Tourism is an Economic Engine in Delaware

February 22, 2018 (Dover, Del.) – A record nine million people visited Delaware in 2016, marking increases in visitors, dollars spent in Delaware and an even greater impact on the state’s economy. 

Those visitors contributed $3.3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product in 2016, according to data released today from the Delaware Tourism Office.

“Tourism is a crucial part of Delaware’s economy,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “The tourism industry has proven to be an important source of revenue for state and local governments and an industry of increasing growth.”

Tourism generated more than $504 million in taxes and fees for state and local governments in 2016. Without it, each Delaware household would have to pay an additional $1,434 in taxes.

“Tourism is Delaware’s fourth largest private industry sector, employing almost 43,000 people,” said Linda Parkowski, acting director of the Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism. “As small business owners and entrepreneurs open new ventures or expand their existing businesses, the industry will continue to remain strong and move forward.”

The  state tourism office’s “Endless Discoveries” campaign continues to raise awareness of Delaware as a vacation destination through an award-winning statewide travel guide, captivating broadcast and print advertising, the launch of the Delaware on Tap mobile application and more.

“The Delaware Tourism Office continues to move forward with highly successful, integrated marketing campaigns that highlight all that Delaware has to offer,” said Liz Keller, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “By listening to the traveler’s interest, we are delivering targeted messaging in innovative ways which continue to drive visitation to the state.”

Nearby metros remain the biggest sources of visitation for Delaware with people from Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C., accounting for more than two-thirds of travelers to the state.

Beaches, dining and tax-free shopping continue to be popular activities for visitors, who spent an average of $384 per trip to the state in 2016.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., is a division of the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism. The DTO promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.

Sources: D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Rockport Analytics. For the 2016 Delaware tourism industry report, visit

Media Contact
Michael Chesney
Director of Communications
Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism
(302) 577- 8472 (office)
(302) 943-9508 (cell)