A record 9 million people visited Delaware in 2016, marking increases in visitors, dollars spent in Delaware and a greater impact on the state’s economy, which contributed $3.3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product in 2016, according to data released Feb. 23 from the Delaware Tourism Office.

“Tourism is a crucial part of Delaware’s economy,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “The tourism industry has proven to be an important source of revenue for state and local governments and an industry of increasing growth.”

Tourism generated more than $504 million in taxes and fees for state and local governments in 2016. Without it, each Delaware household would have to pay an additional $1,434 in taxes.

“Tourism is Delaware’s fourth largest private industry sector, employing almost 43,000 people,” said Linda Parkowski, acting director of the Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism. “As small business owners and entrepreneurs open new ventures or expand their existing businesses, the industry will continue to remain strong and move forward.”

The state tourism office’s “Endless Discoveries” campaign continues to raise awareness of Delaware as a vacation destination through a statewide travel guide, captivating broadcast and print advertising, the launch of the Delaware on Tap mobile application and more.

Nearby metros remain the biggest sources of visitation for Delaware with people from Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Washington, D.C., accounting for more than two-thirds of travelers to the state. Beaches, dining and tax-free shopping continue to be popular activities for visitors, who spent an average of $384 per trip to the state in 2016.

For more, visit visitdelaware.com or call 866-284-7483.