Editorial — Increase in tourism benefits entire community

Delaware Gov. John Carney and Delaware Tourism Director Linda Parkowski recently celebrated a newly-completed study of Delaware’s tourism data from 2015.

According to the figures, 8.5 million visitors came to the state in 2015, compared to 6.9 million guests in 2008. Tourism, according to the study, resulted in $3.1 billion of Delaware’s gross domestic product, and created $486 million in taxes and fees for state and local government.

Without tourism, the study revealed, each Delaware household would pay an additional $1,417 in taxes annually. In addition, the study reports that 11,000 new jobs in the tourism industry have been created since 2008.

“A robust tourism industry is essential to a healthy economy in Delaware,” said Carney. “It has been great to see this area thrive across the state. I look forward to continuing that success and the work that makes it possible.”

You know who contributes to these growing tourism numbers? We do. In particular, the beach towns. And you know who benefits by these numbers? Well, the entire state does, but we do with tourism-related jobs — like servers, retail and others.

There has been growth in our area in terms of homes and year-round population figures, and we’re seeing that stretch out to some of our infrastructure and schools, but we’re also seeing additional revenue from all the people who choose to make this home. With the increased tourism numbers, we are also seeing more jobs created for some of the people who have moved to the community.

Ours is an economy built largely on agriculture, construction and tourism. Those things can indeed go hand-in-hand, as well, as farmers now have more outlets to sell their goods through local farmers markets and the increased number of people who come here in the summer and visit those markets. And construction gets a boost through the simple fact that more people are here.

The new numbers are cause for optimism throughout our area. Now, let’s all do our part in welcoming our vacationers and keeping the cycle going forward.