U.S. states support NJ with hands-off approach to luring tourists

Fri May 24, 2013 10:38am EDT
 
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By Michael Sadowski

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - New Jersey, which launched the start of its summer season on Friday after many of its beaches were devastated by Superstorm Sandy last year, is getting support from neighboring state tourist agencies.

Instead of trying to attract some of the 59 million tourists who visit the Jersey shore and spend $19 billion each year, states including Pennsylvania and Delaware have taken a hands-off approach to attracting tourists from the Jersey shore.

"We believe in the golden rule," said Linda Parkowski, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. "We know if the wind didn't shift northwest during the storm, it would have been Delaware that got hit hardest. We're very cognizant of that."

Sandy caused an estimated $36.9 billion of damage in New Jersey when it hit on October 29, according to state estimates. The storm left much of the state's 130 miles of coastline in ruins.

But most of the state's popular beaches - Atlantic City, Cape May, Sandy Hook and others - are already open or plan to be soon, and the state is spending $25 million to send out a positive message to attract tourists.

MARKETING WAR CHEST

The Atlantic City Alliance, a privately-backed tourism organization, has another $20 million designated for marketing, according to Jeff Guaracino, the chief strategy officer for the alliance. That's in addition to financial efforts of local tourism agencies, casinos and other shore businesses.

"It's a war chest," he said. "I would say, arguably, it's the most the state has ever spent on tourism marketing."   Continued...

 
Workmen use a crane to begin to dismantle the Jet Star roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey May 14, 2013. REUTERS/Tom Mihalek