New Jersey Gov., Jon S. Corzine, met with members of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, to discuss 2008’s tourism campaign, reported the Press of Atlantic City.

In an effort to help the NJ economy, tourism is high on the agenda. So don’t be surprised to see the big “Wildwoods” sign and the “diversity of the Pinelands” if you’re in Delaware, Virginia or Canada.

Thirty second television spots-unveiled Thursday at the 2008 Governor’s Conference on Tourism- highlight New Jersey’s cultural, natural, and historical attractions. Specially designated regions will view the spots along with billboards and print ads.

This year’s marketing push stem’s from 2007’s successful revenue.

Some of the information revealed by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism at the Atlantic City conference include:

The number of visitor’s was up nearly 6 percent, from 71 million in 2006 to 75.2 million in 2007. That’s a 24.7 percent increase since 2002, when the number of visitors to New Jersey last declined.

One out of every nine workers in New Jersey is in a tourism related field, making it the state’s third-largest industry after pharmaceuticals and chemicals…

Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean counties remain the top three recipients of tourism dollars, earning a total of more than $21.4 billion in 2007.

New Jersey Secretary of State, Nina Wells said, “We’ve previously promoted the state in a much more generic level. Now we’re doing it on a micro-level. We’re not shy about saying: ‘Go to Wildwood. Go to the Borgata.’”

Gov. Jon S. Corzine predicted a successful tourism season for 2008 despite-and because of- a “tough economic environment.”

“I think we might have one of our best summers ever because people are going to (travel close to) home,” Corzine said in a ballroom filled with about 400 people.

But the hype surrounding the state’s marketing effort and increased tourism numbers underscores the need for continued state funding, conference organizers have said.

The governor has proposed cuts to the fiscal year 2009 budget. He has suggested slashing 1.8 million in tourism advertising and promotion, which would leave overall funding at a $9 million minimum.

The thought of less funding irked some of Thursday’s attendees.

Susan Gogan, executive director of the WheatonArts and Cultural Center in Millville, who is receiving $25,000 state grant for its marketing, said, “It’s a violation of the spirit of the law.”

With potentially less money for tourism, Nina Wells said, “it’s a matter of building on the current marketing effort.”

Attendees remained positive about their 2008 tourism potential.

Diane Wieland, director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, said the sourthern shore region is again counting on Canadians to increase area spending.

“It’s not like they come for a day. They stay,” said Wieland.

For the complete list of findings announced by the NJ Division of Travel and Tourism at the Atlantic City conference please visit The Press of Atlantic City.

Tamika M. Murray blogs at PJ’s and A Movie and Stop and Stare Photos.

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