TOMS RIVER – Ocean County saw its tourism dollars grow 1.8 percent in 2017 bringing the amount tourism injects into the local economy to $4.76 billion.
“I am happy to see our numbers continue to increase when it comes to tourism in Ocean County,” said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to tourism and business development. “We always say Ocean County is the best vacation spot offering premier boardwalks, beaches, amusement parks, and recreational activities that collectively draw hundreds of thousands of people annually to our shores.
“These numbers provided by the state of New Jersey confirm what we have been saying,” Vicari said. “This almost 2 percent increase is what helps out our mom and pop businesses, our high school and college students and a host of other businesses and individuals. Tourism means jobs and it helps our economy.”
Vicari noted Ocean County continues to see an increase in tourism industry sales.
“That is good news for Ocean County,” Vicari said.
Vicari noted the positive trend is especially important since the County had growing concerns about potential damages to tourism as a result of Superstorm Sandy, which hit its coast on Oct. 29, 2012.
“We are happy that tourism is stronger than ever,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “This is a true testimony to the business communities and owners of hotels and rental properties in working to keep Ocean County the premier destination spot it has always been.”
Vicari said people choose Ocean County to vacation because it is affordable and family friendly.
“You can come to Ocean County and pick and choose from the many activities that are going on or you can find that quiet spot and just take it easy and relax,” Vicari said. “We have something for everyone.”
A report issued by the state Division of Travel and Tourism recently released the tourism numbers for the state.
Ocean County continues to account for more than 10 percent of all tourism dollars generated in the state.
“Ocean County’s tourism dollars have increased by almost 10 percent over the last three years,” Vicari said. “These dollars support our local economy year round and for our residents, this means a stronger economic outlook, employment and a more stable tax base.”
According to the State, on average, spending from 310 travelers, supports one New Jersey job and, one out of every 14.5 workers in New Jersey is supported by tourism.
In addition, $1,515 in tax revenue per household in New Jersey was supported by tourism in 2017.
“Tourism is an economic engine in Ocean County,” Vicari said. “Its success is a collaborative effort of marketing strategies, working with the state, working with Chambers of Commerce all getting the word out on all the great things that make Ocean County a great vacation spot.”
According to the State, the tourism sector generated $38.7 billion of state Gross Domestic Product in 2017, representing 6.7 percent of the entire state economy. The tourism industry statewide accounted for $45.4 billion in economic impact – an increase of more than 2.9 percent over the previous year.
“Every tourism dollar recirculates seven times,” Vicari said.
Including indirect and induced impacts, tourism in New Jersey generated $10.5 billion in government revenues last year, including $4.8 billion in state and local tax revenues, according to the State.
In Ocean County, lodging brought in $1.47 billion, food and beverage sales totaled $1.16 billion and almost $1 billion in retail sales.
“Ocean County has a lot to offer,” Vicari said. “We want people to come back year after year and we make every effort to keep Ocean County inviting and welcoming.”