New Jersey Tourism Industry Sees Record Setting Year
Tourism demand exceeded $40 billion.
New Jersey generated $40 billion in total tourism demand, setting a record, Gov. Chris Christie's office announced on Wednesday, March 20.
The previous record was $39.5 billion in 2007, according to the Christie Administration, and last year’s total was a 2.6 percent increase over 2011.
Domestic visits to the state also increased, by 4.8 percent over 2011, Christie said. This equaled a total of 82.5 million visitors to the state. In 2011, that number had increased by 11.6 percent over 2010.
This happened despite a casino industry that continues to decline. Superstorm Sandy took place Oct. 29, and much of the state is still recovering.
“While these 2012 results are positive and encouraging, we are still facing the challenges of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” Christie said. “We must continue to look to the future and continue the steady progress of rebuilding.”
Atlantic City’s casino industry has already recovered from the storm, and Christie hopes the return of the Miss America Pageant to the city in 2013 and the arrival of Internet Gaming will help boost travel to that portion of the Jersey Shore.
The Christie Administration hoped to help further the process of recovery last week when it introduced its proposed Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action plan, a strategy for using over $1.8 billion in federal funding for the rebuilding process. The plan includes $500 million in funding for Small Business Grants of up to $50,000 to eligible businesses that sustained physical damage; no-interest loans for storm-impacted small businesses ranging from $100,000 to $5 million for documented physical damage not covered by other sources; and Neighborhood And Community Revitalization Programs to provide funding of up to $10 million to help communities rebuild commercial areas with public facility improvements.
Additionally, funding is set aside for a “tourism marketing campaign” which would help promote storm-impacted businesses and shore communities, Christie said. There’s also a “Shop Local” aspect to the campaign.
According to the Department of State’s Economic Impact of Tourism Report, New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry directly supports 318,560 jobs. This is the largest single year percentage increase over the last six years, 2 percent over the previous year.
When combined with indirect and induced jobs, total travel and tourism related jobs exceed 500,000, or 10 percent of all New Jersey jobs, Christie said.
Tourism also generated $34.7 billion of state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, which was 7 percent of the entire state’s economy. The state also generated a total of $4.5 billion in state and local taxes, and $5.1 billion in federal taxes in 2012.
Accrding to Smith Travel Research, hotel demand grew 5.8 percent. Over the final two months of the year, many residents displaced by Sandy checked into hotels, including the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, and many remain in those hotels at this point in time.
The average daily rate increased by 3.2 percent last year, which helped overall hotel room revenue grow by 9.2 percent, according to Smith Travel Research, a Tennessee-based company that tracks supply and demand data for the hotel industry and provides analysis for hotel chains in North America.
Prepared by Tourism Economics of Wayne, Pennsylvania, The Economic Impact of Tourism Report can be found here.