Economic contribution study released for Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area
The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) has released the results of an economic impact study that estimates that the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area (HCCHA) contributes $40.2 million to the statewide economy and supports and sustains 570 jobs.
“In the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, our top priority is to protect, preserve and promote Dorchester County’s unique historic, cultural and natural resources,” said Julie Gilberto-Brady, manager of the HCCHA. “But it is important to note that our heritage area also plays a vital role in both the state and the regional economies. Our operations and the economic activity generated by our operations, grants and heritage tourism touch virtually every corner of our regional economy, including outdoor recreation.”
Study measures significance of Heritage Area in region
The study was commissioned by Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and was conducted by Parker Philips, Inc. a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis.
“An economic contribution analysis is an objective way to measure the significance of an organization in the regional economy,” said Nichole Parker, co-founder and principal partner at Parker Philips. “It is a tool that policy makers can use to inform their decisions about how to allocate funding and make smart investment decisions. Clearly, the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area is a major contributor to the regional economy and raises the profile and value of heritage tourism.”
Analysis considers tourism spending, tax revenues
In the analysis, the study considered the direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, grants and heritage tourists by HCCHA and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support local heritage tourism.
According to the study, a key result of the program and heritage tourism is that HCCHA supports and sustains 570 jobs. This includes including direct employment by the HCCHA, as well as indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors; jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants and retail stores in support of HCCHA’s operations; grantmaking; and heritage tourists.
The study also calculated tax revenues generated by this level of economic activity, including sales, property, personal income and corporate income taxes. The study concluded that HCCHA generates about $5.3 million in tax revenues for state and local government.
Statewide impact totals $2.4 billion
Statewide, the Maryland Heritage Areas Program, including all 13 certified Heritage Areas, heritage tourists, grantmaking and program spending had a total statewide economic contribution of $2.4 billion. This activity generated an estimated 33,815 jobs in the state. It is estimated that nearly 20.7 million tourists in the state are heritage tourists.
The Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area (HCCHA) leverages public and private partnerships to assist individuals, organizations and government entities protect, preserve and promote Dorchester County’s unique historic, cultural and natural resources. Its mission is to broaden and deepen the beneficial effect of heritage tourism on the local economy through advocacy, interpretation and preservation that enhances assets and people’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of those assets. Most of Dorchester County is certified as the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. The unique themes that define HCCHA are: Agricultural Life; Arts, Artists and Entertainment; Chesapeake Landscapes and Outdoor Adventures; Dorchester Families and Traditions; Dorchester History, Architecture and Artifacts; The Environment; Harriet Tubman and the Eastern Shore African-American History; Maritime Villages, Trades and Life; and Native American Heritage.
The Maryland Heritage Areas Program is governed by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust. MHAA provides targeted financial and technical assistance within 13 locally designated Heritage Areas, each of which has a distinct focus or theme that represents a unique aspect of Maryland’s character. Local partners operating within Heritage Areas may be eligible for a variety of benefits designed to support economic development through heritage tourism, including grants, tax credits and loans. Together, MHAA, the Heritage Areas and local partners support the economic well-being of Maryland’s communities by promoting, sustaining and creating place-based experiences for visitors and residents alike.