Sun Editorial: Stay local this summer
Last week may have ushered in the start of spring, but Shore towns throughout our state are experiencing high anxiety, as the start of the “summer beach season” begins in fewer than eight weeks.
The 102 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are crucial for the Jersey Shore, which, no matter what town you live in, has a vital impact on the Garden State’s economy.
We seem to often preach how important it is to stay local for the summertime. And that’s because it’s true.
The devastation that was caused by Hurricane Sandy seems like a distant memory. For the most part, Shore towns in our state have recovered, but they still desperately need visitors; they still need our support.
Beach Season 2013, the one immediately following Sandy, was not a good one.
As if rebuilding from Sandy wasn’t bad enough, an incredibly wet June kept visitors away from the Shore during prime weekends. Sales for stores that year in the hardest-hit areas were off anywhere from 20–40 percent, according to state economic reports.
The results improved slightly in 2014, and then again last year. According to a Tourism Economics report produced by the state Division of Travel and Tourism, visitors to the Shore increased by more than 8 percent last year. That calculation is based on “bed tax receipts” for the state’s Shore counties. In fact, that number exceeded those of the previous peak in 2012, before Hurricane Sandy.
Finally, the Shore is back! But the message is still the same: Visit the Shore this summer, visit often, and spend money there.
New Jersey residents often take our coastline for granted, but we should realize how lucky we are to have such a gem this close to home. So let’s pay it back this summer. As hard as it may seem to fathom, there are only two months until the official start of the summer beach season, but there is still plenty of time to plan your summer vacation at the Jersey Shore.
The beach towns need your support. Let’s all dedicate at least part of our summer to giving back.