Tourism spending in New Jersey tops $40B for 2nd straight year; 20 of 21 counties see increase

Associated Press

Tourism spending beat its previous high in New Jersey for the second straight year, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno told the state's annual tourism conference on Thursday.

The state, which hosted the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, saw tourism account for $42.1 billion in economic activity, a 3.8 percent increase from the year before, Guadagno said.

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Guadagno said 20 of the state's 21 counties saw an increase in tourism industry sales last year and the non-shore counties accounted for more than half of all tourism spending.

"With the Jersey Shore as the mainstay of our tourism industry, our challenge has been to broaden our vision and spread the word about the countless other, often lesser-known, tourist and recreational opportunities in New Jersey," she said.

The Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey report released Thursday by the state also said Gloucester, Salem and Union counties saw double-digit percentage increases in tourism sales last year.

The report also said tourism:

— Generated $36.4 billion of the state's gross domestic product, or 6.6 percent of the entire state economy, last year.

— Directly or indirectly supports 508,000 jobs, about 1 out of every 10 jobs in the state.

— Is the sixth largest private-sector employer in the state.

Guadagno was serving as acting governor on Thursday while Republican Gov. Chris Christie was out of the state.