Heritage Areas Make a Difference

Cumberland, January 21, 2021 -Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), the governing body of the Maryland Heritage Areas Program, today released the results of a study that estimates the contribution of Passages of the Western Potomac Heritage Area (PWPHA) (formerly Canal Place Heritage Area) to the statewide economy to be $19.5 million and 273 jobs.

‘At the PWPHA our top priority is the development and celebration of heritage tourism, but it is important to note that the PWPHA also plays a vital role in both the state and the regional economies. Our operations and the economic activity generated by our operations, grantmaking and heritage tourism touch virtually every corner of our regional economy including outdoor recreation,’ said Executive Director of the PWPHA, Deidra Ritchie.

The study was commissioned by the 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; it is a tool that policy makers can use to inform their decisions about how to allocate funding and make smart investment decisions,’ said Nichole Parker, Co-Founder and Principal Partner at Parker Philips. ‘Clearly, the Passages of the Western Potomac Heritage Area is a major contributor to the regional economy and raises the profile and value of heritage tourism.’

In the analysis, the study considered the direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, grants and heritage tourists by the PWPHA and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support the heritage tourism in the PWPHA.

According to the study, a key result of the program and heritage tourism is that PWPHA supports and sustains 273 jobs including direct employment by the PWPHA, 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 the PWPHA 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 PWPHA generates about $2.6 million in tax revenues for state and local government.

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.

This economic impact report for the Passages of the Western Potomac Heritage Area is available at www.passagesofthepotomac.org.

In 1993, Maryland’s first heritage area, Canal Place, was created. The Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority was also established to oversee the preservation, development, and management of the heritage area in Cumberland around the western end of the C&O Canal. In 2018, the heritage area expanded to include significant districts in Cumberland and also into the city of Frostburg. After the expansion, the heritage area was renamed to Passages of the Potomac Heritage Area, and includes sites that tell a fascinating story of early America from the mid 1700’s through to today.

About MHAA

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.


Economic Impact Summary

PWPHA Makes an Impact

MHAA Full Impact Study December 2020