2008 Tourism Expenditures Reach $38.8 Billion

Trenton, NJ— New Jersey’s tourism industry posted solid 2008 revenue figures, despite months of record-high gasoline prices and a weakening 4th quarter economy. Total tourist expenditures reached the $38.8 billion mark, the industry’s second-highest figures to date and a decrease of only 1.6% from the record $39.5 billion set in 2007.


“One of New Jersey’s greatest advantages is that it is less than a tank of gas away for more than 91 million people, making it an economical option for cost-conscious consumers. New Jersey remains a strong regional tourism competitor offering the Jersey Shore as well as attractive year-round destinations for those looking for diverse entertaining and leisure choices closer to home,” said Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells.


“Travelers recognize the value of visiting New Jersey at a time when every dollar counts. We are especially pleased to report surveys of satisfaction and value ratings from travelers to New Jersey are up again for 2008, a strong testament to the quality and value of the state’s destinations and attractions,” stated Secretary Wells.


The report issued by Global Insight for the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism showed the state’s tourism industry was able to weather the economic downturn. The total economic impact of travel and tourism in 2008 rose to $27.9 billion, which represents 5.8% of the Gross State Product.


Visitors from other states account for the largest portion of tourism expenditures, roughly 71%, while in-state visitors totaled 27%, and international visitor expenditures totaled 2%.


Tourism generated $7.7 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue in 2008. If tourism did not exist, each New Jersey household would pay $1,427 more in taxes to maintain current tax receipts.


Tourism industries retained 72% of every tourist dollar spent in the state by purchasing goods and services from New Jersey businesses, an increase of 2% from the previous year. New Jersey’s strong 2008 dollar retention figure, among the highest in the region, supports job creation. In 2008, 10.9% of the state’s total employment, or 443,094 direct and indirect jobs, were created by travel and tourism economic activity. Specifically, 1 out of every 9 New Jersey workers has a job as a result of tourism.


“Tourism drives New Jersey’s economic engine and is the state’s 3rd largest industry. The wages and salaries generated by travel and tourism rose 0.9% to nearly $17 billion last year,” said Secretary Wells. “While national projections are split on how the current economic climate will affect travel in 2009, the Division of Travel & Tourism remains confident and optimistic about the future of New Jersey’s tourism industry. In fact, we believe the strong summer rental activity the shore communities are currently experiencing is an early indicator of a robust summer season to come.


“New Jersey is culturally and historically rich with diverse, year-round destinations that provide stability for the state’s tourism industry. Visitors have come to expect world-class entertainment and outdoor adventures for any season, including skiing and snowboarding, golf, vineyards and wine trails, five-star dining, spa getaways, charming B&B's and the excitement of Atlantic City. No matter what you enjoy, you will find great destinations in any direction in the Garden State,” said Secretary Wells.


For more information on New Jersey activities and destinations, assistance on planning a New Jersey vacation, including additional itinerary ideas, accommodations and free brochures, go to www.visitnj.org.