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 8 million tourists came to Delaware during 2014, up from 7.5 million in 2013. They contributed $3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product. That accounts for 5 percent of the state’s entire GDP.
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.
It all adds up to tourism leading to $470 million in taxes and fees collected for state and local government, which is another jump over 2013’s number.
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.
The appeal of Delaware also spread to more parts of the eastern half of the United States. Larger percentages of the state’s tourists came from North Carolina, Massachusetts and Ohio in 2014. At the same time, pull remained strong in Delaware’s key markets. Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Washington, DC, and Harrisburg residents made up three quarters of visitors.
The most popular activities for tourists were shopping, dining and going to the beach. Those visitors were more sophisticated and stayed longer than the average tourist across the US. And they continued to spend heavily while in Delaware, averaging $573 spent per trip.