The National Aquarium in Maryland generates more than $300 million a year for the state of Maryland, directly and indirectly providing more than 3,300 jobs, according to a study conducted by the Sage Policy Group. The Baltimore Sun reports that many of those visiting the National Aquarium come from out of state, spend plenty of money in the area and say the aquarium is one of the primary reasons that they visited the area. The report also stated that annual state tax revenues generated by the aquarium are approximately $11.7 million, and close to $6 million for the city. The study also put a figure of $206 million a year that visitors pay for lodging, transportation, food, shopping, gas and recreation.
The aquarium commissioned the study at a cost of $20,000. It received a $2.5 million capital grant from the state in an effort to renovate its main attraction, currently called the Ray Tray and soon to be renamed the Blacktip Reef. The cost of the renovation, according to the report is an estimated $12.5 million and will be designed to look and function like that of a healthy reef found in the Indo-Pacific.
“I think what we were most pleased with was the fact that in this difficult time we’re able to give back and be the economic engine that creates these jobs,” John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium Institute, told the paper. Racanelli, who took over as CEO in 2011, is hoping that the aquarium takes a larger role in conservation education and in an effort to do so, wants to ensure that the aquarium remains fresh and relevant for its guests. The recreated Indo-Pacific reef will help to educate aquarium visitors how important the region is to the health and well-being of the world’s oceans.
To download the complete study “The Economic Contributions of the National Aquarium 2012 Assessment” in Adobe PDF format, visit the National Aquarium website here.