ACCVA hoping for rebound in 2013 for Atlantic City - NBC40.net

ACCVA hoping for rebound in 2013 for Atlantic City

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ATLANTIC CITY -

While area businesses continue their recovery post Hurricane Sandy, several positive indicators show Atlantic City's resiliency as it enters the New Year.

"Atlantic City has shown a dedicated and expeditious effort to quickly rebound from Hurricane Sandy," said ACCVA President Jeff Vasser. "We are beginning to witness upticks in several month-to-month statistical reporting categories; however it will take more time to see significant positive trending in many of the key indicators that are tracked by the resort destination."

The number of conventions, tradeshows and meetings held at the Atlantic City Convention Center in December 2012 increased by 20%, with the addition of two more shows compared to December 2011.

That resulted in a 5% increase in both room nights and delegates and an increase of 2% in delegate spending for a total of $9,841,231 in December 2012. The number of public shows remained steady in December 2012, with delegate spending increasing 50% to $125,357 in December 2012 compared to $83,732 in December 2011.

Despite an 18% decrease in the number of public shows at the Convention Center in 2012 compared to 2011, the number of room nights generated increased by 31% year-to-date 2012 versus 2011. The number of shows held at individual hotel properties in December 2012 substantially increased post-Hurricane Sandy compared to December 2011 when there were no weather-related effects.

The number of shows year-to-date increased by 24% from 75 in 2011 to 93 in 2012, which resulted in an increase of 43% in the number of delegates attending in 2012 as compared to 2011. Despite a significant drop in attendance at Boardwalk Hall in December 2012 over December 2011, 2012 year-to-date attendance saw a positive increase of 9% over 2011.

Unaudited figures from the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) report that total scheduled deplanements decreased by 21% in December 2012 compared to December 2011, however year-to-date scheduled deplanements increased by 1%. Chartered deplanements at the Atlantic City International Airport increased by 10% in December 2012 over December 2011, however year-to-date chartered deplanements saw a decrease of 15.5%.

Traffic at the Atlantic City Expressway's Pleasantville toll plaza dipped by over 7%, and remained slightly down 2012 year-to-date over 2011 by 2%, however 20,571,312 cars moved through that toll plaza in 2012. Even though overnight busses were off by 8.4% and overnight bus passenger counts were off by 5.2% when comparing December 2012 to December 2011, it's important to note that efforts to increase overnight bus stays in 2012 helped keep year-to-date overnight bus counts and passenger counts nearly steady with a less than 1% decrease in overnight bus passengers in 2012 over 2011. Social media continues its meteoric rise in providing destination fans with the ability to share experiences and recommendations.

This is evident as Atlantic City's Facebook page posted 41,667 new "likes" for the year, up from 680 in December 2011. Total "likes" year-to date continue to outpace 2011 year-to-date by 917%. The number of new website visitors increased in December 2012 by 6% over December 2011, with a total of 192,076 visits, while year-to-date 2012 over 2011 increased 19% to 3,279,976.

ACCVA's opt-ins for eNewsletters was up in December 2012 by 59%, with year-to-date 2012 increasing by 242% over 2011. Spectrum Gaming Group provides the following additional independent insight to factors impacting December's business climate: On a year-over-year basis, the calendar day comparative for December 2012 versus December 2011 was comparable - December of both years contained 14 "weekend" days (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) and 17 "weekdays".

However, New Year's Eve fell on a Monday in 2012 versus a Saturday in 2011. According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature for December 2012 and 2011 was comparable (at 43 degrees Fahrenheit in both years), while this temperature was considered as being much warmer than normal.

Although there was no material snowfall in the region in December of either year, in December 2012 there were eight days that had considerable levels of rain (a quarter-inch or more), which was twice as many such days as there were in December 2011.

In December 2012 there were six "weekend" days with significant rainfall, while this impacted all four full weekends during the month; however, in December 2011 no significant rainfall occurred over weekend periods. Despite the absence of extreme weather phenomena in the Atlantic City region in December 2012, storm-related recovery activities (resulting from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012) continued throughout the region and continued to negatively impact visitation to Atlantic City.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average price for a gallon of gas in the region for December 2012 was 6 percent higher versus December 2011 ($3.59 vs. $3.39 per gallon), which may have impacted drive-in visitation to Atlantic City. However, the average gas price in December 2012 was lower than the monthly averages over the four preceding months. The figures quoted above and others are available in the monthly Tourism Barometer, available online at http://www.doatlanticcity.com/about/stats.aspx

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