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Summit highlights tourism rebound in Delaware

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Gov. John Carney addresses the Delaware Tourism Summit on Dec. 2. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DTO

DOVER – A year after the COVID-19 pandemic essentially ground travel and tourism to a halt for several months, Delaware is seeing a rebound in visitors, according to state officials.

Hotel occupancy is estimated to 31% increase this year, with hotel revenue rising 50% over last year’s difficult stretch.

“We’re seeing visitors coming from new markets like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston and Atlanta, which are areas that the Delaware Tourism Office targeted during an impactful awareness campaign in January of this year,” Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock told attends at the Delaware Tourism Summit held Dec. 2 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. “Through innovative strategies and working together across private and public sectors, we will continue to move the tourism industry forward which is a vital part of the state’s economy, contributing over 44,000 jobs statewide.”

Longwood International, a national market research firm, also reported that Delaware is also attracting an increase in younger visitors, specifically those in the 18-34 age group, who now represent more than half of all visitors. The First State also has a high rate of satisfaction among visitors which results not only in return visitors but economic development opportunities for relocation and business development.

More than 160 professionals attended the Delaware Tourism Summit on Dec. 2. | PHOTO COURTESY OF DTO

The annual summit hosted by the Delaware Tourism Office provided the industry’s small business and nonprofit organization professionals a day of learning that delivered both helpful knowledge and a boost of energy for businesses focused on moving ahead.

Over 160 attendees gained training from local and national experts in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, marketing, videography, social media analytics, and even tips on reconnecting with co-workers in a post-remote world. Breakout sessions throughout the day showcased speakers from across the country including Miles Partnership, AB&C Creative, Tourism Diversity Matters, 1440 Film Co., Coraggio Group, Carvertise and many more.

Keynote speaker Andrew Davis shared with attendees that they will continue to see increased demand in 2022 and provided best practices to Delaware’s destinations on how to sell and market their businesses during a time of information overload.

“Over the past year, we have worked to provide resources and educational opportunities to the tourism industry based on their top concerns and challenges including the Summit, online webinars, an educational portal and the Destination Development Program,” said Liz Keller, director of the Delaware Tourism Office, in a statement. “We wanted to end the year with as much information as possible so that our small business and nonprofit organization professionals have all of the tools needed to make 2022 a success.”

Gov. John Carney greeted the attendees and thanked them for their “resilience and innovation” over the course of the pandemic.

“In 2022, Delaware’s tourism industry has much to look forward to, and with your continued creativity, hard work and enthusiasm, we hope it will be a positive year for this industry,” he said.

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