Kim Guadagno Encourages Jersey Shore Visits [AUDIO]
Summer might be the prime season for visiting the Jersey Shore, but a new initiative being kicked off by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno focuses on all the shore has to offer right now.
Guadagno unveiled the "Show Your Love For the Jersey Shore" campaign, which invites residents to start visiting the numerous businesses already open along the Hurricane Sandy-battered coast. She notes it can start right away.
"Come to the Jersey Shore for Valentines Day. You will be surprised by all the businesses that are open." Adding that many of the shore's multitude of chocolate and sweet shops are open for business "for your favorite partner, friend, wife, spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend."
The campaign does not end at Valentine's Day. Guadagno says more businesses are opening each day which makes them ideal for late winter, early spring, and Easter shopping.
"Come and spend your money at the Jersey Shore, or pick up the phone and find out if your favorite place is open for business and if it is, the best thing you can do for us is right now is to go and visit those places."
The Lieutenant Governor was joined at Jenkinson's Aquarium by Congressman Chris Smith, Laurie Pepenella, statewide chair of NJDMOs and Destination Marketing Director of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Small Business Administration's New Jersey District Director Al Titone.
She acknowledges Sandy hit Ocean and Monmouth County hard, however, every day more places are reopening and need economic support from the public.
'We need you to listen to us as we as open these businesses one a time, we need you to visit these businesses."
She adds Cape May County and Atlantic County suffered very little damage from the storm and many of hotels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts are fully operational already.
The initiative was initially drafted by the Small Business Administration and was passed to the state's destination marketing organizations who will work with local businesses to get the message out.
Guadagno notes the importance of tourism to the Jersey Shore and wants to maintain the momentum built up over the last few years.
"We need to maintain our level at the Jersey Shore and we need to keep our numbers up at the Jersey Shore."
Before Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey's tourism industry had been on the rebound with tourists spending $38 billion on their visits to the Garden State in 2011. The new visitor expenditures were just shy of the all-time high of $39.5 billion reached in 2007 and are a 7 percent increase over 2010 figures.
In 2011, domestic visits to New Jersey jumped 14.6 percent, representing an increase in domestic trip volume from roughly 68 million visitors in 2010 to 80 million visitors in 2011. Out-of-state visitors, which drive New Jersey tourism revenue, accounted for 64 percent of all tourism revenue, followed by resident/in-state (25 percent), and international visitors (9 percent).
Equally important, tourism-related employment began to recover in 2011, directly supporting 312,000 jobs and $9.56 billion in wages and salaries last year. When combined with indirect and induced jobs, the total climbs to 486,000, or nearly 10 percent of all New Jersey jobs.