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Kent County hopes tourism bounces back as restrictions ease

Dover International Speedway

After over a year of pandemic-related setbacks, the tourism industry expects a boom this summer, including right here in the First State.

For Kent County, it starts with NASCAR this weekend.

Despite diminished capacity at Dover International Speedway where only 20,000 fans are allowed for each of the weekend’s 3 races, a total of about 40,000 visitors are anticipated across all three days.

Sunday’s Cup Series race is sold-out and Kent County Tourism President Pete Bradley says that puts them back in the business of convincing out-of-state visitors there are reasons to make a return trip.

“We’ll meet a lot of folks during the race in the FanZone and a visitors guide will get in their hands, and a lot of the goal is to get the folks to come back. That and Firefly and other major festivals like Dover Days, they do that,” Bradley said.

Their summer guide promotes the beaches, state parks and several craft beverage destinations. Bradley believes people are looking to travel this summer. 

“We typically will send out 200-300 visitor guide requests from our advertising efforts a month. For the month of April we’re sending out about 1000. So, significant increase,” Bradley said. 

Although Dover Days is cancelled again this year, Firefly is back on for the last week of September. Bradley is hoping for a large, yet safe, turnout for that as well, with headliners like Billie Eilish, Lizzo, The Killers and Megan Thee Stallion. A ticket presale for Firefly opens Friday at 10 a.m.