Report: Delaware tourism sets new records

Dover, Del. – Delaware tourism experienced a record-breaking year as the state welcomed 9.2 million visitors who accounted for $3.5 billion in economic impact.

Gov. John Carney highlighted those impressive numbers in discussing Delaware’s thriving tourism industry as part of his State of the State address on Thursday.

According to data for 2018 released today by the Delaware Tourism Office, visitors paid $545.1 million in state and local taxes and fees, without which each Delaware household would have had to pay an additional $1,562 in taxes.

“Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry in Delaware, our fourth-largest private employment sector and a vital part of the state economy,” Gov. Carney said. “By supporting tourism, we also enhance the quality of life for all Delawareans by offering recreational and cultural activities and making sure there’s even more cool stuff to do in Delaware.”

“Delaware benefits from a strong tourism industry,” Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock said. “More than 44,000 people work in the industry in Delaware, which includes hundreds of small businesses and nonprofit organizations.”

For visitors to Delaware, the most popular activities in 2018 were, in order, tax-free shopping, dining and beaches. Visitors spent an average of $346 during their stay in 2018.

More than two-thirds of visitors came from nearby metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic and northeast with Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C., being among the most popular origination markets.

“At the Delaware Tourism Office, we share Delaware’s ‘Endless Discoveries’ with out-of-state travelers each year,” Delaware Tourism Office Director Liz Keller said. “From launching award-winning marketing campaigns to embracing innovative technology, we are proud to share what makes Delaware an ideal destination and help create a positive economic impact for our state.”

In 2018, the Delaware Tourism Office launched several initiatives to drive visitation, including a national, multimedia ad campaign, a 360-degree virtual reality tour of Delaware attractions and attendance at national consumer and travel industry trade shows where DTO highlighted Delaware’s “Endless Discoveries” in conversations with potential travelers.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., is part of the Delaware Division of Small Business. DTO promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.

Sources: D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Rockport Analytics. For the 2018 Delaware tourism industry report, visit http://www.visitdelaware.com/industry/tourism-statistics.

Media Contact
Michael Chesney
Director of Communications
Division of Small Business
Michael.Chesney@state.de.us
(302) 577- 8472 (office)
(302) 943-9508 (cell)


DE on Tap expands with new breweries & geonotification

Dover, DE – Just in time for the holidays, the happiest season of all will now also be the “hoppiest” with the addition of four new craft breweries to the Delaware on Tap mobile app.

Each location offers a unique atmosphere and special take on the brewmaster’s art. They bring the number of craft breweries, wineries, cideries and meaderies included on DE on Tap to 36.

And now, planning an adventure using DE on Tap is even easier with the addition of geonotifications that let you know about nearby restaurants, attractions and other craft beverage spots.

The new breweries are:

  • Autumn Arch Beer Project (Newark)
  • Brick Works Long Neck (Millsboro)
  • Crooked Hammock Brewery (Middletown)
  • Thompson Island Brewing Company (Rehoboth Beach)

They are part of a growing craft beer scene in Delaware that ranks second in the number of gallons of craft beer produced per adult resident over age 21 and ninth in economic impact per capita, according to the Brewers Association.

In addition to helping you plan your visit, the DE on Tap app also provides tips on events, tours and transportation options.

The app even lets you keep track of the number of places you’ve visited through a virtual pint glass that fills as you check in at each location.

Visit 10 stops, and you’ll get a free, commemorative pint glass.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., is a division of the Delaware Division of Small Business. The DTO promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.


Winter WonderFEST Returns to Lewes for Third Year

LEWES – Winter WonderFEST returns to Lewes for its third year starting this Friday.

The Delaware Tourism Office (Visit Delaware) joined Festival of Cheer, the organizer of Winter WonderFEST, along with Sen. Ernie Lopez and Rep. Steve Smyk, on Wednesday at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal to kick off the event and highlight the power of partnerships working to grow southern Delaware as a year-round destination for out-of-state visitors.

“Tourism plays a valuable role in Delaware, contributing $3.3 billion annually to the state’s economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Events like Winter WonderFEST and next month’s Slam Dunk to the Beach offer even more reasons for people to explore the endless discoveries in the state’s beach region long after summer has ended.”

“Winter WonderFEST not only brings wintery cheer to the region but also drove 60,000 attendees from 31 states to the Delaware Beaches during the off-season in 2017,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “That is so important to the area’s many hotels, restaurants and shops. It is a testament to the significance of partnerships between organizations that see value in driving visitation at this time of year.”

Festival of Cheer Wednesday also unveiled exciting new additions to the 2018 Winter WonderFEST, including new events, a larger Visit Delaware ice rink, new light displays and an expanded Christmas Village.

The Visit Delaware ice rink is about 2,000 square feet larger than it was in 2017, allowing more skaters to enjoy the beauty of this outdoor venue with the picture perfect setting of the ferry terminal and bay as a backdrop. The ice rink is a centerpiece of the six-week Winter WonderFEST celebration that takes place at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal and Cape Henlopen State Park from November 17 to December 31, 2018.

