A record nine million people visited Delaware in 2016. The visitors contributed $3.3 billion to the state’s gross product, according to data released this week from the Delaware Tourism Office.
Most came from nearby metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington D.C. for beaches, dining or tax-free shopping.
“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.”
Outside of GDP, tourists generated more than $504 million in taxes and fees for the state and local governments in 2016.
“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.”
Some recent efforts to attract more visitors include the “Endless Discoveries” campaign, which is raising awareness of Delaware as a destination, and the award-winning state-wide travel guide.
“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.”