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NEW JERSEY TOURISM SURPASSES RECORD PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS WITH INCREASED VISITORS AND EXPENDITURE IN 2023

Strong Summer 2024 Forecast and Creative “Little State, Lotta Wow,” Marketing Campaign Provide Additional Optimism

The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism (NJTT) recently released the “2023 Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey study at the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association’s (NJTIA) annual Advocacy Day, heralding the industry’s complete recovery as it surpassed 2019 records.

Annual visitor volume surpasses 2019 levels

According to the state’s independent research partner, Tourism Economics, visitation to New Jersey increased more than 5% year-over-year in volume to 120.5 million from 2022’s level of 114.6 million visitors, registering 4% higher than 2019 record level of 116.2 million. These numbers reflect strong demand for New Jersey’s travel product with sustained strength in both day and overnight visitor categories.

Visitor spending exceeds 2019 levels by 6% and 2022 levels by 8%

The combined effect of recovered demand and rising prices propelled visitor spending to $49.1 billion, which was 6% above 2019 levels and 8% over the previous year. Total expenditure by day visitors hit an all-time high of $6.372 million, exceeding 2022’s record figures by more than 11%. Spending grew across all sectors with overall visitor spend generating a total economic impact of $78.3 billion for New Jersey and a total of $5.2 billion in state and local tax revenues.


Governor Phil; Murphy

“We are happy to report strong travel and tourism activity for New Jersey that resulted in significant state economic impacts,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Our visitors and friends spent more than $49 billion in the Garden State last year, or $134 million each day, revealing the tremendous appreciation travelers have for all that New Jersey has to offer. I extend my thanks to the outstanding workers within the tourism industry, as well as the people of New Jersey, for serving as excellent ambassadors of our state.”


Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way

“New Jersey enjoyed another revenue-growth year for tourism in 2023, underscoring the important role the industry plays not just for the state but for all New Jerseyans,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way, who oversees the NJTT in her capacity as New Jersey Secretary of State. “Tourism generated $5.2 billion in state and local taxes alone, while also supporting more than 501,000 jobs.”

All visitor spending categories show growth trends with food and beverage leading

By category, visitor spending on food and beverage grew fastest at 10% year-over-year, reaching 10% above 2019 levels. Strong year-over-year spending growth was also seen in recreation, growing 9% to register 6% above 2019 levels. Despite lower gasoline prices, the ongoing recovery in air travel boosted transportation spending 8% versus the prior year to 5% above 2019 levels.

Meanwhile, retail spending recovered to 1% above pre-pandemic levels after increasing 7% year-over-year in 2023. Lodging spending growth of 7% relative to 2022 was driven by year-over-year hotel accommodation growth of 12%, while spending on second homes and casinos revenue increased 4% and 2%, respectively.

Key findings from the “2023 Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey” study

·      New Jersey welcomed 120.5 million total visitors in 2023, up nearly six million visitors from 2022, with visitation increasing 5% year-over-year and reaching 4% above 2019’s banner-year volumes.

·      Visitors spent $49.1 billion in New Jersey in 2023, up $3.7 billion from 2022.

·      Visitor industry GDP equaled $23.7 billion in 2023, accounting for 3.0% of total New Jersey GDP.

·      The $49.1 billion in visitor spending means that approximately $134 million was spent every day by visitors in New Jersey.

·      Visitor spending generated $5.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2023, equivalent to $1,520 in tax savings for every household in New Jersey.

·      Visitor activity sustained 501,014 New Jersey jobs (or 1-in-12), representing 8.3% of all jobs in the state.

Important resources

The “2023 Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey” study, prepared by Tourism Economics, can be found in its entirety at  https://visitnj.org/sites/default/files/2024-05/2023_Tourism_Economic_Impact_Study.pdf

Aggressive Marketing Effort Provides Positive Outlook for Summer 2024

Leading up to the summer travel season, The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism deployed a full advertising domination of New York Penn Station that featured a suite of brand new digital and print ads visible to hundreds of thousands of travelers using Amtrak, the Long Island Railroad and the MTA New York City subway system. The transit takeover was part of the “Little State, Lotta WOW” campaign. The domination showcased some of the state’s wow-worthy assets which include 1034+ attractions, 130 miles of beaches, renowned arts and culture destinations, 463+ historic landmarks and 58+ state and national parks.

In addition, a new immersive multi-media experience that complements the summer initiatives recently launched in Times Square. Known as the New Jersey WOW Mobile Experience, this innovative mobile-marketing activation features immersive video screens designed to bring exciting New Jersey experiences in-market with the sights, sounds and stunning landscapes of the state. VisitNJ also utilized multiple LED billboards throughout Times Square, including 3D animation. The New Jersey WOW mobile experience will be visible at a variety of locations throughout the year, including upcoming Baltimore Orioles and Washington National baseball games, New Jersey’s North2Shore Festival and more. Consumers can follow The WOW Experience mobile activation journey on VisitNJ’s website page: https://visitnj.org/wow-experience.

The mobile experience and takeover marked the launch of an integrated summer marketing campaign promoting New Jersey as an easy and accessible travel destination for travelers from the Mid-Atlantic looking to getaway to wow-filled beaches, mountains, scenic drives, charming main streets, restaurants, farmers markets, wineries, breweries, and more. The multi-channel campaign includes regional television and digital video advertisements, as well as radio commercials on streamed networks like Spotify. The campaign also extends across targeted digital banner ads, email marketing, highly coveted lifestyle publications, social media, outdoor billboards, etc.

“Feedback from our state tourism partners is showing an optimistic forecast for the summer travel season,” said New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Jeff Vasser. “The goal for our campaign is to bring the WOW of New Jersey to potential travelers and inspire them to visit. While 2023 was a great year for tourism, we’re working to ensure that 2024 is even better.”

About New Jersey  

New Jersey offers a wide variety of experiences to visitors all year long. Tourists and residents can enjoy outdoor adventures, renowned culinary offerings, educational opportunities, and a strong arts and cultural scene. With numerous state and national parks, beaches, skiing, tax- free shopping, historic sites, museums and more, New Jersey blends together its rich history and exciting present. Home to the nation’s first beach resort and the birthplace of major inventions, New Jersey offers a picturesque escape and dynamic opportunities for visitors from near and far. For more information, visit www.visitnj.org. Follow the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism on  FacebookInstagramTwitter and  YouTube for more events and news throughout the state.

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