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Police on bikes patrol the Inner Harbor last month. Baltimore tourism officials say they do not anticipate the trials of the six police officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray to hurt the city’s tourism industry. (File photo)

Visit Baltimore: Tourism won’t be affected by police trials

Even though the trials for the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have led to an increased police presence around Baltimore, officials don’t expect the trials to hurt the city’s tourism industry.

“Since the trials are currently scheduled during our non-peak tourism season, and the response has been peaceful in nature, we don’t anticipate any additional impact above what we’ve already been experiencing,” Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan said in a statement.

While the trial of Officer William Porter was underway, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events held its convention downtown with record attendance, said Noonan, adding that the city is anticipating a packed January convention schedule. The officers’ trials are scheduled to go through March.

Baltimore’s tourism industry has taken a hit since rioting following Gray’s death in April. Hotel occupancy has been down 5-to-7 percent, while attendance at museums, restaurants and other attractions has been down 10-to-20 percent.

In October, Visit Baltimore revived its “Meet Local” campaign to give a short-term boost to the city’s hospitality industry, which employs 82,000 people in and around Baltimore and makes up 7.4 percent of the city’s employment.

The ongoing campaign is designed to encourage local residents and businesses to hold their end of year meetings and social events in the city.

A Visit Baltimore spokeswoman said Friday that the campaign has so far not been affected by the legal proceedings.

“We’ve seen large crowds and good attendance when people are given a specific reason to come downtown,” said Noonan in his statement. “We hope both visitors and locals realize that Baltimore was, is and will be a great place to visit offering a multitude of opportunities to shop, dine, and enjoy time with your family and friends.”