That’s the main message that came out of the 14th annual Jersey Shorecast on May 11, sponsored by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism, Stockton University School of Business.
The seminar, which was also streamed online, was held at the Stockton University Atlantic City John F. Scarpa Academic Center.
Faculty Director Jane Bokunewicz moderated a panel that included:
- Oliver Cooke, associate professor of economics at Stockton University and editor of the South Jersey Economic Review
- Sharon Franz, sales and marketing director at Steel Pier in Atlantic City
- Diane Wieland, director of tourism, Cape May County Department of Tourism
- Jim Ziereis, vice president of sales for Caesars Atlantic City region
“I think the summer of 2022 is going to be another robust and strong shore season,” said Cooke, who’s also the editor of South Jersey Economic Review. “It may not be as robust as last summer. I hope I’m wrong, but there was so much pent-up savings and pent-up demand (last year). … I wouldn’t be surprised if we were close to what we were last summer.”
At the start of the seminar, Bokunewicz presented some new data from visitnj.org that showed 2021 was a very good year economically for the Jersey Shore as visitors, spending and the number of jobs in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Monmouth and Ocean counties rose dramatically from 2020.
Visitors to those counties reached 45.2 million (a 16% increase), spending hit $20.8 billion (a 28.9% increase) and 122.9 million workers were directly employed (a 22.9% increase).
But while those numbers are positive trends, they are all below 2019 numbers, before the pandemic.
Nevertheless, each member of the panel was very optimistic for the positive trends to continue in 2022.
“We are really bullish on this summer season,” Ziereis said.
A video of the Shorecast is posted on the LIGHT website. A recap of questions and responses is on the Stockton website.