Threat of Tropical Storm Hermine scared off visitors to Delaware beaches
Tropical Storm Hermine didn’t hit Delaware’s coastal resort area as hard as forecasters had predicted, but the threat of the storm did scare off some would-be-visitors over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Hotel and motel accommodations were down 30 percent over the weekend, according to Carol Everhart, president and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.
“It certainly is better than having an evacuation or a full blown hurricane but 30 percent on a busy weekend like Labor Day is a pretty big hit to the business community,” Everhart said.
Hotels and motels took the biggest hit from the loss of business. Online home rental sites like Airbnb have also been taking business away from resort accommodations this summer, according to Everhart.
Some retailers and restaurants reported an increase in business over the weekend since the beaches were closed and people had more time to shop and eat.
Even though Hermine took a big bite out Labor Day visitation numbers to the beaches, tourism to Delaware's coast has been up most weeks this summer.
But that increase in visitors hasn't always translated to more sales for local retailers and restaurants. Many business owners have reported a slight decrease in sales this summer. They say it's because of an increase in competition.
Final visitation numbers for the summer aren’t ready yet, but Everhart expects the meager showing over the Labor Day weekend will put 2016 totals behind last years.
The Rehoboth-Dewey Beach resort area typically sees upwards of 300,000 visitors over Labor Day weekend. A 30 percent loss cuts roughly 90,000 visitors from this summer's final tally.