New Jersey’s $40 billion tourism industry shortchanged by tepid advertising, lawmaker says

 (Emma Lee/WHYY)

(Emma Lee/WHYY)

A New Jersey lawmaker says the state isn’t doing enough to promote tourism in the Garden State.

Tourism is a $40 billion industry in New Jersey, but Sen. Bob Singer says it’s being shortchanged by its advertising budget. That allocation is far less than many other states, he said.

“We had $9 million in our budget this year for tourism. We spent $6 million, and turned back $3 million,” he said. “We absolutely are turning away tourism dollars by not selling the state of New Jersey more and not letting people know of the great, great things we have in this state.”

Singer is a rare Republican in criticizing the Christie administration’s approach to tourism. The Christie family even starred in television commercials as part of a post-Sandy marketing campaign.

Singer has proposed legislation to establish a comprehensive plan including a mobile app featuring all of New Jersey’s attractions so visitors could easily determine what sites they’d like to see and how to get there.

An overhaul of the state’s tourism marketing could help attract more out-of-state visitors and boost employment, he said.

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