We’ve been over this before: how the news coverage of Sandy has lead many to believe that the entire Atlantic City Boardwalk was washed away when, in fact, the tourist area of the boardwalk still stands.
Apparently the perception hasn’t changed.
According to a an Atlantic City Alliance poll, 25 percent of people in the U.S. think the Atlantic City Boardwalk is gone. Worse, 32 percent of people in the Northeast think that. The reason that’s worse? Atlantic City is still very much a regional gambling destination. They’re losing customers over a misconception.
This isn’t just an Atlantic City problem. This week, Sea Isle City held a press conference to scream at the top of their lungs that they’re open. LBI officials have said that 90 percent of their island’s rentals will be ready for the summer. Still, one Cape May hotelier told me that, out of 20 summer reservations he booked on one recent weekend, 19 called first to ask if the town was still there – and Cape May sustained very little damage.
Tourism boards across the state are calling for a $20 million tourism campaign to let people know the shore is open for business this summer. Tourism generates $38 billion a year in N.J., much of it coming from people visiting our shore towns. N.J. Tourism’s budget has been cut to the bone since the recession. Now is not the time to sit back and watch as misconceptions and false rumors keep people away from the shore. I think we learned our lesson from that MTV sham show already.