Recap: Economic Development Member Exchange Meeting - Business Opportunities Through County Hospitality and Events

Posted Date: 
February 12, 2015

February 12, 2015 Recap

Guest Speaker:  Kelly Groff, President and CEO, Visit Montgomery

Topic: Business Opportunities Through County Hospitality and Events

The vice-chair of the Economic Development Committee, Leslie Ford Weber, welcomed MCCC members and introduced the guest speaker, Kelly Groff, President and CEO of Visit Montgomery, who discussed business opportunities through County hospitality and events.

Visit Montgomery is a 501 c 6 co-located with the Department of Economic Development and under contract with DED. Its budget comes from the local hotel tax.  Its main work is to attract visitors to Montgomery County.  Tourism adds $1.6 billion to the local economy. It is big business.

Last year, there were 4.4 million day visitors.  Montgomery County is a big county with many mini destinations.  It is the gateway to the Nation’s Capital with Metro service, restaurants and over 50 hotels ranging from full to limited service.  Seneca State Park is the top visited State park in Maryland. Great Falls and the C&O Canal are national parks that attract visitors.  The FDA in Silver Spring drives a great deal of traffic to hotels in the east part of the county and Silver Spring in particular.

Visit Montgomery looks to build on the many assets of Montgomery County including parks and recreation, history, niche marketing and trends (food), music festivals, etc.  Looking forward, Visit Montgomery would like more event space to attract large events, it would like to boost weekend activity and it would like to find a location for local high school graduations.

Local legislation impacts tourism from regulations dealing with residents renting their homes through services like AirBnB (and therefore avoiding hotel taxes) to banning the use of pesticides which impacts a facility like the Germantown SoccerPlex.

There is much to discover even for locals. is a great resource for residents and tourists alike.  Ms. Groff’s powerpoint presentation is available from MCCC by request.

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