“The Shore is OPEN,” the official tourism website of New Jersey touts, assuring tourists that the Sandy-battered coastline is back up and running after months of recovery.
As parts of the East endure the fourth heat wave of 2013, tourists are flocking to New Jersey’s coastline to cool off in the ocean and enjoy newly reconstructed parks, water rides and concessions.
Images of the boardwalk in pieces, the famous Jet Star coaster submerged in the salty ocean water and Restore the Shore promotions airing across local radio stations had residents and businesses worried that tourists would go elsewhere in 2013.
But it was a double-edged sword—the promotions brought in significant financial aid for reconstruction.
2012 had set a record year for the state’s tourism industry, generating $34.7 billion of the state GDP, amounting to 7 percent of the entire state economy.
With 10 percent of all New Jersey jobs related to travel and tourism, Superstorm Sandy put shore communities in a precarious position.
Despite concerns, the Garden State’s summer tourism season is progressing positively, the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism says.
“We are optimistic about the future,” according to Executive Director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, Grace Hanlon.
“While the Jersey Shore saw a slow start with the weather Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend brought spectacular weather and crowds all along our 130 miles and the momentum is continuing.”
As the East enters its hottest days of summer, business owners are noticing the sweltering conditions driving crowds to the beaches and the insides of their businesses.
“Weather is certainly one of the most critical factors. We are pleased that visitors are coming to visit the Jersey Shore to see for themselves the incredible recovery and rebuilding that has taken place over the past couple of months and to do their part in helping these shore town economies,” Hanlon said.
Though Mother Nature showed no mercy last October, her high heat, humidity and sunshine are yielding the type of summer New Jersey tourism thrives on.
This week will continue to be stifling for much of the East as the heat wave peaks, before easing back slightly by Monday. Ocean temperatures have finally pushed into the 70s, after days of unseasonable lows in the 50s.
“High daytime and nighttime temperatures, high humidity, intense sunshine and lack of wind will make the area seem like the middle of the tropics,” according to AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.