(TRENTON) – New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses, restaurants and hotels shuttered in order to stop the spread of the virus. In an effort to help the business community rebound and recover, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) and Assembly Democrats Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) sponsor legislation to make a supplemental appropriation of $25 million in federal funds to the Department of State for advertising and promotion of New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry.
“Travel and tourism is one of the largest employment sectors and highest revenue-generating industries in New Jersey,” said Majority Leader Greenwald. “It is paramount that we promote businesses and destinations in our state that have been so negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill is vital to our overall economic recovery.”
Under the bill (A-5689), the funds would be dedicated to promoting industries most impacted during the pandemic such as food and liquor establishments across the State. It will also allow the State to identify other such business in need of support and to allocate the resources provided by the bill accordingly.
“When promoting New Jersey’s travel and tourism industry we should make it abundantly clear to all that our tourism destinations are open, fully operational, and safe,” said Assemblyman Mukherji. “Our hospitality industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic and these funds will be critical to help the industry survive and thrive.”
“I represent Atlantic City which is heavily reliant on tourism and, therefore, particularly hard hit by COVID-19,” said Assemblyman Mazzeo. “The State is reopening and Atlantic City, hotels, casinos and restaurants are enthusiastically welcoming patrons. A vibrant travel and tourism industry is vital to the overall economic well-being of all New Jersey residents and we must do all we can to support this industry.”
While New Jersey is not the only state to experience this level of disruption in these industries, the recently enacted “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” specifically cites the damage to the hospitality industry and requires that 25 percent of the monies appropriated to state, local, and tribal governments be directed to the hospitality industry.