By Matthew Allan
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Everyone in this city is looking for his
or her number to come up.
The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism recently emerged
as a big winner at the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism,
held at the Trump Taj Mahal.
Revenue figures for New Jersey tourism in 1996 showed increases
nearly across the board. Revenue rose to $24.6 billion, up from
$23.4 billion in 1995.
The jump was a direct result of a 9.9% increase in the number of
overnight visitors to the Garden State.
More than 584,000 jobs were supported by the tourism industry in
1996, an increase of more than 8,000 jobs from the prior year.
Five of New Jersey's six tourism regions had improved revenues
last year, with only the shore region showing a slight
New Jersey's governor Christine Whitman was particularly pleased
that the return on taxes per dollar invested in advertising rose
from $22 in 1995 to $30 in 1996.
The governor also touched upon one of the hot topics of the
conference: the launch of a multicultural tourism program.
According to Whitman, "The goals are to reach the promising
business and leisure markets of our ethnic communities, promote the
history and culture of these communities and, in the process,
create minority-owned businesses as well as expanded tourism
The multicultural market largely is untapped in New Jersey. A
panel agreed that increasing meetings and conventions business
would in turn lead to more leisure bookings in the multicultural
Focus groups are being organized to assess cultural tastes and
biases as they relate to tourism in New Jersey.
The Division of Travel and Tourism's new advertising campaign
also was unveiled at the conference. The ads highlight the state's
diversity and are designed to increase the more than half-million
annual inquiries from visitors.
The three-day tourism event was sponsored jointly by the New
Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism and New Jersey Travel