ANNAPOLIS -- State officials armed with a complex study of Maryland's tourism industry have said for the first time that they know exactly where tourists spent more than $2 billion last year.
The southern Eastern Shore region, which includes Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, accounted for more than one-third of the state's total $6.3 billion in economic activity from tourism.
Much of the region's trade was generated in Ocean City, officials said. Visitors spent $798 million in the region in 1986, generating almost 33,000 jobs.
The estimated $2 billion spent by 25 million visitors in 1986 had a "ripple effect," or total economic impact, of $6.3 billion for related services, officials said.
The 148-page study determined how many tourism dollars a region generated for the entire state and how much was actually spent in the region.
The second-largest money-making region included Montgomery and Prince George's counties, which benefit from trade from the District of Columbia. The region accounted for $957 million of the state's total in tourism-related spending and generated $305 million in income and almost 12,500 jobs.
The central region, with Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford and Howard counties, had an $889 million economic impact, generated $285 million in income and accounted for 12,200 jobs. Baltimore City, bolstered by the convention trade, had the fourth-highest share, with an economic impact of $700 million, $216 million in income and almost 9,000 jobs.
Elsewhere, the study showed tourism in the remaining four regions of the state accounted for a combined share of 20 percent of the state's tourism income.
Tourism in the western Chesapeake region, which consists solely of Anne Arundel County and the state capital Annapolis, accounted for $395 million in economic impact, $128 million in income and 5,500 jobs.
In the western region, including Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties, tourism accounted for $318 million of the state's total $6.3 billion, creating $100 million in income and 4,700 jobs.
The southern region of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties accounted for $292 million of the state's total, $93 million in income and about 4,000 jobs; and the upper Chesapeake region of Caroline, Cecil, Talbots and Queen Anne's counties contributed $227 million to the statewide total, with $70 million in income and 3,000 jobs.
"This kind of information will be useful for marketing the state," said Mary Lou Baker, spokeswoman for the Department of Economic and Employment Development. "You know how you're going to target the advertising."
The detailed study grew from Gov. William Donald Schaefer's desire to develop the state's tourism industry, Baker said. Schaefer believes the state can attract more visitors from overseas, as well as from the United States, by stressing Maryland's proximity to the nation's capital -- or as Schaefer has contended, Washington's proximity to Maryland.
The last comprehensive study of tourism in Maryland was conducted in 1972 by Arthur Little Inc. Since then, the state has relied on figures from the U.S. Travel Data Cente