Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee

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Chair: John Racanelli, President & CEO, The National Aquarium

Staff: Teresa Milio Birge, 410-727-2820

Description: The Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee is made up of leadership and management of GBC members in and/or doing business with the hospitality and entertainment industries, as well as cultural institutions, in the Greater Baltimore Region. The committee works to identify and address key issues facing the hospitality, entertainment and tourism industries by supporting or implementing projects and policies that would be beneficial to the companies, organizations and institutions that often present Baltimore’s image to the outside world.

Membership: Membership in this committee is by invitation only.


2019 Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee news:

2019 was the inaugural year of the Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee, chaired by John Racanelli, President & CEO of the National Aquarium. Members started the year by creating a mission statement and specific goals to maximize government investment in the tourism, entertainment and culture sectors. Later in the year, the committee met with Tom Riford, the new Maryland Assistant Secretary of Labor for Tourism, Film and the Arts, as well as Chanel Compton, Director of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture at the Banneker-Douglass Museum.

The GBC Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee met on November 6, 2019, for a presentation from Chanel Compton, Director of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Compton shared the history of the commission and museum and discussed the many programs offered by the museum. With more than 10,000 visitors a year, the museum holds many community programs, teacher trainings, after school programs, a youth conference, lectures and special events. In 2020, the museum will honor the centennial of the women’s right to vote and the sesquicentennial of the black men’s right to vote with The Black Vote Mural Project. More information on the project can be found at the museum’s website at

The GBC Tourism, Entertainment and Culture Committee convened on September 12, 2019. Committee Chair John Racanelli, President and CEO of the National Aquarium, introduced Tom Riford, the new Assistant Secretary of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts at the Maryland Department of Commerce. Riford shared information about the Department’s efforts to promote these industries throughout the state.

Mia Blom, Public Affairs Manager for Visit Baltimore, updated committee members on the status of the Baltimore Tourism Improvement District (TID). The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in 2019 authorizing the City of Baltimore to establish through ordinance a TID. With the recent vote by district hotels to approve a special assessment for the TID, the TID is on track to begin collecting assessments by the end of 2019.