Nominations open for Southern Delaware Tourism Awards

According to Southern Delaware Tourism, tourism is a $2+ billion (and growing) industry in Sussex County. In fact, representatives said, more than 16 percent of all jobs in the county – about 18,000 of them — are tourism-related.

“And tourism revenue saves each Delaware household nearly $1,500 in taxes each year,” they added. “This is definitely due, in large part, to our fortunate geographical location and our beautiful 5 Star beaches — but it’s also the result of a lot of initiative, creativity, planning and hard work by the many people and organizations who strive to keep up with changing travel trends and to create and provide the types of attractions, events, activities and services that drive visitors to Sussex County.”

In recognition and appreciation of that, Southern Delaware Tourism (SDT) is opening nominations for its 2019 awards.

Area residents and businesses are being asked to nominate groups or individuals that have made significant contributions to the tourism industry in Sussex County between October 2018 and October 2019. Nominations must be completed and submitted by Friday, Nov. 8, to be considered. The winners, selected by an impartial panel of judges, will be announced in December.

“Tourism is a huge economic engine for Sussex County,” said Scott Thomas, executive director of Southern Delaware Tourism. “This is our way of honoring those that have gone above and beyond to contribute to the tourism industry in our area. We encourage everyone to consider who they think may be worthy recipients of these awards, and to nominate them.”

SDT encourages nominations of both newly and previously nominated entries that have not yet won an SDT award.

The categories and criteria for each are:

• 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

Past recipients of the annual award also include Dogfish Dash, Winter Wonderfest, Lefty’s Alley & Eats, Delaware Beach Book, Return Day, First Annual BooBQue by the Sea, Cape Henlopen State Park’s Gordons Pond Trail & Junction and Breakwater Trail, Western Sussex Tourism Committee, the Freeman Stage at Bayside, Nassau Valley Vineyards, the Apple Scrapple Festival, Dogfish Head Brewery Tours, the Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, the Lewes Maritime History Trail, the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, Eating Rehoboth Walking Food Tours and the Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddlers’ Festival.

Nomination forms and instructions for the 2019 Southern Delaware Tourism Awards can be obtained online at, or by calling (302) 856-1818.