REMINDER -- "STARS" AWARDS LUNCHEON/ALLIED MEMBER TRADE SHOW All indications are that the event will be a sell out this year. The date is Tuesday March 4, 2014 and the location is the historic and majestic Grand Historic Venue in Baltimore. The Allied Member Trade Show opens at 10 AM and the STARS Luncheon is at Noon. Click here for more details and to register online for more details and to register online. NATIONAL HARBOR CASINO SITE PLANS APPROVAL ON FAST TRACK A County Planning Board hearing on site plans may be held as early as April. If approved by the Planning Board, the next steps are final approval by the County Council and securing building permits. Assuming all goes well, ground breaking could occur this summer and the casino will be open in July 2016. MONTGOMERY COUNTY MINIMUM WAGE UPDATE Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice recently acknowledged that if the difference between an increased state minimum wage and Montgomery County's new local minimum wage is more than one dollar, that difference could put businesses in Montgomery County at a competitive disadvantage. BWI AIRPORT TRAFFIC DOWN SLIGHTLY LAST YEAR DESPITE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL SURGE The 0.8% drop in overall traffic occurred despite record passenger numbers in January, March, May and December of 2013 and a 20% increase in international passengers. Airport officials say the October federal government shutdown and sequestration were largely responsible for the overall decline. THANK YOU MH&LA MEMBERS WHO ATTENDED TOURISM DAY IN ANNAPOLIS Sponsored annually by the Maryland Tourism Council (MTC) and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (MDMO), Tourism Day is always a great opportunity for tourism industry professionals from across Maryland to reinforce the positive impact of tourism on Maryland's economy. CARNIVAL CRUISES BACK TO BALTIMORE WITH TERMINAL UPGRADES ON THE HORIZON Carnival Pride will be sailing out of Baltimore again beginning in March 2015. The state has also committed to upgrade Baltimore's cruise ship terminal with a $4 million face-lift that will include an electronic billboard, a heated area for passenger pickups, new counters and new carpeting.