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Getting The Tourism Industry Out Of The Sand Trap

Cal Ripken Jr. speaking at media day for the BMW Championship which will be held at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills in August. Credit: Baltimore County
Isaac Smay
Cal Ripken Jr., speaking at the media event for the BMW Championship. Credit: Baltimore County

More than 155,000 people lost their tourism-related jobs in Maryland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Local officials are hoping a major PGA tournament, the first to come to the Baltimore area in more than 60 years, will help bring local tourism back.

Tom Riford, the assistant secretary for Maryland’s Department of Commerce, said 65,000 people who had worked in tourism in the state remain unemployed.

“This great PGA event is one of the many critical events that is helping to bring the tourism industry back to full recovery,” Riford said.

The 2021 BMW Championship will be held August 24-29 at the Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills. It will feature 70 of the tour’s top players. They will be vying for 30 slots available for the season-ending tour championship.

“This is like the AFC Championship of Golf,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

Speaking Monday at a media event at Caves Valley, Olszewski said with 160,000 people expected, it will be the largest event of its kind in county history.

“Our people are already responding, with ticket sales up over 40% from prior years,” Olszewski said.

He called it “a game changer for the county,” and said they will use it to tee up other things people can do while attending the tournament.

“We’re excited for BMW ticket holders to experience our emerging craft brewery and winery industry,” Olszewski said. He also touted the county’s 175 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay and its first arts and entertainment district in Catonsville.

The event is expected to pump at least $20 million into the local economy.

Former Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. is a member of the Caves Valley Golf Club. Speaking at the event, Ripken said he is a novice golfer at best.

“I have some potential. I need to apply myself a little bit more,” Ripken said. “Watching the best players navigate the course will be really interesting for me personally.”

You can find more information on the BMW Championshiphere.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2