OCEAN COUNTY – Ocean County saw its tourism dollars grow another 3 percent in 2016 bringing the amount tourism injects into the local economy to $4.68 billion.
“Our premier boardwalks, beaches, amusement parks, and recreational activities have collectively drawn hundreds of thousands of people to Ocean County during the summer season,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to tourism and business development. “This 3 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 brings jobs and helps our economy,” he said. “I am happy to see this growth.”
Ocean County saw a five percent increase in tourism revenues in 2015 bringing the number to $4.6 billion.
Vicari noted the increase is especially important as the county continues to come back from the effects of Superstorm Sandy which hit its coast on Oct. 29, 2012.
“Four years following the Superstorm and tourism is stronger than ever,” Vicari 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’s 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.
“We’ve seen an 8 percent increase in tourism dollars over the course of two years,” Vicari said. “We fully expect to see this number continue to grow with each passing season. For our residents, this means a stronger local economy, employment and a more stable tax base.”
In 2016, Ocean County tourism generated $463 million in state and local tax revenue, an increase of $12 million.
Additionally, more than 37,000 tourism-related jobs were created in the county.
“Tourism helps put people back to work,” Vicari said. “Every tourism dollar recirculates seven times.”
Statewide, tourism demand grew 2.9 percent in 2016 to reach $44.1 billion.
In 2016, Ocean County expanded its promotional efforts to draw more tourists to the region including a new website, Facebook page, a revised events calendar, expanded distribution of information, aggressive marketing and the continuation of promotional grants.
“We have to keep the momentum going and we are taking steps to make sure everyone knows just how great a place Ocean County is for a vacation,” Vicari said.