melanie pursel

Melanie Pursel, director of tourism for Worcester County, presented the county’s new brand identity as “Maryland’s Coast” during a kick-off event on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Lighthouse Sound near Bishopville.

(Oct. 30, 2020) Worcester County launched its new brand identity, “Maryland’s Coast,” at a kickoff event last Wednesday at the Lighthouse Sound near Bishopville.

The county commissioners unanimously passed the rebranding plan in August with the tagline “naturally cool,” created by Andrea Vernot of Choptank Communication.

The plan focuses on the coast to attract visitors to Worcester County, not just Ocean City.

Tom Perlozzo, director of recreation and parks, economic development and tourism, said that one of the first steps in creating the plan was combining the three departments he heads.

Our primary goal was to strengthen our reputation as a vibrant destination for new businesses, families, vacationers and sports bar folks,” Perlozzo said.

In focus groups, people were asked “why Worcester” and what words they associated with the county.

Melanie Pursel, director of tourism, said some of the words were water, beach, nature, safe, rural to resort, fun, artistic and cool.

These are things we heard time and time again, regardless if it was a teacher that we spoke to, an elected official or a business owner or just simply a resident,” Pursel said.

She added that Worcester drives tourism, economic development and recreation, especially in light of the covid-19 pandemic.

We are primed with all this pent up demand to become a premier destination, not only in Ocean City, but in Worcester County with the open spaces, the wonderful outdoor activities and the responsible business participation with all the covid protocols,” Pursel said.

In addition to the new logo and marketing materials, Pursel said the county has developed a tourism dashboard that updates monthly to show numbers like web traffic, social media, welcome center visits, visitor guide requests and visitor behavior.

If they visit Ocean City, how do they move around the county? If they’re coming for a birding weekend, do they visit Ocean City? This is data that is going to help all of us moving forward,” Pursel said.

Ivy Wells, director of community and economic development for Berlin, said this rebranding includes the smaller towns.

People come to Ocean City and they travel to Berlin for an event or to shop and they go to Snow Hill for some activities on the water,” Wells said. “You’ve got this beautiful museum down in Pocomoke. I think it’s really important for us to make sure that when people come to Worcester County, that we give them something to do that is away from the beach.”

Scott Lenox, who operates the Fish in OC information services business and hosts Hooked on OC, said that he promotes the county through his businesses, especially fishing.

He added that Worcester has a variety of fishing from the Pocomoke River to offshore.

There’s only one place in Maryland you can have the access to the Atlantic Ocean that our industry relies so much on, and that’s Worcester County,” Lenox said.

Kate Patton, executive director of the Lower Shore Land Trust, said protecting natural resources is a mutual goal.

We spent a lot of our resources and effort working with our partners to ensure that when people come down here, there’s clean waterways and there’s places to go to hike and recreate,” Patton said.

County Commissioner Diana Purnell said that a sense of place comes easy to Worcester County.

Wherever you’re traveling, on Route 1 coming into Ocean City, or navigating Worcester County highways around Snow Hill, or passing the state line on Ocean Highway [Gateway] into Pocomoke, stop in and see what our towns offer you,” Purnell said.

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