According to a bunch of tourism industry poobahs testifying in front of a New Jersey state assembly committee, Chris Christie’s much-ballyhooed “Stronger than the Storm” campaign didn’t really help the Shore rebound in time for summer. The main issue, they said, was that the $25 million campaign launched in May, too late for most summer visitors to be convinced to make bookings.
Robert Hilton, who heads the convention and visitors bureau for Ocean and Monmouth, said that despite the late summer and autumn surge in hotel occupancy, overall he considers the summer to have been “absolutely a disaster.” What’s worse, he calls this the most dead December on record. One out of 10 businesses in the counties’ small downtowns are thinking of closing in January and not reopening.
Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, added this:
“I can’t say Stronger than the Storm was specifically helpful to Cape May County,” she said.
NJ Spotlight reports that other mid-Atlantic states like Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, began assuaging tourists’ fears very soon after the storm. [NJ Spotlight]