Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (both R-Monmouth) called on Governor Phil Murphy and legislative leadership to reach a budget agreement, saying a State government shutdown could put at risk a $125 million infusion of tourism dollars into Monmouth County over the 4th of July holiday.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Asw. Serena DiMaso called on Gov. Murphy and legislative leadership to reach a budget agreement, saying a State shutdown could hurt Monmouth County’s tourism economy over the important 4th of July holiday. (Bing Maps)
“Not only would a shutdown of the State severely inconvenience our residents, it could cost our tourism industry and businesses millions of dollars,” said O’Scanlon. “Tourism is critical to our economy here in Monmouth County, and most of our tourism revenue comes from three big holidays — Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. We can’t afford to let a government shutdown put that at risk.”
According to estimates by county tourism officials, Monmouth County alone brings in $125 million in tourism revenues during the week of 4th of July. Any perceived inconvenience caused by a shutdown could deter visitors from attempting an outing to the Jersey Shore.
“If potential visitors hear that some State beaches, parks, campgrounds, and historic sites are closed, they may skip a trip altogether,” DiMaso stated. “They may not understand that other county and municipal beaches are still open. They’re going to assume everything is closed and make plans elsewhere.”
Beach attendance isn’t the only aspect of Monmouth County’s tourism economy that could be harmed by a State shutdown. Last year’s two-day shutdown of the State, on July 1st and 2nd, resulted in the NJDEP issuing approximately 1,600 refunds to families for who paid for campground reservations across New Jersey. AAA estimates the upcoming week will be the heaviest travel week in 16 years.
“We have four campgrounds here in Monmouth,” DiMaso continued. “Families book their reservations 6 to 12 months in advance. I was in charge of Monmouth County tourism as a Freeholder. Last year, many families arrived to find they had no place to stay for their vacations. It’s an unacceptable inconvenience that might result in them not visiting again.”
“Our local economies and further, our state economy, depends on revenues from tourism. It’s discouraging to see that we’re at the eleventh hour with little sign of a positive solution for New Jersey,” O’Scanlon concluded. “We can only hope everyone understands the stakes here. A State shutdown will be detrimental to every county in New Jersey.”