Visit Baltimore Awarded Grant to Increase Diversity Marketing

The City’s destination sales and marketing arm receives grant from State of Maryland to relaunch Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass

Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 2:30pm

(Baltimore, MD – July 25, 2019) – Visit Baltimore, the official destination sales and marketing arm for the nation’s largest independent city, is pleased to announce it has been awarded grant funds through the Maryland Tourism Development Board’s 2019 “Open for It” grant program. The funds will allow Visit Baltimore to broaden the organization’s diversity marketing initiatives with the relaunch of its Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass program. The program aims to inspire overnight travel to Baltimore by raising awareness of the city as an essential destination for learning about and understanding the African American experience.

“The Maryland Tourism Development Board and the Office of Tourism are pleased to support marketing efforts that are targeted to audiences while encouraging overnight stays to drive revenue that benefits Marylanders,” said Judy Bixler, Chair, Maryland Tourism Development Board, which offers private-sector expertise to the Department of Commerce's Office of Tourism Development.

“These grant funds will enhance the relaunch of our Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass and will help us continue to tell the story of Baltimore’s rich African American heritage,” said Al Hutchinson, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore. “We want locals and visitors alike to come experience the attractions and activities that bring Baltimore’s African American history, culture and traditions to life.”

As part of the Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass program relaunch, Visit Baltimore will continue its longstanding partnership with greiBO, a local boutique agency. Visit Baltimore and greiBO will continue to promote The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, featured in the current pass, while adding a selection of other family-friendly activities to encourage visitors to further explore Baltimore and take advantage of all the city has to offer.

The revitalization of the Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass complements Visit Baltimore’s other recent diversity marketing initiatives, including:

  • Hispanic Engagement Seminar Series – In partnership with local consulting agency Cool & Associates, LLC, Visit Baltimore hosted three interactive workshops to create awareness within the hospitality industry of the trends and marketing tactics that resonate most with Hispanic and Spanish-speaking communities.
  • Harbor & Light – Visit Baltimore hosted Harbor & Light, a free public event series that connected the local community and visitors with culturally diverse makers, craftspeople and creative entrepreneurs from across the city. Held on the second Friday of the month from April through June, the events offered hands-on workshops, tastings, live music and a marketplace of locally made goods available for purchase.
  • PRIDE – Visit Baltimore showed its support of the city’s LGBTQ community at Baltimore Pride Weekend 2019, giving away traditional Baltimore lemon sticks to Block Party attendees. A street team of staff and partners, led by CEO Al Hutchinson, drove a colorfully decorated “ice trike” through the festivities, delivering the refreshing and nostalgic treat to Pride attendees throughout Station North.
  • Essence Partnership – A springtime digital marketing partnership between Visit Baltimore and Essence magazine inspired African American Millennial families to choose Baltimore for their next travel experience. Essence’s Julee Wilson wrote online about her family’s weekend spent exploring the city’s landmarks, murals and African American cultural attractions. Other support included banner advertisements on Essence’s Black Travel Guide, social media posts and email marketing.
  • Meeting and Event Planning Guide – Visit Baltimore dedicated the July issue of its Meeting and Event Planning Guide to celebrating Baltimore’s diversity and promoting inclusive planning strategies for meetings and events. The guide features African American chefs dominating the food scene, provides sample itineraries celebrating the Year of the Woman and highlights event spaces with storied pasts.

In addition, Visit Baltimore has several upcoming diversity initiatives. These include:

  • Visit Baltimore Board – Visit Baltimore’s Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee, which was created to represent Baltimore’s African American as well as Hispanic/Latino and LQBTQ community, will be elevated to committee Board level in Fall 2019.
  • Diversity and Inclusion Training – Visit Baltimore will host a diversity and inclusion training for the hospitality community to include restaurants, attractions and hotels. It will also develop an annual Diversity and Inclusion training program for Baltimore’s tourism ambassador network.
  • 2021-2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®), the nation’s first African American athletic conference, recently selected Baltimore as the official site of the 2021-2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. As one of the most highly attended basketball tournaments among all NCAA divisions, the CIAA Tournament is expected to bring more than 140,000 fans to Baltimore.
  • Multicultural Tourism Grant Program – Visit Baltimore will pilot a new Multicultural Tourism Grant Program, operated out of its charitable arm The Visit Baltimore Foundation. The program’s goal is to provide local not-for-profit entities in the multicultural tourism space with capacity-building resources for marketing and promotional programs.

To stay up-to-date with the Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass program and the latest Visit Baltimore campaigns and initiatives, please visit and follow Visit Baltimore on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Visit Baltimore
Visit Baltimore is the official sales and marketing arm for the City of Baltimore. The 501(c)(6) organization generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. In 2017, spending by travelers totaled $5.7 billion in direct spending throughout the city, supporting 85,678 jobs and generating $717 million in state and city tax revenues. For more information, please visit


Jessie Krebs
Visit Baltimore
[email protected]