“We have worked with our partners to make the third year of Winter WonderFEST the best one yet,” said John Snow, president of Festival of Cheer. “We’ve grown the ice rink, light display and Christmas Village. We’re confident that will also lead to growth in attendance, meaning we will raise even more money for Sussex County charities.”

The Visit Delaware ice rink is open Tuesday through Sunday except for Thanksgiving and Christmas (times vary). Admission on weekends is $10 for adults or $8 for children. Weekday admission is $6 for adults and children. The price includes skate rental. For more information on public skating session times and skating lessons, visit www.wonderfestde.org.

The Delaware Tourism Office, 99 Kings Highway in Dover, Del., part of the Delaware Division of Small Business, promotes tourism and economic growth in Delaware. For more information, visit the official Delaware Tourism website at www.visitdelaware.com or call toll-free (866) 284-7483.

Festival of Cheer, a non-profit producing organization for Winter WonderFEST, was formed by community leaders with the mission to enrich lives by creating cultural events and health-related activities throughout the Cape region, and to increase philanthropic support of organizations supporting those residing in, and visiting, Sussex County, Delaware.

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Media Contact:
Michael Chesney
Communications Director
Michael.Chesney@delaware.gov
(302) 943-9508 (cell)
(302) 577-8472 (office)


Boundless! A Musical Journey

Boundless a musical journey, takes the audience on the trek and combines the recollected stories of Delawareans with disabilities and the sometimes-difficult history of our Nation’s struggle to ensure dignity and justice for all. Theater allows patrons to ponder and celebrate the intricacies of our shared humanity through campfire stories of hardship, resilience and celebration.

The team assembled by Playwright George Purefoy Tilson weaves a collective team of talent into the development and music for the show.

Orlando Cotto — Music Director
Orlando, originally from Puerto Rico, was raised in the traditions of Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican music, is a Baltimore Percussion Specialist. His impressive performance list reads like a who’s who in the music industry including the Telluride Jazz Festival and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He was the first marimbist to receive the Artist Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

Annie Coffman — Choreography
Annie, a native of Northern Virginia, received a bachelors and master’s degree in music from Towson University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, respectively. She has performed in a number of operas and musicals with various companies throughout DC, MD, and VA, and has sung with the National Philharmonic Chorale as well. She is a staff singer at St. John’s Lafayette Square in Washington, DC. Annie is currently an Assistant Director and mentor with one of ArtStream’s inclusive theater companies in Arlington, VA, and has also worked as Choreographer. She’s extremely proud to have worked with ArtStream for the past eight years, helping to produce original musicals with, and on behalf of, people with intellectual disabilities.

Alex Diaz — Music Composer
Alex, grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he learned to sing with the Alabama Choir School. He spent four years at the Alabama School of Fine Arts as a voice major. He went on to study Vocal Performance, Music Composition, and Japanese Language at Bennington College in Vermont, where he was involved in several operas, musicals, and staged song cycles. He also worked locally as a freelance pianist, vocalist, and music instructor. He spent a year teaching piano and voice privately in Seattle, and has been back in Alabama working for the Choir School as their Administrator, Assistant Conductor, and Composer-in-Residence since 2016. In addition to his Choir School dues, he composes pieces for choral and instrumental ensembles, and teaches privately. He also directs and arranges music for his church’s Handbell Choir, and is the Choral Instructor for the Sisterhood of Tuscaloosa Chinese School. He is looking forward to premiering his piece “This Holiday” with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and a 200 voice choir in December 2018.

Don Lonski — Director
Don has been working in theatre, in one capacity or another, for over 30 years. He is a Delaware native but has lived many places in his lifetime. Don studied theatre in NYC in the early 90’s and was active on the stand-up comedy circuit. He has portrayed a variety of characters in nearly 80 productions, has worked in touring companies, and has directed over 30 productions. Don is truly humbled to be working on this project and wishes to thank his wife, children, cast, and crew for making this possible.

Janelle Robinson — Production Advisor
Janelle is on the faculty of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Hartt Community Division currently an adjunct instructor at Western Connecticut State University. She has numerous Broadway/national tour credits: Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma!, Show Boat. Off-Broadway: Slag Heap (Cherry Lane). Regional: Cinderella (Paper Mill), Tin Pan Alley Rag (Cleveland Play House), Carousel (NSMT). TV/film: “Criminal Intent,” Day Zero, Aftermath.

Joy Pritchett — Production Coordinator
Joy organized auditions throughout the state of Delaware. She was responsible for organizing the cast, scheduling rehearsals, reminding cast of rehearsals, cast rehearsal attendance and communications with the parents of young actors and more. Joy has a Master’s degree in gerontology, has been an advocate for care at home, for all—regardless of diagnosis for over thirty years.

