New Jersey Tourism Revenue Sets Record

New Jersey’s tourism revenue climbed to $40 billion in 2013, setting a new record for the state. The 1.3 percent increase came despite the damage Hurricane Sandy had on shore areas, though tourism did decline in Atlantic County due to Atlantic City’s continuing slide in casino revenue.

Visitors to New Jersey in 2013 found other attractions in the state than the shore after Hurricane Sandy and fueled a 1.3 percent increase in tourism revenue, according to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

The state set a record for tourism revenue of $40.4 billion. The state drew a record 87.2 million visitors, or 5.5 percent more than in 2012. Guadagno cited the figures at a tourism conference in Atlantic City.

Revenue in Ocean and Atlantic counties, however, the state’s two biggest tourism markets, dropped 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively, according to a report by Tourism Economics of Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Spending was less because of a 5.9 percent decline in casino win at Atlantic City resorts and widespread damage to coastal homes in Ocean County that are rented to vacationers, the report said.

The state spent $25 million in federal Sandy relief funds for a “Stronger than the Storm” tourism campaign encouraging to return to the shore after Sandy hit in 2012. But cool weather in the summer of 2013 also hurt shore tourism.

Morris County led tourism growth in the state with a 6.9 percent sales increase over 2012. Tourism growth in Sussex, Hudson, Union, Middlesex and Somerset counties suggests more visitors looked to the state’s inland parks, camping sites and Revolutionary War sites for entertainment.

“Miss America, Wrestlemania, Super Bowl, Special Olympics, beaches to mountains and everything in between, and I’m not going to forget camping,” Guadagno said, listing the events and destinations that attracted tourists in 2013. She spoke at Golden Nugget Atlantic City on the final day of the two-day New Jersey Conference on Tourism.

“If there was ever a time to lower expectations in the industry, it was this year. We had the best year we had ever had in 2012 … and then we had Sandy,” she said.