The sixth annual “Jersey Shorecast” hosted by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton College brought together tourism industry experts who stressed the goal of promoting the entire Jersey Shore rather than just individual communities.
"To come together to build a common theme, I think that's very healthy, and I think that's good for the customer," said Joseph Kelly, President of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.
A coordinated effort among shore communities was just one of a number of strategies and projections made at the Shorecast. Officials believe the region has moved out from under the shadow of Sandy, helping to contribute to a positive summer outlook.
"We really think we have a strong season coming up," said Kelly. "This year the storm is gone, and we're really back to not only retaining but growing the travel and tourism in the market place."
Officials from Cape May County say they have seen tourism grow each year the last 20 years in the county. Last year, tourism grew to a five and a half billion-dollar industry in the county; something officials say is a sign of a rebounding economy.
"We found the highest increase was retail. That's a great indicator that there’s a little recession relief," said Diane Wieland, Director of Tourism for Cape May County
Cape May officials also plan to target tourist from Canada while using non–shore attractions to expand the season.
"Now we have wineries that will expand the season well into the winter and keep tourism vibrant in Cape May County," said Wieland.
One of the main topics of discussion centered on the many live events scheduled this summer and the potential economic boost that they come with.
"Whether it's the air show, a concert, whether it's a light show, fireworks, so I see a lot of fun things that will bring in a lot of people," said Dr. Israel Posner, Executive Director of the Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism.
With officials calling for a successful summer, the only missing component is the cooperation of Mother Nature.
"If we do get a good season this summer from a weather point of view,” said Posner. “It will be a beach and boardwalk bust–out."
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