Tourism Has Large and Growing Impact on Delaware Economy

February 22, 2016 (Dover, Del.) – Tourism brought more people and more money to Delaware than ever before in 2014 making clear the growing value of the industry to the state.

New data published today shows eight million tourists came to Delaware during 2014, up from 7.5 million in 2013. Those visitors are staying longer than ever before with an average stay lasting nearly two and a half days.

Tourism contributed $3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product. That accounts for 5 percent of the state’s entire GDP. And the industry generated $470 million in taxes and fees for state and local government, which is another jump over 2013’s number. Take away tourism, and each Delaware household would have to pay an extra $1,360 a year in taxes.

The tourism sector is directly responsible for nearly 41,000 jobs in Delaware, also an increase from its 2013 total. One in nine workers in the state owes his or her job to tourism, which accounted for 14 percent of Delaware’s net new jobs in 2014.

The rental home market continued to boom in Delaware, especially at the beaches. In fact, for the first time ever it eclipsed the $1-billion mark in Sussex County on the back of strong occupancy and rising rates. Rental revenue statewide grew 8.8 percent between 2013 and 2014.

“Tourism is clearly an economic engine and growth industry in Delaware. It positively impacts the state’s businesses, workers and tax revenue,” said Linda Parkowski, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “We believe recent efforts to improve Delaware’s brand regionally will move it forward even more.”

The appeal of the state remained strong in Delaware’s key markets. Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Washington, DC, and Harrisburg residents made up three quarters of visitors.

“We’ve increased our media campaign for Delaware – including, for the first time, TV spots,” said Parkowski. “We have targeted places like Philadelphia and New York City. We know that effort will help grow awareness across the Mid-Atlantic of everything there is to discover in Delaware.”

The most popular activities for tourists were shopping, dining and going to the beach. And tourists continued to spend heavily while in Delaware, averaging $573 spent per trip.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware.  For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.

Resources:  D.K. Shifflet and Rockport Analytics.  For the 2014 industry report, go to http://www.visitdelaware.com/industry/tourism-statistics

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Liz Keller
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