1. Hospitality and tourism continue to add up. In 2017, sales in Delaware restaurants were expected to top $3.8 billion. Tourism is another money-maker. A record 9 million people visited Delaware in 2016 and contributed $3.3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product. Because tourism in 2016 generated more than $504 million in taxes and fees for state and local governments, residents have lower taxes. Without tourism, residents would pay an additional $1,434 in taxes.
2. Hospitality and tourism remain active employers. Delaware is home to more than 1,889 eating-and-drinking establishments that employ 49,200 workers — 11 percent of the employment in the state. Tourism, meanwhile, supports 18,000 jobs in Sussex County, home to the beach resorts, and generates $1.7 billion in annual gross domestic product for the county.
3. The Wilmington hotel sector is in a growth mode. After purchasing the iconic Hotel du Pont in 2017 for $32 million, Buccini/Pollin Group has embarked on the first of the planned $175 million in renovations. The downtown scene is also heating up in other respects. In March 2018, the Residence Inn Wilmington Downtown, a Marriott brand at 1300 N. Market St., opened in the 67,000-square-foot building that once housed Beneficial Bank. It has 96 studios and one-bedroom suites. On the Wilmington Riverfront, a 114-room Hyatt Place Hotel is currently under construction next to Big Fish Grill. Two more properties are planned for this area, which already has a 180-room Westin. Together, the hotels will help the Chase Center attract larger conferences and events.
Sources: Southern Delaware Tourism, Delaware Tourism Office, Delaware Restaurant Association, Delaware Business Times