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VIEWPOINT: Supporting the Creative Economy – Cultural Tourism Matters

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This summer, the Delaware Arts Alliance will reveal the details of the Creative Economy Advancement and Tourism Expansion (CREATE) Plan, a growth and recovery plan for the creative economy and cultural tourism sector in Delaware that highlights the positive opportunities and potential for connecting tourism to the arts. When tourists visit a destination, they seek more than just sights to see; they crave authentic experiences that leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s a local art gallery showcasing the works of emerging talents or one of our many local festivals, we have an opportunity to provide visitors with a window into the heart and soul of Delaware.create, DAA, Delaware Arts Alliance will reveal the CREATE Plan, a growth and recovery plan for the creative economy that highlights opportunities for connecting tourism to the arts.

Through input from over 600 people statewide, the research also unpacks the challenges facing our creative community, such as lost income, declining audience engagement, and unrealized potential, and charts a path forward. There are three major components to the work:

  • An online map showcasing Delaware’s creative assets
  • Economic data that demonstrates how important the creative sector is
  • 25 actionable recommendations for EVERYONE to support the growth and resiliency of the creative economy

Delaware is the first state in the nation to release a research based plan for the creative economy that is aligned at the state, county and city levels.  It is a blueprint designed to support the creative economy’s post-pandemic recovery and growth and squarely puts creative and cultural industries including nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and individual creatives, at the forefront of the economic development conversation.

In an era where innovation and creativity drive economic growth and social progress, supporting the creative economy and cultural tourism is not just beneficial—it’s essential. The creative economy, encompassing sectors such as arts, culture, media, and design, plays a pivotal role in fostering community identity, promoting economic development, and enhancing the quality of life. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, it is crucial for policymakers, business leaders, and the public to recognize and support this dynamic sector.

Did you know Delaware’s creative economy is a jobs engine, supporting over 18,500 jobs statewide? This includes:

  • 10,520 direct jobs in creative fields like design, performing arts, etc.
  • 4,021 indirect jobs supporting the creative sector, like suppliers and printers.
  • 4,010 induced jobs created by spending within the creative economy, like restaurants near art venues.

Delaware’s creative economy generated an impressive $3.7 billion in output. Additionally, Delaware’s creative economy has an impressive output multiplier effect. For every $1 generated by the sales of goods and services in the creative economy, an additional $0.60 is generated locally across other industries. This shows how investment in the creative sector fuels broader economic growth throughout the state.

By investing in cultural tourism and creating policy that strengthens the arts, we empower local artists and artisans, creating sustainable livelihoods and preserving cultural heritage for future generations. Delaware has an opportunity to establish a statewide cultural economy brand that will immensely benefit local communities through tourism and economic development. Utilizing the 25 recommendations that are articulated in the CREATE Plan will give Delaware a unified voice for its creative economy, positioning it nationally and internationally as a vibrant and growing arts and cultural hub.

Visit our website to learn more about the project: https://delawareartsalliance.org/creativeeconomy

Join us for one of our upcoming launch events: https://airtable.com/appfKQqOVfnhsOxYv/shrIJAXfKWWjCB4ka

By Executive Director Neil Kirschling of the Delaware Arts Alliance

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