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How Heritage Tourism and Preservation Help Baltimore’s Economy

Every year Baltimore draws visitors from all over the country to explore the city’s history and discover its role in shaping American identity. Heritage tourism and historic preservation work hand-in-hand to maintain Baltimore’s historic character and generate local spending by visitors and residents alike.

Heritage tourism is broadly defined as traveling to experience the sites and events that authentically represent a place’s history. With heritage travellers typically staying longer and spending more, cities with strong histories and intact historic areas—like Baltimore—look to heritage tourism as a sustainable way to boost the local economy. The city welcomes more than two million visitors a year, generating more than $300 million in economic benefits to the city, region, and state.

The benefits of heritage tourism in Baltimore extend far beyond economics. Concentrating on the resources in a neighborhood or district helps create a distinct sense of place. Not only does this promote the neighborhood as a desirable destination, it also helps residents take pride in their community and its history. Historic properties and landscapes are actively saved, maintained, and reused as key elements of the city’s heritage and identity.

The large number of historic districts and properties in the city also works to encourage financial investment. The preservation of historic properties (restoration, rehabilitation, and maintenance) commonly uses local skilled labor, helping to create jobs, generate local spending, and widen the tax base. Financial incentives for preservation, such as investment tax credits, grants, easements and low-interest loans, encourage these preservation activities that strengthen the local economy. By preserving their homes with these incentives, Baltimore residents that own and live in historic houses can benefit.

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