Sussex County Delaware

Tourism Strategy
Set for Delaware

Tourism ...

Five-Year Plan Designed
to Improve Industry

DOVER -- A five-year strategic plan to build a tourism industry that would substantially improve the financial condition and quality of life of Delaware residents was unveiled on Wednesday, May 10, 2000.

The plan was designed by tourism industry representatives, businesses, organizations and attractions in the state. The implementation portion of the plan was released on Wednesday by tourism officials and members of the House Committee on Tourism at Legislative Hall.

Key to the implementation portion of the plan released Wednesday will be to create a readily identifiable image for Delaware's tourism industry including a new slogan and logo, a formal alliance of visitor industry organizations, development of an incentive program for tourism entities, and education of Delaware residents on tourism issues.

"Tourism is currently one of Delaware's most productive industries, but up to this point, surrounding states have been experiencing a much more rapid growth in this area," said Keia Benefield, director of Delaware's Tourism Office. "The tactics and strategies set forth in the plan will provide us with the framework to compete more successfully with our neighboring states."

The strategic plan has been presented in three phases, with the implementation phase presented on Wednesday.

The mission of that portion of the plan is "to attract, develop and promote the type of visitor spending that results in sustainable and significant economic and quality of life benefits for Delaware residents".

Among the tactics to be implemented is an alliance of tourism organizations in the state to advocate tourism growth and manage infrastructure concerns affected by tourism. The alliance will sustain itself through fund-raising efforts.

Another key tactic is the development of a new slogan and logo. The image will be incorporated in an aggressive marketing and public relations campaign to promote the state's offerings to potential visitors. The primary focus of the campaign will be on Delaware's history, culture, outdoor activities and shopping.

"Special attention will be given to attractions, events and programs that provide a benefit to residents, contribute to overcoming an area's seasonality as a tourism destination, and encourage overnight stays," said Janet Wurtzel, the DTO's tourism development manager and administrator of the strategic plan.

The industry will also work more actively to educate Delaware residents about tourism issues. The efforts will include a speaker's bureau utilizing tourism industry volunteers to promote Delaware' offerings and keep community leaders abreast of industry developments. Speakers will address government, civic and community organizations.

"Implementing the strategic plan is an ongoing process," said Wurtzel. "The industry will reconvene two times a year to asess our progress and adjust our objectives to address changes in the tourism industry."

"We can accomplish much more as a group than as individual entities, and the strategic plan has been very effective in pulling the industry together," said Catherine Cloutier, chairperson of the House Committee on Tourism. "This is a big step in the right direction for Delaware tourism."

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