Tourism in N.J. hits record-breaking numbers, Murphy says

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | May 9, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Tourism in New Jersey has hit record-breaking visitation numbers, so said Gov. Phil Murphy and Secretary of State Tahesha Way when they joined members of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association on Thursday.

In 2018, visitation to New Jersey was up 7.4% from 2017 to 111 million people, the governor and secretary of state said. Due to this, total spending by visitors to the Garden State reached $44.7 billion, generating $5 billion in state and local taxes for 2018.

The state’s goal, it said, is to draw 150 million visitors by 2023, focusing on international travelers, the American Dream project and Atlantic City’s rebound.

“The results released today make clear that New Jersey’s natural landscape, picturesque cities and towns, and abundant shoreline are in a class of their own, and attracting more visitors than ever,” Murphy said. “In the years to come and as this critical industry continues to grow, I look forward to joining families from around the world in enjoying what New Jersey has to offer, supporting the businesses and communities that make our state special.”

“From ski recreation to sandy beaches, New Jersey truly has a destination for any discerning traveler,” Way, who oversees the Division of Travel and Tourism, said. “Our tourism industry continues to grow, benefitting businesses, employees, and visitors, and the result is a vibrant industry that generates billions for our economy and our state.”

“The New Jersey Tourism Industry Association shares Governor Murphy and Secretary Way’s enthusiasm in recognizing that the tourism industry in New Jersey is essential to our economy and our way of life,” Adam Perle, president of the organization, said. “Every day, tourism provides jobs, generates taxes, and spurs economic development. Spanning from the mountains to the shore, farms to cities; our state has many authentic experiences to offer visitors. The New Jersey Tourism Industry Association is proud to collaborate with the Office of the Governor, the Department of State, and the Division of Travel and Tourism on our collective efforts. “

Visitor spending supported approximately 334,000 jobs in New Jersey, according to an Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey report released Thursday by the Department of State’s Division of Travel and Tourism.

When combined with direct and indirect jobs, the report found tourism helped sustain more than 531,000 jobs, making tourism it the 7th largest employer in New Jersey.

The report also found that 2018 was the ninth straight year visitor spending increased, up more than 30% since 2009.

Other highlights include:

  • 2017 visitation numbers were better than previously reported, revised from 100.9 million to 103.2 million visitors;
  • Food and beverage and lodging received the most share of visitor spending;
  • Visitor spending surged in Atlantic County;
  • Non-shore counties continued to diversify tourism expenses, generating 52% of visitor spending.
Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader