Mercer County second in state for tourism growth

Mercer County was second among the state’s 21 counties for tourism sales for the year in 2016, officials said.

According to the latest “Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey” report, tourism sales in Mercer County increased by 5.5 percent in 2016 compared with the previous year.

Tourism demand in the state reached $44.1 billion, an increase of more than 2.9 percent over the previous year. The number of visitors to New Jersey expanded by 3.3 percent last year to 98 million, according to the report that was released by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism and produced by Tourism Economics of Philadelphia.

“We are excited and honored that the Princeton-Mercer Regional has experienced such growth,” said Jennifer Spillane, managing director of the Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our region has many wonderful attractions like Princeton University, the shops of downtown Princeton, fabulous parks in Mercer County and amazing art and sport venues like Grounds for Sculpture and Trenton Thunder. The Region has something for everyone.”

In 2016, the tourism industry directly supported more than 321,231 jobs, officials said, adding that more than a half million jobs – or nearly one in 10 of all New Jersey jobs – depended directly or indirectly on tourism. In 2016, tourism in New Jersey generated $4.9 billion in state and local tax revenues. Officials claim that without the tourism industry, New Jersey households would each need to pay $1,525 in order to maintain the current level of state and local government services.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who spoke at the New Jersey Conference on Tourism in Atlantic City last week, told  conference attendees she has seen the “amazing and diverse attractions” New Jersey has to offer while traveling across the state the last seven years. “It’s no surprise that the Travel and Tourism Industry had another year of increased growth across all seasons,” she said.