Services Manager Cindy Yount will be explaining how the current Frederick Visitor Center was the result of the organization’s determination that visitor information centers are still very relevant in the age of the internet and GPS, but that they can’t be just brochures and a desk anymore. Increasing annual visitation numbers and very positive visitor feedback bear this out.
As far as events, we generally promote events that other people organize. We are blessed to be in a community that is so active with special events throughout the year. One that we do organize ourselves is the annual Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship on the day after Christmas. This popular free event has been happening for more than three decades, and all are encouraged to attend.
5. What type of companies are best positioned to take advantage of your services?
Anyone that does business with visitors to Frederick benefits from increased promotion of the area as a destination. We are still set up as a membership organization, but recently lowered our annual dues to just $50 so that this wouldn’t be a deterrent to small businesses. Lodging, dining, shopping and attractions (everything from art to wineries) are the types of businesses about which visitors most often seek information.
If you go:
Visit Frederick (Tourism Council of Frederick County)
151 S. East Street, Frederick, MD 21701