Ocean to Bay Bike Tour nets Chamber recognition award
On. Dec. 6, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ocean to Bay Bike Tour received the Southern Delaware Tourism Recognition Award from the Southern Delaware Tourism Board, based on the event’s impact to local tourism.
“This year’s award winner has been in the making for the last 22 years. In 2011, this annual event brought over 120,000 cyclists to our coast in mid-April. A time when tourism is most welcome here,” said Southern Delaware Tourism Executive Director Scott Thomas.
“It’s wonderful.,” said Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Carrie Subity, of receiving the award. “We are thrilled and honored, and I know that there are a lot of nominees, so we’re just happy that we’ve been recognized for all the hard work our staff has done, not only this year but in years past, to grow the event the way it has.”
The Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, which had 1,210 participants this year, offers a 5-mike family fun ride, and 30-mile or 50-mile bike routes though the beaches, bays and back roads of the Quiet Resorts.
The family fun ride was a new addition to this past year’s event, and Subity said she believes it helped grow the participation in the event and visitation to the area.
“I think it helped for people who were kind of on the fence for coming down and bringing their whole family with them. I think it helped attract more of the younger families. And also, for people who aren’t really the cyclist enthusiasts, it helped them to come down and maybe just try bike riding for the first time or just bringing their bike down for the weekend.”
In 2011, 73 percent of the participants lived outside of Delaware, coming from nine different states, as well as from Washington, D.C.
“One of the biggest attractions we started doing,” said Subity, “was getting bike clubs from all the way up in Connecticut, coming down and bringing their whole team with them and making it a weekend event. So, that’s actually one of the biggest areas that we’ve seen growth, is the cycle clubs from around the country.”
“Fifty-seven percent spent the night in the area, most traveled with family and friends boosting business for local hotels, restaurants and retailers,” added Thomas. “By innovative cross marketing and programming, this event grew 33 percent and was sold out to participants for the first time.”
He noted that the event did not only bring economic benefits to southern Delaware, but also showcased what the county and state have to offer.
“This event showcases Southern Delaware’s diverse natural beauty and continuously strives to improve the experience each year, for everyone involved.”
Subity said that the event is a great way to show off of what the southern Delaware area has to offer locals as well as those who are on vacation.
“The one great thing I think about our Ocean to Bay Bike Tour is that, it literally showcases everything that the Quiet Resorts has. It showcases not only the beach area that everyone is familiar with, but it also takes them back into the farmland and into all the natural beauty that Sussex County has to offer with the preserves and wildlife areas as well.”
Subity said that the event could not be possible without the entire Chamber staff, including events manager Helen Barnaba.
“I have to give credit to Helen Barnaba. She is fantastic and has really helped steer this event and continues to grow it year to year.”
As for the 23rd Annual Ocean to Bay Bike Tour, Subity said registration is slated to begin soon and hopes it will continue to successfully grow.
“We’re in the middle of planning right now and registration is going to be open in the next week or so. We’re really excited to launch that and we’re hoping to sellout for the 2012 event.”
For more information, call the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce at (302) 539-2100 or visit www.bethany-fenwick.org.