More southerners than ever are coming to the Jersey Shore due to the oil spill.
According to an article by Jacqueline L. Urgo in The Philadelphia Inquirer,
The county - which includes Cape May, the Wildwoods, Stone Harbor, Avalon, Sea Isle City and Ocean City - accounts for more than 13 percent of New Jersey's $38 billion in annual tourism revenue. It also has the state's highest concentration of hotels and motels collecting occupancy tax.
Christie Ostrander of the state Department of Travel and Tourism said she had noticed an increase in motorists from the South stopping by the Ocean View Welcome Center on the Garden State Parkway. They ask for information about where to sleep, eat, and play in the region, said Ostrander, who runs the center.
The facility serves more than 300 visitors a day. It handled about 1,300 more inquiries this June than in the same month last year, Ostrander said.
New Jersey's and Florida's tourism agencies partner to provide real-time information about beach conditions in the two states. Since the beginning of the season, her department has fielded queries from places such as Florida and South Carolina almost daily, she said.
"But it's not just the South. We're getting people from everywhere," Ostrander said. "A lot of visitors from Europe seem to be flying into Newark or New York and end up down here. Years ago, you never saw that. We also have many people from the New York area who have discovered us down here."
The international market is important to Cape May County tourism. Canadians account for about 13 percent of annual visitors, say Wieland and Ostrander. Their agencies created the "Passport to Savings," a promotion that gives travelers who arrive using a passport discounts to over 100 area businesses.
About 28 percent of Cape May County visitors in 2009 came from Pennsylvania and 25 percent came from New Jersey, according to a study conducted by the firm Global Insight. Nineteen percent came from New York, 6 percent from the Maryland-Washington area, and 22 percent from elsewhere, the study said.
Thinking about spending the second half of the summer on the Jersey shore? There's still places available to rent. Check out our rentals listings.