Tourism is growing throughout our community and Cumberland County. In 2018, $44.7 billion (yes, billion) was spent in New Jersey by residents and out of state/country visitors. This includes money spent at beaches, casinos, forests, rivers and cities/towns.
Cumberland County, in the same time period, had visitors spending $354 million dollars. Revenue was generated from hotels, restaurants, recreation, retail, festivals and events. On average, spending from every 330 travelers supports one job.
Generally, people don’t recognize that tourism and the cultural and environmental attractions located in our county impact the economy to such a positive degree. We should really treasure the pristine Maurice River, our Bayshore communities, and our small cities.
In our own backyard in Millville, we have many reasons for people from around the state and mid-Atlantic region to spend time and money here. Some fine examples are The Levoy Theatre, the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts, Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center, Rowan College South Jersey Arts & Innovation Center and private art galleries. Food and beverage spending rank third in dollars spent. There is a wide variety of eateries in the Glasstown Arts District and the Union Lake Crossing shopping center.
Located side by side are the Millville Army Airfield Museum and NJ Motorsports Park. The museum preserves the history of America’s first defense airfield in WWII that trained pilots for the P47 Thunderbolt aircraft. NJ Motorsports Park attracts race and car enthusiasts, as well as, sophisticated go-karters.
A longtime attraction here has always been the Maurice River. With its federal designation as Wild and Scenic it draws visitors for “birding,” boating, water skiing, and relaxation. A riverboat offers tours from May into October starting from the Millville Municipal Marina. The area is filled with osprey platforms and bald eagles nest in the largest trees. These two species were nearly extinct in southern New Jersey by the 1980s. Through conservation efforts and the federal designation, they are now thriving. Other popular species are plentiful and a joy to see during migrations and year-round for some.
Although some varieties of fish in the Delaware Bay have diminished, it is still a very popular form of recreation. Shooting ranges for clay pigeons and targets bring visitors here to practice and enjoy firearms in a safe environment. Hunting has been popular in and around our county. Game preserves also attract regional hunters.
We are the “garden state” and agri-businesses draw people to our county for the “pick your own” seasons and the farm stands where everything is Jersey Fresh!
The Cumberland County Tourism Department and the county’s Cultural & Heritage Commission support and market all these attractions. In New Jersey there is grant funding for arts, culture and history. There is a new bill in New Jersey known as the “County Tourism Incentive Grant Fund” that will create more funding to keep growing our audiences. All these grants come from the hotel/motel tax that is collected when visitors stay in any accommodation in the state of New Jersey. Let your legislators know that you want them to support this bill that will add more money into the tourism account.
Let’s all work together to promote the wonderful natural and cultural resources we have here. We have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits we derive from the tourism dollars spent here.