New Jersey tourism industry recovering, and quite nicely
Life is good in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At least, it’s getting there.
“Recovery, uneven though it was, was the theme for 2021,” claimed Tourism Economics, the third party economic research firm that performed a comprehensive study of New Jersey’s tourism this past year.
The most visitor dollars were spent in Atlantic County, with its casinos and famous seaside attractions. In total, 96.6 million people visited the Garden State last year.
A recent press release from the governor’s office cites $37.3 billion in visitor spending for 2021, supporting 430,000 New Jersey jobs and resulting in $4.6 billion in state and local taxes, “represent[ing] a $1,400 in tax savings to New Jersey households,” according to New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way. Tourism “supported … nearly $20 billion in state gross domestic product (GDP), representing 2.8% of the state economy.”
However, these numbers can be broken down into three categories, the Tourism Economics study explains: Direct, indirect, and induced impact.
Direct impact, the study says, is the “direct economic value” created by visitors in New Jersey. For example, a visitor spending $300 on a hotel room for a few-nights stay.
Indirect impact means the goods and services, like food and furnishings, purchased by those directly affected industries, like the lodging industry, to support their guests.
Induced impact refers to the downstream impact of visitor spending – the spending of wages earned in jobs supported by the tourism industry – further stimulating the economy.
“The narrow definition of the tourism industry” – think direct impact – “counts only tourism consumption,” the study says, “which excludes capital investment and general government support of tourism.”
By that definition, visitor spending amounted to $18.8 billion in state gross domestic product in 2021, supporting 270,566 New Jersey jobs, and accounting for 2.6% of the total New Jersey GDP.
Tourism employment accounts for 87% of employment in the lodging industry, 42% in recreation, and 29% of the food and beverage industry in the Garden State.
In 2021, just over 5% of all jobs in New Jersey, or 1 in 20, were directly supplied by the tourism industry, up by 34,000 from 2020. This recovery represents “close to a third of the pandemic-induced jobs losses.”
Also, this past year, “tourism was the 9th-largest employer in New Jersey.”
Whether direct, indirect, or induced effects of tourism activity are considered, or all three, the state saw a significant increase over 2020, and exceeded projections for 2021. Tourism grew by 14% from 2020 to 2021, and while New Jersey has yet to attain the visitation levels it reached in 2019 – a banner year for tourism in the state – predictions say that it will next year.
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