TRENTON, N.J. – From the Skylands region to the southern shore, New Jersey’s tourism destinations have suffered the ill effects of coronavirus shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. In anticipation of post-pandemic travel, Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a bill requiring the Division of Travel and Tourism to create and publish tourism videos online.
“Keeping our art attractions, cultural gems, historical sites and world-famous destinations in the public eye is vitally important. The survival of many of our nonprofits and the state’s tourism industry rely on public support,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “The state needs to take the lead in promoting our cherished sites by making videos available online. Travel and tourism is critical to rebuilding our economy and we need to get the public ready to hit the roads by the summer.”
In 2019, 116 million visitors spent $46.4 billion and supported 343,000 jobs in New Jersey. Pre-pandemic, tourism was New Jersey’s sixth largest industry. According to the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, the impact of the coronavirus and related policies has been greater on the tourism industry than any other sector. In 2020, the number of New Jersey visitors could be as low as 88 million – a decline of 24 percent. One third of all jobs lost due to the pandemic were part of the leisure and travel sector.
“The tourism industry promotes all 21 counties and is spread across all four seasons. From High Point State Park to the Cape May Lighthouse, and the Delaware Water Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, each region provides a unique experience,” explained Dancer. “Many attractions are located less than a tank of gas away for our residents and those in neighboring states – making New Jersey a choice destination for anyone hesitant to get on an airplane post-pandemic.”
The series of tourism advertising and promotion videos specified in Dancer’s bill (A5106) would be published on VisitNJ.org. In identifying the sites to be featured, special consideration would be given to ones that are geographically close or near arts, cultural, historical, entertainment, or other tourism destinations or exhibits of interest to tourists. The videos would include each site’s address, hours, admission policy and a brief history.
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, where the Dancer serves as a member.