LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Earlier this month, the St. Mary’s Health Department began the county’s mass vaccination campaign as part of the larger government push to get the virus under control and reopen the economy. In an effort to support the Southern Maryland businesses that have modified their operations to remain open safely, Visit St. Mary’s MD, Inc. (VSM), the official Destination Marketing Organization for St. Mary’s County, will be investing over $30,000 in the next five months in local promotion and over $200,000 in regional marketing. These promotional efforts will be funded by grants from the State of Maryland earmarked for marketing and promotions of St. Mary’s County as a travel destination and for the promotion of local businesses to residents and visitors.
The first campaign VSM is launching is to raise awareness of First Fridays in Leonardtown – monthly gatherings that encourage locals to come to Downtown Leonardtown to shop, eat, and explore Leonardtown’s retailers while enjoying special events and activities. Ads promoting First Fridays in general, and monthly ads showcasing the featured theme and specials, will run in print, digital, social and radio formats throughout the county.
Additional campaigns will promote other opportunities for residents to explore and support local businesses, attractions, events and even plan a “staycation” right in their own backyard.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase the unique experiences in St. Mary’s County to our community. We are confident that residents will learn more and have an experience they may not have known is right here in their own backyard” explained Regina Faden, Chair of the Board for Visit St. Mary’s.
In addition to the Hometown grant funds, the State of Maryland has granted VSM additional funding to attract residents within driving distance of St. Mary’s County to the area this Spring and Summer for weekend getaway itineraries, large scale events such as the Potomac Jazz and Seafood Festival and the Oyster Festival, and experiences for a variety of outdoor activity enthusiasts. Tourism is the second largest contributor to the local economy following the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. VSM’s marketing efforts are expected to help the county recover more quickly from the economic impact of the pandemic and to help local businesses to recover and flourish in the future, while achieving long term economic diversification for the County.