Baltimore is missing out on visitors as it awaits a convention center update, the head of the city’s tourism arm said last week.
“Because we don’t have availability of dates… we’ve lost almost 2 million in hotel room nights that would come to Baltimore” between fiscal years 2012 and 2017, Visit Baltimore CEO Al Hutchinson told business leaders at a meeting of the Maryland Economic Development Commission on May 31.
Hutchinson cited an update to the city’s aging convention center as one of his organization’s top priorities when it comes to bringing tourists to Baltimore.
“Travelers, they want a building with technology, they want it new, they want a sizzle,” he said. “That’s a huge growth opportunity. This has to happen if we want to be competitive.”
Improving the city-owned convention center, which first opened in 1979 and saw its last major update more than two decades ago, has been on Baltimore’s to-do list for years. A $1 million feasibility study looking at an expansion of the convention center launched last fall and is due to be released sometime this year. Officials from the Maryland Stadium Authority, which is overseeing the report, said last month that the report could be released in early June.
State officials said in March 2016 that an expansion could cost $600 million.