Coastal Community FAQ - What kind of outreach work has been done regarding coastal tourism in Delaware?
A better understanding of visitors' behavior and activity patterns is vital to tourism industry officials to meet the needs of these individuals, as well as to more effectively market their communities. Tourism marketing and promotion becomes critical when competition intensifies between neighboring states and regions. One mechanism to collect information on visitors is by conducting visitor profile studies. Since 1984, the Delaware Sea Grant College Program has assisted communities in this data collection and analysis effort. The information generated through these studies has helped communities respond to visitor concerns and needs.
Nature-based tourism or ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry which includes traveling to "pristine" destinations to view natural areas and scenery, as well as historical and cultural attractions. It is also termed "soft" travel in that it is designed to protect and enhance natural ecosystems. The Ecotourism Society defines it as "responsible tourism that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people." In 1995, 8 million Americans took an ecotour and the figure is growing by 25 percent annually.
Delaware EcoDiscoveries: The 1997 Guide to Nature-Based Travel in Delaware
Travel experts predict that nature-based travel will continue to grow in the years to come. Since 1994, public sector agencies and private businesses have been working together to promote Delaware's natural wonders. In 1996, the first Delaware EcoDiscoveries guide debuted to introduce travelers to an emerging component of the state's travel and tourism industry. The 1997 guide has been developed for the nature traveler to more fully appreciate the attractions and opportunities available throughout the state. Whether it's enjoying a passive walk through one of the many natural areas in the state, paddling a kayak along a tidal stream, or viewing the many species of shorebird, there is much to offer the nature enthusiast.
Delaware EcoDiscoveries: The 1996 Guide to Ecotourism Attractions in Delaware
This first guide to ecotourism in Delaware describes the state's natural wonders and identifies many of the state's services that make up its tourism industry. Delaware's 13 state parks and other natural areas provide an opportunity to see such diverse habitats as the forests and meadows of White Clay Creek State Park, the wetlands of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the dune and shore communities of Cape Henlopen State Park and the bald cypress swamps of Trap Pond State Park. Most Parks provide trails for nature hikes, and many offer educational programs throughout the year. Ecotravelers can also enjoy a variety of canoeing trails throughout the state's inland waterways and rivers, whale and dolphin watching cruises in the Atlantic Ocean and the annual horseshoe crab and shorebird migration along the Delaware Bay shoreline.
In 1996 the guide and its producers received the Governor's Tourism Award, recognizing it as Delaware"s Best ecotourism product in 1996.