George Purefoy Tilson — Playwright, Book and Lyrics
George is a Maryland-based playwright, librettist and composer whose 20 plays (including 3 musicals for which he also wrote lyrics) span all genres. His work has been presented by the New York Theatre Workshop, the Harlem Rep Company, Roy Arias Studios, Catonsville (MD) Community College, Spotlighters in Baltimore, and the Washington, DC Fringe Festival (2010). He has had readings of 4 plays at the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, including “Holler” at the Millennium Stage. That play also received a staged reading at the famed Player’s Club in NYC. “Rudy Doo”—a theatrical romp about a brain-injured hockey player, a writer with cerebral palsy and a runaway heiress – won first place production in the 2007 Baltimore Playwrights Festival. George wrote the words to “This Holiday” with composer Alex Diaz, a piece that will receive its world premiere by the Tuscaloosa Symphony and a 200-voice choir, in December 2018. George is a longtime teacher and advocate for people with disabilities and others who live on the margins of our communities. Their lives have impacted him greatly, as a person and as a creative artist. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Boundless a musical journey will be performed Friday, October 19 at 7pm and October 20 at Noon & 5pm in the Theater at Dover High School located on 1 Dover High Drive, in Dover, Delaware. Tickets to the incredible event are FREE and can be obtained at https://boundlessmusical.eventbrite.com. For additional information call 302-739-4553.


Jack A. Markell Trail Connecting Wilmington to New Castle Opens

Delaware’s Congressional delegation, Governor John Carney, former Governor Jack Markell, State Representative Valerie Longhurst, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, and other state and local officials gathered on Wednesday at the DuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, to open the new 7.9-mile trail named after former Governor Jack Markell.

The new trail links Wilmington’s Riverfront to historic Old New Castle, and connects to a 3,000 mile East Coast Greenway that traverses Maine to Florida. The trail includes a 300 foot-long pedestrian/bicycle crossing over the Christiana River and an elevated 2,300 foot-long boardwalk through the Peterson Wildlife Refuge with paved pathways. The elevated boardwalk section is the largest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in the state.

The trail was dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony as the “Jack A. Markell Trail,” in honor of the former First State’s Governor, who spearheaded the dramatic expansion of bicycle and pedestrian trails and pathways throughout Delaware during his two terms in office.

“Today’s groundbreaking on the final phase of this trail that connects the beautiful Wilmington Riverfront to Historic Old New Castle is a part of a national trail that reaches across more than 3,000 miles of our country,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “Governor Markell’s hard work and dedication to creating a more walkable, bikeable Delaware can be seen in the great trails we have that span our state from Wilmington to the Bayshore. It’s a lasting legacy that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“I am proud to have had a small part in establishing this track, when I served as New Castle County Executive, and I am equally pleased this trail will be named for Governor Markell, recognizing his championing of accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians, and his vision for connecting all of Delaware through trails and greenways,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons.

“This exciting project further connects the communities of Wilmington and New Castle,” said Governor John Carney. “It provides more opportunities for walkers and cyclists to enjoy a beautiful part of our state. It gives those living near the trail another option for their morning commute. And, it finalizes a critical link that incorporates Delaware into a vast network of trails in our region and along the East Coast. None of this would have been possible without the vision and leadership of Governor Markell and his Trails and Pathways Initiative. Naming this trail in his honor is a fitting recognition of his efforts to promote healthier living, increase tourism, and bring together towns and communities in our state. I’m looking forward to its opening, and I know the Governor will be one of the first ones out here to ride it.”

“I’m thrilled that we’re opening this trail, which establishes a critical new link within our state’s trail network and the East Coast greenway,” said former Governor Jack Markell. “Dozens of miles of new trails and pathways have been constructed to more fully integrate our hundreds of miles of existing routes into a world-class regional trail network. Doing so strengthens the quality of life of people in our state, while helping attract more people to live and work here.”

“Governor Markell has done more to advance the idea of a walkable, bikeable Delaware than any other elected official, and that’s not hyperbole, that’s simply a fact,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, an avid cyclist who has biked with the Governor on several occasions. “During his time in office, Governor Markell has proposed, fought for, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars in funding for Delaware to invest in cycling and pedestrian trails up and down the state. As a result of many of these improvements, we’ve seen Delaware’s ranking by the League of American Bicyclists climb from 31st in 2008, to 18th in 2011, all the way up to 3rd last year. Thanks to Governor Markell, Delawareans and visitors to our state have an unprecedented opportunity to see our state as never before.”

“Thanks to Governor Markell, this trail – and many others already completed under his visionary First State Trails and Pathways Initiative – will continue to link people with opportunities for health, education, recreation and employment for decades to come,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.

“It is appropriate that we name our newest trail in Delaware after Governor Jack Markell,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We continue to realize his vision to build a world-class trail network across the state that enhances recreational options for residents and visitors, provides alternative transportation routes, and benefits the environment. We are connecting more residents and visitors to the outdoors, and it is a wonderful legacy for our current and future generations.”

The $22.5 million project was completed by JJID Inc. of Bear.

For further information visit www.deldot.gov, or contact DelDOT Community Relations at 1-800-652-5600 or 302-760-2080, or contact DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.