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6 Dec, 2012

Study Shows National Aquarium Generates $319.6m in economic impact for Baltimore, Maryland, District of Columbia


Baltimore, Maryland (PRWEB) December 05, 2012 – National Aquarium continues to be a major economic force for the Baltimore City, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, supporting $319.6 million in annual economic impact and 3,347 jobs as evidenced in a 2012 economic impact study conducted by Sage Policy Group, Inc. (Sage) that was released today.

The Aquarium commissioned Sage to measure the nonprofit organization’s economic impact on the region to include both the Baltimore and Washington, DC venues. The assessment of that study includes major statistical findings, key analyses and the following essential economic indicators about the Aquarium’s effect on the region:

  • The Aquarium supports substantial employment (3,347 jobs) and economic impacts ($319.6 million) annually for the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia;
  • Collectively, the Aquarium supports $17.9 million in fiscal impact for the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
  • Together, both venues attract more than 1.5 million visitors each year; and
  • Operational expenditures at both venues have expanded to more than $50 million per annum.

“This study demonstrates that the National Aquarium continues to be a driving force for our State’s economic engine by generating vital revenue for our region and supporting jobs for our families,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

“We are proud of our role in sustaining the economic vitality of the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia and its surrounding communities – positively impacting employment, visitation and spending in our region,” said John Racanelli, CEO of National Aquarium. “We may have a reach that spans the nation and world, but our roots are right here in Maryland. We will continue to invest in our local communities fulfill our commitment to inspiring conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures right here in our backyard.”

The Sage study also concludes that operations and visitor spending produce large regional economic impacts. Statewide, the Aquarium supports 3,300 jobs, nearly $127 million in annual employee compensation and has an annual economic impact of $314 million. In Baltimore City alone, the Aquarium supports more than 2,900 jobs, total employee compensa¬tion approaching $118 million, and has an annual economic impact of nearly $272 million.

National Aquarium’s Baltimore venue attracts more than 1.4 million visitors each year and is the number one paid tourist destination in the city. The report estimates that visitors to the Baltimore location spend nearly $205 million per year on lodging, transportation, food, shopping, gas and recreation and that approximately 88.14 percent of visitors claimed it was the primary reason for their visit to the city. Nearly one out of every three (31.3 percent) visitors to National Aquarium, Baltimore stay overnight in the region, providing further impact on local hotels and restaurants.

In the District of Columbia, the updated facility supports 43 jobs associated with annual employee compensation of $2.1 million per annum and local business sales of $5.6 million, according to the study. The study team estimates that visitors to National Aquarium, Washington, DC spend more than $3 million per year on lodging, transportation, food, shopping, gas and recreation.

“More than 30 years ago, National Aquarium changed Baltimore by bringing an incredible attraction to the city and opening its doors to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year who come to Baltimore City,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “Along with the hundreds of jobs created and maintained as well as the millions of dollars going back into the city, National Aquarium is an institution that has helped the city grow and thrive”

The Aquarium’s economic contributions produce positive fiscal impacts, supporting $17.9 million in fiscal impact for the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. In the City of Baltimore, Aquarium operations support nearly $6 million in annual tax revenues. The State of Maryland receives $11.7 million in annual tax revenues from the Aquarium. The Aquarium supports $0.3 million in fiscal impact in Washington, DC.

“The Aquarium is a major anchor of the city’s iconic waterfront and is a vitally important piece of Baltimore and Maryland,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “It not only generates economic impacts, but also enhances our quality of life by celebrating our connection to the Bay and the sea, which makes Maryland a special place to live.”

In addition to economic and fiscal impacts, the Aquarium has made measurable contributions to the region through education and environment impacts. The Aquarium hosts tens of thousands of Maryland students each year, providing young people with insights into the nature of sensitive ecosystems, their personal environmental impacts, and key ways to mitigate these effects. The Aquarium also provides facilities to support cutting edge research—the type of research that will be of enormous importance as Marylanders and others continue to work to improve the conditions of the Chesapeake Bay.

“Among other things, successful communities offer attractive, signature gathering spots. These places draw people from near and far, generating substantial economic and fiscal impacts in the process,” said Anirban Basu, Sage Policy Group Chairman/CEO. “Our research indicates that few institutions in Baltimore enjoy the appeal and generate the impact of the National Aquarium.”

Download The Economic Contributions of the National Aquarium 2012 Assessment (1.4MB)


To quantify economic impacts, Sage utilized Baltimore City, Washington, DC, and Maryland-specific IMPLAN multipliers to generate estimates of employment, income, and output. Calculated employment impacts include both full and part-time workers. The study team has also calculated employment contributions in the form of full-time equivalents (FTE). Labor income is defined as encompassing all forms of employment income including employee compensation (wages and benefits) and proprietor income (earnings of business owners). Output represents the sum total of value-added contributions. This is captured in the form of business sales that take place due to National Aquarium operating expenditures, associated visitor spending, and secondary impacts produced by the businesses and workers that are directly related to Aquarium operations.

To conduct the fiscal portion of the analysis, Sage relied heavily upon publicly available information includ-ing government-published tax rates and budgetary information. As with economic impacts, fiscal impacts have been calculated for the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia.


National Aquarium inspires conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. It champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, education groups and schools to actively participate in the preservation of the world’s natural resources and living-systems. National Aquarium, in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, delivers meaningful experiences through its engaging living collections; our science-based education programs and our hands-on experiences in the field from the Chesapeake Bay to Costa Rica; and partnerships and alliances with like-minded organizations around the world. For more information on National Aquarium, visit http://www.aqua.org.