Civic News

Could ‘tech tourism’ be a thing for Wilmington?

The Visitors Bureau's Gaby Indellini thinks there's a chance after seeing a high attendance of outsiders at Delaware Innovation Week and Tech2gether.

Wilmington's Market Street: The epicenter of a tech-driven renaissance?

(Photo by Flickr user Paul Sableman, used under a Creative Commons license)

Gaby Indellini was pleasantly surprised when she found out that half of the zip codes from people who attended last fall’s Delaware Innovation Week and Tech2gether were from outside of New Castle County. (A big chunk of that half, she said, came from Philadelphia.) That got the Marketing & Social Media Specialist at the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau thinking that there could be such a thing as “tech tourism” for Wilmington.
“That’s bringing in dollars to local businesses, and maybe they stay for a weekend,” she said of potential visitors from Philly.
She agreed with us that it might be a stretch at this point to say that tech tourism is an actual, thriving thing in Wilmington, but the growth of the area’s tech and innovation scene — along with buzz generated from Delaware Innovation Week — could help her cause.
Indellini pointed out that the pending arrival of a NextFab facility in Wilmington will attract outsiders, and that a growing number of tech-related events, like Delaware’s own Tech Breakfast (we’ll write more about that later) and opportunities like Girl Develop It are building a stronger tech identity for the city.
She’s also excited about the opportunities the thousands of newly-acquired patent models at the Hagley Museum will bring to the area.
And, she added, the news that the legal-incorporation app Counsl is relocating from Austin to Wilmington is huge for the city and will probably spur more small businesses and tech startups to move to the area — or at the very least, visit.
“No matter where they’re from, if we can be seen as this little getaway from Philly and people jump on SEPTA and walk up Market Street, that’s fantastic,” she said.
These are all good things for establishing a more vibrant tech scene in Wilmington, but we say the city will need to land a few more large-scale events and conferences (look, for example, at Philly’s ELA Conf, WordCamp US and the Philly Emerging Tech Conference, among many more) to give it some real heft as a tech destination.

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