Cape May County Officials say their towns will open for summer -

Cape May County Officials say their towns will be open for summer season

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Cape May County officials gathered Monday morning to launch their new campaign slogan "We're Ready" to let all of their tourists know that they will be open and ready for the summer season.

The road to recovery at South Jersey barrier islands has been a long one, but Cape May County officials say the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is not enough to keep them down.

"We are ready and we have adopted a slogan for the summer that says just that, that we are ready. Ready for the summer of 2013," said Sea Isle City Mayor, Lenny Desiderio.

Officials say making sure that visitors know that Cape May County's shore towns are ready for them is their most important goal, so that the tourists don't go elsewhere.

"We realized immediately after the storm that there was a perception out there that was not favorable," said Director of Tourism for Cape May County, Diane Whelan. "We realized that the further you got away from New Jersey the more we were defined as the Jersey Shore and the Jersey Shore was summed up in one photo."

They believe that photo was of the Seaside Heights roller coaster located in central New Jersey, over an hour north of Cape May County.

Officials now want to redefine Southern New Jersey and reclaim their title as a top tourist destination.

"The other states around us, and it's a competitive market, have made it clear that they are competing with us and are trying to take our tourist dollars away and take our tourist industry and replace it. It's not going to happen," said Senator Jeff Van Drew.

Desiderio says his town will be ready for tourists even earlier than the summer months, starting February 15th when they host the annual polar bear plunge.

And are expecting over 40,000 people to take part in the weekend festivities when 90% of the shops in town will be open for business.

Those who spoke at the press conference say that tourism is a 5.1 billion dollar industry for the sixteen towns in Cape May County.

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