Elaine Zamansky, 609-343-5974, firstname.lastname@example.org
Events and Convention Drive Strong Third Quarter for Atlantic City Tourism
(Atlantic City, NJ, October 15, 2014) – Free beach concerts, top entertainment, Miss America, the DO AC Boardwalk Wine Promenade and a solid start to the fall convention season attracted new and return visitors to Atlantic City in the third quarter of 2014.
Nearly 64,000 visitors stopped at the visitor welcome centers on the Atlantic City Expressway and Boardwalk at Mississippi Avenue, a 10.4% jump over the same quarter in 2013, signaling a significant number of new visitors seeking maps and other tourism information. The visitor information counselors also fielded more than 3,800 phone inquiries, 46% more than the third quarter of 2013.
Likewise, the official tourism Website, www.doatlanticcity.com, logged more than 1.3 million visits during the quarter, a 27.4% increase from 2013. Nearly 922,000, or approximately 67%, were new to the site, confirming that “DO AC” marketing and popular events are attracting a new segments of visitors for Atlantic City, with many coming from beyond the traditional drive-in market for Atlantic City.
“We saw from ticket requests for the beach concerts that visitors will come from across the country to enjoy the total visitor package that Atlantic City offers,” said John Palmieri, executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). “We also know from talking to them that they had a great experience and plan to come back in the future with friends and family. As we continue to develop new non-gaming attractions throughout the city and produce exciting events, the visitor base will continue to grow. ”
Boardwalk Hall, the city’s main event arena, also experienced a significant increase in events and attendance. Twice as many events (8 total, including the much-heralded Miss America competition) were held compared to third quarter 2013, with close to 86,000 people in attendance – a jump of 63.4% over 2013 attendance figures for the quarter.
Information recently released by Global Spectrum, which manages operations at both Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center, recently released results of exit surveys showing a majority their ticketholders dine in Atlantic City restaurants; stay in a local hotel; spend more than $200 outside of Boardwalk Hall on food, gambling, accommodations or retail; and travel more than 50 miles to attend the event. “There’s no doubt that Boardwalk Hall events contribute significantly to the local economy,” Palmieri said. “That’s why the CRDA is offering incentives to Live Nation, the country’s largest entertainment booking agency, to bring more of their top acts to the city.”
Atlantic City’s convention business, which traditionally slows during the summer months, is off to a strong fall start. Meet AC booked a total of 49 meetings and conventions in the Atlantic City Convention Center and hotel properties citywide throughout the quarter, with 30 in September alone. The 49 total is a 32.4% increase over the total booked for the same quarter in 2013. Conventions and meetings booked directly by hotel sales staffs are not included in this count. Events were a mix of annual conference such as the Philadelphia National Candy Gift and Gourmet Show and New Jersey Housing Conference, as well as new events such as the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS).
“With the Meet AC group sales organization now fully operational, we’re anticipating continued growth in the conventions and meetings market,” Palmieri added.
Spectrum Gaming Group provides the following additional independent insight to factors impacting the second quarter’s business climate:
The following factors may have impacted drive-in visitation and tourism metrics related to Atlantic City over the months of July through September, or in the 3rd Quarter of 2014 (and on a year-over-year basis compared to 3rd Quarter 2013, unless otherwise noted):
• The Independence Day holiday was on a Friday in 2014, while the holiday was on a Thursday in prior year.
• According to the National Weather Service (from the Atlantic City station):
Overall, the 3rd Quarter of 2014 was slightly cooler compared to same period last year, as the average daily temperature this year was 70.9 degrees compared to 71.8 degrees last year. Additionally, there were only 6 days this year (4 in July and 2 in September) where the high temperature exceeded 90 degrees compared to 13 such days last year (11 in July and 1 each in August and September).
Overall, the 3rd Quarter of 2014 had more than double the amount of rain compared to same period last year. This year there was 18.5 inches of total rainfall with 22 days having measurable amounts of rain compared to 7.5 inches of total rainfall last year, with 16 days having measurable amounts of rain. Heavy rainfall (or more than one-half inch per day) occurred on 12 days this year compared to 4 days last year.
• According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average price for a gallon of gas in the region for 3rd Quarter of 2014 was approximately 8 cents less compared to last year ($3.64 vs. $3.72 per gallon); moreover, the average gas price in 3rd Quarter of 2014 was significantly lower than the average price over the preceding quarter, or 2nd Quarter of 2014 (when the average price was approximately $3.79 per gallon).
• Internet gaming was available to adults within New Jersey and offered through Atlantic City casinos during the 3rd Quarter of 2014; this was not offered over same period last year.
• Three casino hotels permanently ceased operations during the 3rd Quarter of 2014 (Revel, Showboat, and Trump Plaza), reducing the number of casino hotels in Atlantic City to 8.
The figures quoted above and others are available in the monthly Tourism Barometer, available online at http://www.doatlanticcity.com/about/stats.aspx.
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About the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) www.njcrda.com
The only agency of its kind nationwide, the CRDA has used Atlantic City casino reinvestments as a catalyst for meaningful, positive improvement in the lives of New Jersey residents statewide, investing nearly $2 billion in more than 400 projects statewide since 1984. Under the 2011 Tourism District Act, CRDA’s mission evolved from statewide projects to becoming the state’s key economic development agency for Atlantic City. CRDA responsibilities expanded to include Land Use Regulation, Clean and Safe initiatives, group and leisure tourism marketing, attracting and retaining conventions and meetings at the Atlantic CityConvention Center and Boardwalk Hall, and partnership with the Atlantic City Alliance to brand and market Atlantic City. Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority division of CRDA is the first destination marketing organization in New Jersey to achieve prestigious Destination Marketing Accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association International.