Patch: Gloucester County Tourism Was Up Before Pandemic, Officials Say

This article was written by Anthony Bellano, Patch Staff.

The four counties represented by Visit South Jersey saw increased tourism in 2019, according to the nonprofit.

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, NJ — In the year before the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses and decimated economies across the country, tourism in Gloucester County was seeing significant growth, according to the nonprofit organization Visit South Jersey.

Visitation to Gloucester County was up 2.2 percent, to 1.3 million people in 2019, according to an economic impact report commissioned by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism from research company Oxford Economics.

Spending went up 0.2 percent, to $528.7 million, according to the report. Gloucester County is one of four counties represented by Visit South Jersey.

Visit South Jersey promotes assets, businesses and attractions in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties — plus the burgeoning Outer Coastal Plain Wine Region — to residents and visitors.

They provide information to Patch for an events feature that ran weekly before Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus lead to the cancellations of events statewide.

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The four counties represented by Visit South Jersey accounted for 8.2% of all New Jersey visitation and 7.2% of visitor spending in the state, which is made up of 21 counties.

“Visit South Jersey is extraordinarily pleased to see all of our county partners making such a great showing in the 2019 state tourism report,” Managing Director Michael Snyder said. “We are fortunate to have so many wonderful assets in our footprint, to say nothing of the overlapping — and award winning — Outer Coastal Plain wine region.”

That region stretches across South Jersey, with more than 40 wineries in all of Cumberland, Cape May, Atlantic, and Ocean counties and portions of Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, and Monmouth counties.

The impact wine region has had on the state was recently measured in the 2018 Frank, Rimerman+Co. report for the Garden State Wine Growers Association (GSWGA). The report showed that the wine region had a $323 million impact on the state economy in 2016 alone, up 40% from the last study in 2011.

“Altogether, the staff of Visit South Jersey is proud of the work we’ve done working with these counties and the GSWGA and Outer Coastal Plain Vineyard Association to promote South Jersey and its wine region, and we look forward to many more years of continued growth,” Snyder said.

The organization also understands the reality that the numbers will take a major hit when they are released next year.

“While we’re certainly going to be faced with a different tourism reality for the 2020 numbers when they are released next year, everyone understands that this is an international issue that will affect global tourism from the macro level right down to our micro slice of New Jersey,” Visit South Jersey Communication Director Megan York Parker said. “All we can offer is our prayers for health for those affected, our thanks to frontline workers and our sincere hope that our county businesses will weather this storm and welcome tourists and residents back to their experiences as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Statewide Highlights from the 2019 Report:

  • Visitor spending increased 3.8%; 2019 marks ten straight years of growth
  • Each traveler spends $400 on their trip to New Jersey
  • 116 million visitors (Visitation growth increase of 4.9%) spent $46.4 billion in New Jersey
  • GDP (gross domestic product) attributable to tourism spending totaled $21 billion, representing 3.2% of the state economy
  • Overnight visitors comprise about 47% of all visitors but spend about 90% of all visitor spending: that’s 54.7 million overnight person trips contributing nearly $42 billion in visitor spending to New Jersey
  • Day visitation grew to 61.5 million person trips, with spending increasing by more than $450 million between 2018 and 2019
  • Tourism was the 6th largest employer in New Jersey
  • Visitors generated $5.1 billion in state and local taxes, which is equivalent to $1,580 in tax savings for every household in New Jersey

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