By Tina Coleman, Southern Delaware Tourism

As the Convention and Visitors Bureau for Sussex County, Southern Delaware Tourism (SDT) is tasked with supporting and encouraging the identification, development and promotion of sustainable, year-round tourism in Southern Delaware that contributes to economic growth and improves the quality of life. 

With more than $2 billion tourist dollars spent in Sussex County every year, tourism is second only to agriculture when it comes to revenue generation here. In fact, about 20,000 of our friends and neighbors in the county are employed in jobs supported by it. It attracts businesses to the area, providing even more jobs, and each household pays about $1,600 less in taxes annually as a result of visitor spending. 

That’s a lot of great reasons to support tourism in Sussex County, but there’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s one: The resources SDT creates and manages and the information we share with visitors and potential visitors to fulfill our mission, are all available to Sussex County residents too. Take a look: 

• Have family or friends visiting and need ideas for entertaining them while they’re in town? Looking for something new to do or someplace new to explore? Looking for a new activity or a new entertainment venue? Want to learn more about Sussex County towns, theaters, antique shops, museums, farm adventures, spectator sports, nature centers, wildlife areas, and on and on…? Visit our website, www. We maintain a robust Events calendar that’s searchable by date range, making planning a day out with friends quick and easy. 

Our Eat and Drink page will help you find the perfect Culinary Coast™ restaurant for you and your guests. Our Play and Discover section takes a deep dive into all the recreation, amusements, history, tours, festivals, rainy day suggestions and a whole lot more. 

• Also at our website, you can download our Visitors Guide to peruse. You can also share the link with visiting friends and family to help them plan their stays. 

• Follow our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds for up-to-date info on local happenings. You’ll find the links at our website. 

• Add our web based SouthDel Sidekick app on your phone (www.SouthDelSidekick. com) and take advantage of Super Deals at area businesses while staying on top of nearby local events, tours, eateries, destinations, and more, all while you’re traveling around Sussex County. 

• Book yourself that much-needed staycation with our Paddle & Stay or Bike & Stay programs and enjoy some relaxing time off right in your own backyard, while enjoying exclusive deals at local businesses. 

Here’s another benefit of tourism to local residents: Tourism fosters and reinforces a sense of community pride, and provides an incentive to conserve the local environment and natural resources, requiring maintenance and enhancement of the area to make it as attractive and appealing to visitors as possible – and, by default, making it attractive and appealing for those of us who live, work, and play here. Totally a win-win. Thanks to tourism, those of us who are lucky enough live here get to have our cake and eat it too.