Ocean City, Maryland, welcomes group tours with 10 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach, a 3-mile Boardwalk, wildlife areas, historical museums and 10,000 hotels rooms. An attentive tourism department puts the cap on a memorable itinerary by taking time to thank visitors for coming.
We talked with Norma Dobrowolski, destination sales, marketing and CVB manager at the Ocean City Convention & Visitors Bureau, to learn what tour groups can expect from a visit.
Q. Tell us about yourself. What is your role with the tourism bureau?
A. I have been with the Ocean City MD Department of Tourism/CVB for 25 years this summer! I feel like it has gone by in five years, not 25! There has hardly ever been two days alike. I began in public/visitor relations, added group tour and travel and then also membership management of the CVB. Add in a bit of advertising and the travel shows and it has been very busy and fulfilling.
Q. How do you describe Ocean City to someone who has never visited before?
A. What always strikes me about Ocean City is the wide, clean beach and looking out across the ocean. It just strikes your imagination about what is going on across the sea and yet can also clear your mind to see that wide expanse of water and the sounds of the sea.
Q. What makes Ocean City a unique destination?
A. We are such a rural drive yet large metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are just three hours away and Pittsburgh and New York are within a day’s drive. Folks can really leave the city behind and relax within hours of home.
Q. Why should tour operators bring their groups to Ocean City?
A. Along with our 10 miles of beach, we have an award-winning 3-mile Boardwalk that is really popular. Arcades, fun food and shops along with people-watching are some great experiences as folks enjoy all we have to offer.
We are surrounded by water, and there are soft water activities like fishing and boat tours and parasailing and jet skis for the more adventuresome.
Q. What’s one stop in Ocean City that groups should not miss?
A. Most every group discovers the wild ponies at Assateague Island National Seashore Park. They are wild and charming with their folklore background and unique herds.
Q. What services does the bureau offer to tour operators?
A. We are happy to meet and greet upon request. We enjoy that very much, to be able to actually thank folks for visiting Ocean City on behalf of our mayor and council and the Department of Tourism.
We usually can provide a small gift, brochures, and information or coupon booklets to help visitors make the most of their time here and enjoy all they can.
Q. Is there anything else tour planners should know about Ocean City?
A. They will get their very best rates and availability Sunday through Thursdays. That is the opposite pattern of larger cities but because we are a resort town there is value to be found in visiting weekdays with us. Spring and fall are wonderful times to be here and best for value in planning.
For more information, visit ococean.com.
Main photo: Ocean City Beach; Credit: Ocean City CVB