Area organizations, individuals win tourism awards

Some individuals and organizations in the Crossroads area took home honors from the annual Maryland Tourism Awards ceremony in College Park.

The event was part of the 37th Annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit, sponsored and managed by the Maryland Tourism Coalition.

Area awards went to:

• Best product or event (small): Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, Celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Mountain Maryland Getaway to the West Heritage Area effort.

• Best product or event (large): Visit Hagerstown and the city of Hagerstown, for the Hagerstown Cultural Trail The trail was designed over a former railroad system and is dotted with public art installations, gathering places and other amenities. “The trail, which connects the downtown Arts and Entertainment District with the Museum of Fine Arts in City Park, is quickly becoming a top tourist spot,” according to the state news release.

• Best website: Visit Frederick, which was praised as easy to navigate for potential visitors and easy to update for businesses. Interactive custom maps are available to users. The new website has seen a 21 percent increase in traffic in the past year.

• Best digital campaign: Garrett County Chamber of Commerce for the “living video scenes” on its website that show outdoor activities available in the county. Each site includes links to attractions, deals, a visitor’s guide and a calendar of events. County ambassadors can also take these assets on the road via virtual reality headsets with the videos to lure potential visitors.

• New professional of the year: Visit Frederick’s Melissa Muntz, who led the county’s efforts to relaunch its website and organized trainings both internally and with external business partners. She also organized a media tour of the county’s four new distilleries that resulted in nearly a dozen articles written promoting the burgeoning industry. She also launched a foodie newsletter to showcase local food and beverage outlets that had nearly 3,000 subscribers.