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Hotels, local government gearing up for G-8

Monday - 3/12/2012, 10:00am  ET


The G-8 leaders will be talking about global financial stability, but their weekend at Camp David could be anything but stable for the local business community.

That same weekend, May 18-19, there are three college graduations as well as other events such as weddings, social events and more.

"I've spoken with a couple of hotel general managers who are already forecasting sellouts the weekend of the G-8 Summit, before the change to Camp David," said John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County.

The summit was to be held in Chicago, but was moved to Camp David unexpectedly last week.

Fieseler said last year on the same weekend, local hotels and bed and breakfasts were at 85 percent occupancy.

Peter H. Plamondon Jr., co-president of the Plamondon Cos. that operates several Marriott hotels in Frederick, said that weekend was already "tight" in room bookings before the relocation of the summit was made public.

Hood College, Gettysburg College and McDaniel College in Westminster are all holding graduations that Saturday, Fieseler said.

"Frederick County Public Libraries has asked us to advise the press corps about the availability of WiFi and meeting rooms at the Thurmont Regional Library," Fieseler said.

"Beyond that, we will be prepared to respond to individual requests for information about services and amenities available in Frederick County," Fieseler said. "We work with journalists on a regular basis, although they typically are travel or food writers.

Fieseler said no matter the focus of journalists' stories, there is a benefit to making them aware of all that Frederick County has to offer.

"I've already had a call from the U.K. this morning from someone trying to get the lay of the land about lodging and dining opportunities," Fieseler said. "This awareness often leads to some future exposure."

Jessica Hibbard, spokeswoman for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, said she hoped the president would stick around or return after the summit for the chamber's 100th anniversary celebration May 21. The organization had already invited the president before learning the summit would be held in May.

"Frederick's position in the Baltimore-Washington region and proximity to Camp David makes it a strategic location for the media and government officials covering the G-8 event," said Richard Griffin, director of Frederick city's economic development office.

"Our hotels, airport, retail and restaurants will be critical to serve the huge numbers of people coming to witness this historic event. The world will be watching and Frederick will be front and center.

"Not only are we proud to serve the event, but additionally believe that this will be an economic infusion for the businesses in our community," Griffin said.

The G-8 summit brings positive impact for Frederick County, said Robin Santangelo, public information officer for Frederick County Government.--

"After conversations with the Tourism Council of Frederick County and others involved in the planning stages, we are organizing a meeting of agencies that may be impacted by this important meeting."

She said public safety is a priority for both visitors and residents, and their input will be critical in preparing for the event.

"Everyone will be touched in some way by the summit, and in our usual fashion, the allied agencies in Frederick County will work together to share information and be prepared to welcome our guests during the summit," Santangelo said.

Agencies to be invited to the meeting include the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and the Frederick Police Department, Tourism Council, Frederick County Business Development & Retention Office, City of Frederick Economic Development Office, Frederick County Emergency Management Division, State Highway Administration, Frederick County Highway Operations, municipal officials, Frederick County Fire & Rescue Division, State Police, TransIT, Downtown Frederick Partnership, the Frederick Chamber of Commerce, representatives from local schools, and anyone with an interest in keeping abreast of developments.

--"We will discuss issues such as transportation, parking, economic impact, what other events are planned for that timeframe. Our main purpose is to share information at this point and help get everyone on the same page," Santangelo said.