Southern Delaware Tourism
Since our tourism season is getting ever-longer thanks to warm fall weather, our many fall festivals and other entertainment, and our very popular Culinary Coast™ dining scene, it’s worth remembering that sitting in traffic and jostling for parking spots, even into autumn, is the more than reasonable trade off we make in support of Sussex County’s booming tourism economy which, in turn, supports us in many ways.
Living and doing business in a tourism destination undeniably requires certain lifestyle modifications (most of us would rather stab ourselves with a fork than head to the grocery store on summer weekends, for instance), but the upsides of living in a popular destination more than make up for the inconveniences. How?
Take a look:
- Tourism expenditures in Sussex County in 2017 totaled over $2 billion according to a report titled Value of Tourism 2017, compiled by D.K. Shifflet & Rockport Analytics for Delaware Tourism and released early in 2019.
- The tourism industry employs over 16% of Sussex County workers.
- Second only to agriculture as an economic engine in Sussex County, tourism helps diversify and stabilize our economy and it attracts additional businesses (and jobs) to the area.
- Every dollar spent by visitors generates another $1.20 in indirect sales to the local economy.
- Tourism contributes to the state and local tax base and saves every Delaware household nearly $1,500 in taxes each year.
- It would take only 160 more visitors to support a new Delaware job
- Every 230 visitors pays for a Delaware public school student for the year
- Beneficiaries of tourism include building and construction trades, dining and entertainment venues, local services including farmers’ markets, photographers, hairdressers, outdoors outfitters, and countless others, plus all of the local businesses that supply and support them and so on and so on…
There are other compensations that aren’t as easy to measure but are very real nonetheless. Tourism fosters and reinforces a sense of community pride that encourages our local communities to maintain their traditions and identity and to preserve their history. Sussex County’s small towns are all charming, yet each is distinctive.
If you were abducted by aliens and dropped off in an undisclosed Sussex County town, odds are you’d know immediately where you were.
Tourism promotes the desire and provides an incentive to conserve the local environment and natural resources. That, in turn, encourages tourists to visit the area by creating great visitor experiences.
Just imagine what Sussex County would be like if no one had thought to preserve and protect the areas that became our county’s State Parks or the National Wildlife Refuge at Prime Hook?
Tourism requires that community investment be made to maintain and enhance the area to make it as attractive and appealing to visitors as possible.
That’s exactly what has occurred in Lewes over the last half-century. 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of both Cape Henlopen State Park and the Cape May Lewes Ferry. What would Lewes be like today without the ferry or the park? Unimaginable, isn’t it?
Thanks to tourism, those of us who are lucky enough to live here get to have our cake and eat it too. We enjoy the economic benefits of living in a popular tourism destination and we get to take full advantage of all the fantastic enhancements that make Sussex County so opular with an ever growing numbers of visitors.
So we have to do our grocery shopping at 5 a.m. on Wednesdays for a couple of months.
Totally worth it.