SUSSEX COUNTY, De-

Southern Delaware has 2-billion reasons to celebrate. Tourism officials recently announced tourism is now a 2-billion dollar, and growing, industry.

Every year people can nominate their favorite events and places for awards. This means businesses are always working to make their events bigger and better. With that success comes more visitors. 

"An everyday visitor, at a very conservative figure, brings at least 100 dollars of economic impact into the community. Whether they're buying gas, or they're buying lunch, or they're buying french fries, all of that adds up," said CEO and President of the Rehoboth Beach/Dewey Chamber of Commerce, Carol Everhart.

Even though locals might get tired of the busy beaches and summer traffic, tourism is ingesting money into their community. 16 percent of jobs in Sussex County come from tourism.

"You think of a hotel. They're not just selling rooms, they're buying services like cleaning services and food services, and what that does is really propel the local economy," said Scott Thomas with Southern Delaware Tourism.

Hotel

Just one large event, like last months Sea Witch Festival, can make the county's wallet a lot heavier.


"If we have good weather you're going to have over 100 thousand people. That equates to over 67-million dollars of economic impact to the area," said Everhart.

Southern Delaware Tourism accepted nominations for people's favorite events, festivals, and more.Those nominations are now closed, but winners will be announced in December.

Categories and previous winners are below:

• Best Event — Criteria: Visitation draw, uniqueness, out-of-area promotion, helping to spotlight Sussex County as a destination.

• Best New Event (for first-time events held in Sussex County) — Criteria: Visitation draw, uniqueness, out-of-area promotion, helping to spotlight Sussex County as a destination.

• Best Attraction — Criteria: Visitation draw, tourism economic impact to the community, group friendliness, collaboration with accommodations.

• Tourism Partner of the Year (Business or Organization) — Criteria: Collaboration and participation with Southern Delaware Tourism and/or Chambers of Commerce in Sussex County.

Last year’s recipients of the annual awards included:

• Best Event: Mid Atlantic Sea Glass & Coastal Arts Festival

• Best New Event: Fire & Ice Festival and Ladybug Music Festival (tie)

• Best Attraction: Freeman Stage

• Tourism Partner of the Year: Delaware State Parks