Four Rivers Heritage Area’s Economic Impact Estimated at $244.8 Million

Jan 22 2021

Four Rivers Heritage Area’s Economic Impact Estimated at $244.8 Million

Results of State-Funded Study Announced

ANNAPOLIS, January 21, 2021 –Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), the governing body of the Maryland Heritage Areas Program, today released the results of a study that estimates the contribution of the Four Rivers Heritage Area to the statewide economy to be more than $244.8 million, and 3,469 jobs.

“At Four Rivers Heritage Area our top priority is the development of heritage tourism, but it is important to note that Four Rivers Heritage Area also plays a vital role in both the state and the regional economies. Our operations and the economic activity generated by our operations, grantmaking, collaborative programs and heritage-tourism activities touch virtually every corner of our regional economy including outdoor recreation,” said Tim Leahy, Chair of the Four Rivers Board of Directors.

“Every day the residents of Annapolis, South County, and Maryland as a whole benefit from efforts made by the Four Rivers Heritage Area. As we can see from this report this is not just for environmental, cultural, and historic reasons – but also for the millions of dollars in economic activity generated by the Heritage Area. This program is essential to preserving what makes our communities so special,” said Senator Sarah Elfreth of Maryland’s District 30.

 “We all know that Anne Arundel County is a special place – largely due to our rich history, our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, and our strong communities,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Now, this economic impact study reminds us how important those things are to our economy. The Four Rivers Heritage Area has a measurable annual impact on our county – to the tune of nearly $250 million and nearly 3,500 jobs. I want to thank the Four Rivers Heritage Area and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority for the tremendous support and resources they bring to Anne Arundel County.”

The study was commissioned by Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and was conducted by Parker Philips, Inc. a nationally recognized consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis.

“An economic contribution analysis is an objective way to measure the significance of an organization in the regional economy; it is a tool that policy makers can use to inform their decisions about how to allocate funding and make smart investment decisions,” said Nichole Parker, Co-Founder and Principal Partner at Parker Philips. “Clearly, Four Rivers Heritage Area is a major contributor to the regional economy and raises the profile and value of heritage tourism.”

In the analysis, the study considered the direct spending on operations, pay, benefits, grants and heritage tourists by Four Rivers Heritage Area and the estimated increase in demand for goods and services in industry sectors that supply or support the heritage tourism in the heritage area.

According to the study, a key result of the program and heritage tourism is that Four Rivers Heritage Area supports and sustains 3,469 jobs including direct employment by the Four Rivers Heritage Area, as well as indirect and induced jobs created by supply and equipment vendors, jobs created in the community at hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in support of the Four Rivers Heritage Area’s operations, grantmaking and heritage tourists.

The study also calculated tax revenues generated by this level of economic activity, including sales, property, personal income and corporate income taxes. The study concluded that Four Rivers Heritage Area generates about $32,802,447 in tax revenues for state and local government.

Statewide, the Maryland Heritage Areas Program, including all 13 certified Heritage Areas, heritage tourists, grantmaking and program spending had a total statewide economic contribution of $2.4 billion. This activity generated an estimated 33,815 jobs in the state. It is estimated that nearly 20.7 million tourists in the state are heritage tourists.

This economic impact report for the Four Rivers Heritage Area is available here: Four Rivers Economic Impact Report 2020 reduced.


The Four Rivers Heritage Area, one of Maryland’s thirteen state certified heritage areas, is part of the Maryland Heritage Areas Program. For more information, please visit or call the heritage area office at 410-222-1805.

About MHAA

The Maryland Heritage Areas Program is governed by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) and administered by the Maryland Historical Trust. MHAA provides targeted financial and technical assistance within 13 locally designated Heritage Areas, each of which has a distinct focus or theme that represents a unique aspect of Maryland’s character. Local partners operating within Heritage Areas may be eligible for a variety of benefits designed to support economic development through heritage tourism, including grants, tax credits and loans. Together, MHAA, the Heritage Areas and local partners support the economic well-being of Maryland’s communities by promoting, sustaining and creating place-based experiences for visitors and residents alike.