N.J. Kicks Off Fall Advertising Campaign

By Amy Baratta

TRENTON, N.J. -- Hoping to capitalize on the momentum of a successful summer tourist season, New Jersey launched a $1 million fall advertising campaign that for the first time promotes specific package tours.

The Fall for New Jersey television and print campaign is really the combination of an autumn foliage promotion and last year's Second Summer ad campaign that encouraged travelers to extend the summer tourist season into September and October, according to Linda Mysliwy Conlin, director of the division of travel and tourism. Second Summer "was well received last year by the industry, as well as visitors," Conlin said. "What we have learned is that while tourists know what New Jersey has to offer in the summer, the fall season --which includes everything from autumn leaves to pick-your-own farms to wineries -- is still an untapped market. This campaign is designed to change all that."

The five-week TV promotion, which began airing Sept. 22, the first day of fall, also follows recommendations in the Tourism Master Plan that was presented to Gov. Christine Whitman by the tourism division in early October. The plan calls on the state to target its core markets in the tri-state area as well as expand tourism during the fall shoulder season.

Television ads will focus on the metropolitan New York and Philadelphia markets as well as New Jersey, an area which supplies the state with 92% of its day-trip visitors as well as more than half of its overnight stays.

In addition, for the first time, New Jersey will be included in package tours offered by Liberty Travel, a development that delights Conlin, a former travel agent. "For us to work in partnership with the travel and tour industry here in New Jersey is especially exciting," she said. "To open up that New York Times page with the Liberty Travel ad and see New Jersey right there with package tours being offered -- it's just amazing."

The packages also let agents know that their participation in expanding tourism to New Jersey is welcome, according to Conlin. "It lets retail agents know that we want them to be part of expanding travel and tourism here," she said.

Liberty Travel was chosen "because we were very impressed with what [it] had done with Virginia Beach and Williamsburg," Conlin said. "It also showed great interest in developing local getaway packages."

The packages include Naturally New Jersey, with foliage tours in the skylands region; Autumn Waves, featuring Atlantic City, Wildwood and Cape May; Gateway to Fun, which incorporates visits to the Liberty Science Center and Spirit Cruises, and Great Adventure Weekends, which include overnight stays and admission to the Six Flags theme park and drive-through safari.

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