SALISBURY — The Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland recently hosted the first meeting of the Lower Shore Tourism Alliance.

Group members include tourism directors for municipalities and counties, Chambers of Commerce, heritage tourism groups, eco-tourism representatives and hospitality associations. The group was organized to facilitate communication and coordination of regional events that would expand the tourism industry on the lower shore.

The Tri-County Council wants to support tourism and the hospitality industry, which is a major economic driver in our local economy. Senator Jim Mathias, who is a member of the Tri-County Council Executive Board, will be leading the group as chair.

"The region contains a rich variety of tourism destinations and events from beaches, bays, national and state parks, to heritage and eco-tourism, zoos, wineries and much, much more,” Mathias said. “The success of these venues contributes to capital investment and jobs which increases the chances of our children and families securing long term professions right here on our Lower Eastern Shore. The region is already a known destination for a variety of visitors but the collaboration of this alliance will increase the visibility of the lower shore’s hidden gems."

The Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland was formed by an act of the Maryland General Assembly in 2001. The purpose of the council is to facilitate regional planning and development in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The council membership is made up of municipal, county and state elected officials as well as the county administrators from the three counties.

From the Tri-County Council’s Multi-Purpose Center at the corner of Route 50 and Walston Switch, they work with partners from several state agencies and non-profits to aid the counties in enhancing the region’s quality of life.

The council works closely with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the United States Department of Commerce and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and partners with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development