Hagerstown has a growing tourism base due to attractions such as Willie and Red’s, Abbott’s Candy, and other niche food and retail establishments. Further tourism development will benefit the town and existing businesses.
Goals and Action Plans
- Remain engaged with the Wayne County Tourism Bureau to promote packages including all local attractions
- Coordinating the tourism activities in the town and county into a comprehensive package can enhance tourism for Hagerstown and Richmond. In-town destinations such as Willie and Red’s, Abbott’s, the Nettle Creek Museum and Arts Place, and other restaurants and retail businesses could be jointly marketed to promote visits to Hagerstown. The county could also be promoted as a weekend tourism destination by packaging and promoting transportation, lodging, dining, and recreation/shopping as one unit.
- Develop an alternative foods market
- An alternative foods market such as growing organic fruits and vegetables and processing them into homemade products could serve as a farm- and home-based local value-added industry for Hagerstown. The farms, the processing and the markets could become tourist destinations/attractions in and of themselves. The products can be sold at the town’s farmers market, at Jubilee Days, at a festival market downtown, and local merchants year-round. These locally-produced foods could also be marketed to regional restaurants and independent groceries for wholesale supply.
- Develop Hagerstown as a regional center for fitness and recreation
- The Cardinal Greenway passes near Hagerstown, and this bike trail could be used to promote Hagerstown as a place for bicyclists, walkers, and other athletes to stay and visit while traveling along the Greenway. Seasonal activities can be coordinated and promoted to create recreation opportunities for people of all ages and ability levels. This program could also be linked to the development of active older-resident housing and to other tourism programs.
- Create regional specialty shows with Hagerstown as a focus
- Local and regional vendors could increase the number of customers visiting their stores by coordinating hours and marketing. By coordinating marketing, one or more shows could be promoted throughout the year. These shows would not necessarily be located under one roof, or in one community. The concept is to create a progressive show in which visitors travel between the stores, but are aware of the number of retailers in the area and the hours during which they are open for business. Special activities such as antique restoration demonstrations or music performances could be coordinated to enhance the show experience and draw a larger number of customers into the region.
- Develop a tourism board
- The activities related to tourism development require time, research, and coordination between a number of agencies, organizations, and merchants. Efforts need to be coordinated by a volunteer tourism board and a tourism coordinator employed by the town. Developing a volunteer tourism board is a short-term priority. A tourism coordinator could begin as a part-time position, increasing to full-time as necessary.
- Manage tourist circulation and parking
- Wherever possible, parking lots that are not used during evenings and weekends should be opened for tourist parking. Maintaining sidewalks and introducing pedestrian signage can also encourage tourists to walk from available parking to their destinations downtown.