Visit Baltimore head defends $5M spent on a ‘safe travel’ campaign during Covid-19

December 24, 2020

Visit Baltimore President Al Hutchinson defended money spent on a tourism campaign created and launched during the pandemic after it drew questions from city officials this week.

The tourism agency’s short-lived “We’re Ready” campaign rolled out in mid-November and was pulled from billboards, social media, radio and television less than a month later amid a new tightening of restrictions brought on by the latest spike in Covid-19 infections.

Wednesday, with approval for $5 million in federal grant money used for the ads and other efforts up for a vote by the city’s Board of Estimates, Hutchinson said the marketing campaign — developed in the fall when coronavirus case counts were lower — was an instance of trying to help local businesses without knowing exactly what the future would bring.

The details came after city officials including new Comptroller Bill Henry raised concerns about the messaging, which came at a time when Baltimore was encouraging its residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel or gatherings.

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