Southern Delaware Tourism Wraps Up Season With Big Numbers - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Southern Delaware Tourism Wraps Up Season With Big Numbers

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SUSSEX Co., Del. - The Southern Delaware Tourism Industry wrapped up the season with big numbers.

$630,000,000 - according to a statewide study, that's how many tourism dollars Sussex County is expected to rake in this year. "That doesn't include rental income from second homes. So when you include all that it exceeds one billion dollars," Executive Director of Southern Delaware Tourism Scott Thomas said.

This season, they dodged a big bullet. "We got very lucky with Superstorm Sandy. This year we've hit some five year highs which means we're actually getting back to pre-recession or great recession levels - and that's a great indicator," Thomas said.

Much of the credit goes to their coast. "The beaches are the anchor of tourism, and the beaches are what you call the number one customer. We bring between six and seven million visitors to the resort area annually," President of the Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach Chamber Of Commerce Carol Everhart said.

But they say the beaches are just the beginning. "We've really put together the culinary coast as one of the things we want people to know, when you come here, you can get some of the best food in the world," Chairwoman of the Southern Delaware Tourism Council Marie Mayor said.

Even with the looming fiscal cliff just weeks away, leaders are confident Sussex County has what it takes to stay afloat. "I'm not worried.We all like to have more certainty in the economy, like every American. But also we know we can depend on each other. We help each other out and we support each other," Mayor said.

Each year, the Southern Delaware Tourism industry honors an individual or organization which made a significant contribution to enrich tourism in the county. This year, the Annual Tourism Recognition Award went to Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes. Since becoming Delaware's first commercial winery in 1993, they've won more than 100 awards internationally. "We created what was known as farm winery legislation. A farm winery being a place in which grapes are grown and the wines are made. It's a definitely a different draw to the tourist area. Once we got the laws changed for wineries, that opened the doors for breweries to come in the state of Delaware," owner Nassau Valley Vineyards said.

For more information on Southern Delaware Tourism, visit their website at http://www.visitsoutherndelaware.com/.

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