Report: Tourism in N.J. in 2023 topped pre-pandemic levels

Tourism in New Jersey not only is up — it has passed its pre-pandemic levels, according to the 2023 economic impact report released Thursday by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism.


According to the state’s independent research partner, Tourism Economics, visitation to New Jersey increased more than 5% year-over-year in volume, to 120.5 million visitors from 2022’s level of 114.6 million, registering 4% higher than the 2019 record level of 116.2 million.

Even more importantly, the combined effect of recovered demand and rising prices propelled visitor spending to $49.1 billion, which was 6% above 2019 levels and 8% over the previous year.

Among other key findings:

  • Visitor industry gross domestic product equaled $23.7 billion in 2023, accounting for 3% of total New Jersey GDP.
  • The $49.1 billion in visitor spending means approximately $134 million was spent every day by visitors in New Jersey.
  • Visitor spending generated $5.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2023, equivalent to $1,520 in tax savings for every household in New Jersey.
  • Visitor activity sustained 501,014 New Jersey jobs (or 1 in 12), representing 8.3% of all jobs in the state.

“We are happy to report strong travel and tourism activity for New Jersey that resulted in significant state economic impacts,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Our visitors and friends spent more than $49 billion in the Garden State last year, or $134 million each day, revealing the tremendous appreciation travelers have for all that New Jersey has to offer. I extend my thanks to the outstanding workers within the tourism industry, as well as the people of New Jersey, for serving as excellent ambassadors of our state.”

Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way, who oversees tourism in her capacity as secretary of state, was equally thrilled.

“New Jersey enjoyed another revenue-growth year for tourism in 2023, underscoring the important role the industry plays not just for the state, but for all New Jerseyans,” she said. “Tourism generated $5.2 billion in state and local taxes alone, while also supporting more than 501,000 jobs.”

By category, visitor spending on food & beverage grew fastest, at 10% year-over-year, reaching 10% above 2019 levels. Strong year-over-year spending growth also was seen in recreation, which grew 9% to register 6% above 2019 levels. Despite lower gasoline prices, the ongoing recovery in air travel boosted transportation spending 8% versus the prior year, to 5% above 2019 levels.

Meanwhile, retail spending recovered to 1% above pre-pandemic levels after increasing 7% year-over-year in 2023. Lodging spending growth of 7% relative to 2022 was driven by year-over-year hotel accommodation growth of 12%, while spending on second homes and casino revenue increased 4% and 2%, respectively.