I thought it would be great to open up the new AboutNewJersey.com Blog at the start of the New Jersey tourism season – Memorial Day weekend. I know, I know, many New Jerseyans do not see the benefit of tourism to the state’s economy and many actually complain and wish that people would go home. But in actuality – it benefits the average citizen immensely.
Some facts – for every dollar the state invests in tourism – we get back $36 into New Jersey’s economy. If it was not for the out of state visitors coming and spending their money in New Jersey, New Jerseyans would have to pay out $1,500 a year more in taxes to make up for the shortfall. In addition to the money tourists bring in, they encourage investment into so many great attractions that New Jerseyans take for granted.
Businesses Benefit by Tourists
People are often surprised when I explain how tourists benefit so many industries. For instance, I was at Sovereign Bank explaining tourism to the business manager there. I told him how tourist bring money into their bank. He asked me “how?” – which is the usual response when I talk to people. I had to explain to him that when tourists visit, they often go to ATM machines and withdraw money. We all know that banks charge fees for this convenience. Well everytime a tourist withdraws money out of an ATM machine – that bank is making at least $1.50 on that transaction.
Look at gas stations, look at the number of out of state plates filling up on gas, paying our gas tax. That money is going into the New Jersey economy. Going into paying for the salaries of the gas station attendants.
There is the direct economic benefit of tourists, such as amusement parks like Great Adventure or the hotels and restaurants. There is also the indirect benefit, such as the hotel using an outside laundry service, or the restaurant needing to buy produce or seafood. If you think you are not in the tourism business in New Jersey , think again. The image above demonstrates how tourism benefits America, the same thing happens in New Jersey.
Tourism is the third largest industry in New Jersey. The best way of combating the state’s budget problems, is to encourage more people to vacation in New Jersey and bring their money into our economy.
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I will be talking further in the future about both the positives and negatives of tourism. I know – many people who visit do not treat our beaches with respect and leave their trash lying around. Many act as if they own the boardwalks or nightclubs. Tourism increases traffic congestion. All these are legitimate concerns, but the benefits of tourism far out way the negatives. Many state’s understand this. Do You think New Orleans complains about the many visitors who congest the French Quarter during Mardi Gras and wish they would go home? Believe me, the businesses understand all the money that the visitor brings in. After Katrina – the city recognized how important it was to the city’s economy and made sure Mardi Gras took place that year – even in the wake of that terrible disaster.
Don’t take New Jersey for Granted
I am asking my fellow New Jerseyans to look around you. Look at New Jersey and see the many tourist attractions that we offer, from the theatres to the amusement parks, to the historic sites and of course our beaches. How much of this do you take for granted? Look at New Jersey through the visitor’s eyes – where they may not have a beach within an hour of their house, or the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, where boardwalks are unheard of, where seafood has to be flown in.
I have been to forty states and lived in six of them. I have lived in Indiana, West Virginia, California, Portland Oregon and Chicago Illinois – believe me – I no longer take New Jersey for granted. In Indiana it used to take me an hour just to go to a mall or a good restaurant. The closest amusement park was 2.5 hours away and the closest ocean beach was still in New Jersey – over 10 hours away.