Writer: Esteban Pages
2 min read June 2023 — The Garden State’s tourism sector is not only on track for a major rebound but poised for a record year after the pandemic cost $1.1 billion in lost tax revenues in 2020. Industry stakeholders anticipate $49 billion in state revenue projected for 2023 alone, followed by $52 billion in 2024. What are the strengths of North and Central Jersey’s tourism landscape that explains this quick turnaround? Gina Hulings, director of the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs and Tourism Development, Linda Harrison, CEO & director of the Newark Museum of Art and Steven Tettamanti, president & CEO of the New Jersey Historical Society, shared their respective takes with Invest:.
Gina Hulings, Director, Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs and Tourism Development
What makes Hudson County a tourism destination?
Our area is incredibly vibrant with amazing restaurants, roof-top bars, culture, events, arts, and breweries – just to name a few of the reasons why so many tourists are coming to visit Hudson County. We have also gotten an influx of requests for filming in our area, whether it is in our streets, beautiful parks, historic landmarks or amazing local businesses. We also have quite a few festivals. We have our Thomas Edison Film Festival and the Golden Door International Film Festival that bring in a lot of tourists and residents to the area. Along with our amazing non-profit arts / history organizations, we have such a rich and diverse culture within the county. Jersey City is the No. 1 diverse city in the Country. In addition to that, we boast amazing attractions. In Jersey City, we have the iconic Statue of Liberty and Liberty State Park, in East Newark, we have the famous Tops Diner. In Bayonne, we’ve got the Bayonne Golf Club and in Hoboken, we have our Hoboken Historical Museum. We also have the best views of New York City. Along with that, we’ve had an incredible resurgence in the past 10 years or so with arts and culture. On www.visithudson.org, we’ve created special day trip itineraries, weekend itineraries and more.
Linda Harrison, CEO & Director,The Newark Museum of Art
What is the contribution of the arts and cultural landscape to the region?
I was delighted when I transferred here from San Francisco five years ago to see such a deep, culturally rich region of artists, whether those are visual artists, performing artists, sculpture artists or spoken word artists. New Jersey has a rich set of anchor arts institutions and artists who nurture them. My job is also to nurture and support these artists by giving them a platform so that our various communities can see themselves reflected in artistic expression and feel proud of the art and culture in their region. Art and Education Districts are the hubs of a vibrant urban city, particularly when those urban cities are transforming themselves into cities that businesses want to move to. And when a company commits to being here, you then have the question of the people who will also be coming and where are they going to live and play? As anchor institutions, we play a critical role in an urban vibrant city. Arts and Educational Districts enthusiastically drives, social, cultural and economic impact. Our transformation is in lockstep with the transformation of the region. As an urban center reemerging as a walkable hub for commerce, attracting new generations to live, work and grow, NMOA is invested in Newark’s and the region’s creative future.
Steven Tettamanti, President & CEO, New Jersey Historical Society
How does tourism contribute to New Jersey’s GDP?
North and Central Jersey have an incredibly rich and diverse cultural landscape. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector contribute billions to NJ’s economy, and represents over 3% of the state’s GDP, and provides thousands of jobs.
It is important that New Jersey continues to put the arts and other cultural organizations on a plateau. There are numerous organizations that support arts and culture, and many individuals make donations to establishments such as ours. Contributions create jobs and therefore boost the local economy. Not to mention the rich programs, exhibits, lectures and presentations that are developed. Investing in cultural institutions like ours results in a positive return. Creating partnerships and collaborations also strengthens the work we do. We try our best to communicate that NJHS is an excellent investment, and as a result, many individuals and organizations support us.
I believe the future of the arts and culture industry in New Jersey will be strong and exciting. Many organizations now understand the power of collaboration and new technologies that will allow them to reach more constituents. As for the NJ Historical Society, we are focusing on building our network, increasing our exposure, and partnering with other organizations on related projects, all to provide more programs to the public.
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