Ocean County Tourism Up Another 5 Percent, to $4.6 Billion

By MARIA SCANDALE | Mar 09, 2016
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Vacationers spent a record amount of time and money in Ocean County in 2015. County officials say that translates to a more stable tax base for the year-round residents.

Tourism now injects $4.6 billion into the county’s economy, up from near $4.4 billion in 2014. That’s billion with a “B.”

A report issued by the NJ Division of Travel and Tourism on March 4 shows that Ocean County now accounts for more than 10 percent of all tourism dollars generated in the state.

“We’ve seen a five percent increase in tourism dollars in only one year,” said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism. “We fully expect to see this number grow with each passing season.

“For our residents, this means a stronger local economy, employment and a more stable tax base.”

In 2015, Ocean County tourism generated $451.4 million in state and local tax revenue. More than 37,000 tourism-related jobs were in the county.

More than 98 percent of all the county’s tourism-related businesses are “Mom & Pop” family-owned businesses, Vicari said.

“The money they make stays in Ocean County,” he said. “Every tourism dollar re-circulates seven times.”

Vicari said that while some residents may complain about crowded roads and beaches every summer, the benefits of tourism far outweigh the inconveniences.

“Every homeowner in the county would pay an average of $1,400 more a year in taxes if it wasn’t for tourism,” he said.

Statewide, the tourism outlook is bright. The report predicts tourism spending in New Jersey will top $50 billion by 2020.

Freeholder Director John P. Kelly said low gas prices have also helped drive people to Ocean County and the Jersey Shore.

“For more than 100 years tourists have been coming to Ocean County. People around the state and in New York and Philadelphia know the good things we have to offer,” said Kelly, freeholder director of law and public safety. “Our Tourism Department has done a great job reaching out to other parts of the country and to Canada in an effort to attract new visitors.”

Only Atlantic and Cape May counties generated more dollars in 2015. By comparison, Monmouth County tourism economy stands at $2.4 billion, about half of Ocean County’s total.

Statewide Winning Number

Exceeds $43 Billion

Also commenting on the positive figures was Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who attended the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association luncheon to discuss the tourism industry and its post-Superstorm Sandy improvements.

Statewide in 2015, the $43.4 billion in economic impact is up more than 3 percent over the previous year.

The sheer number of tourism spenders increased for the sixth straight year, up by 2.4 percent last year to reach 95 million.

“New Jersey continues to be a great vacation destination and the 2015 tourism report unveiled today confirms just that,” said Guadagno. “These impressive results verify that our promotional efforts are yielding great returns for the citizens of our great state.”

In 2015, the tourism industry directly supported more than 318,330 jobs. When factoring in indirect impacts, more than a half million jobs – or nearly one in ten of all New Jersey jobs – depended on tourism.

In the state, 20 of 21 counties saw an increase in tourism industry revenues. Those were not just shore counties. Passaic County saw a 9.9 percent increase in tourism spending, Cumberland County was up 8.8 percent and Hudson County was up 8.6 percent.

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

Ocean County Tourism
Break away from the busy life and rediscover your own backyard! Ocean County has it all just a small drive away.You'll love us when you visit!Visit www.oceancountytourism.com or like us on facebook: (Video by: Ocean County Government)
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