Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jersey Shore on Rebound, Officials Stress

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Jersey Shore on Rebound, Officials Stress

Article excerpt

LONG BEACH ISLAND -- Tourism officials on Wednesday continued to combat the image of a devastated Jersey Shore, urging vacationers from all points to stay at hotels, dine at restaurants and shop at stores along the Garden State's famous shoreline.

"This message we send today is unmistakable - New Jersey is recovering, New Jersey is rebuilding," said Grace Hanlon, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. "Every day that passes, more businesses are reopening. Together the people of the Jersey Shore are showing the nation that our once-devastated communities will not only come back, but they will come back stronger this summer."

The message is being delivered in conjunction with a state campaign announced this week called "Show Your Love for the Jersey Shore." The marketing initiative promotes the region by encouraging people to visit the beaches with their loved ones, starting with Valentine's Day.

Travel and tourism is a key part of the state's economy, creating $38 billion in business in 2011, and supporting 312,000 jobs and more than $9.5 billion in wages.

But ever since the first images of superstorm Sandy's impact along the coastline were splashed across the Internet, television screens and newspapers, tourism officials have been fighting to dispel public perceptions that most businesses were significantly damaged and remain shuttered.

Misconceptions

Larry Sieg, vice president of marketing for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, said Atlantic City was fortunate it wasn't hit hard by Sandy. However, in the days after the storm, media reports incorrectly stated that the boardwalk was wiped out and the city was underwater, he said.

"This was completely and totally false," he said. "This could take years to get these erroneous reports corrected. …

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