Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area Sandy Hook Unit, Gateway National Recreation Area

TRENTON, NJ—State officials announced on Thursday that 2018 was a record year for tourism in New Jersey as tourists spent $44.7 billion and generated $5 billion in state and local taxes last year.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Secretary of State Tahesha Way released the record-breaking tourism data that included visitation in New Jersey rising to nearly 111 million, an increase of 7.4% from 2017.The tourism sector generated $38.7 billion of state GDP in 2017 and $4.8 billion in state and local tax revenues.

“The results released today make clear that New Jersey’s natural landscape, picturesque cities and towns, and abundant shoreline are in a class of their own, and attracting more visitors than ever,” said Gov. Murphy. “In the years to come and as this critical industry continues to grow, I look forward to joining families from around the world in enjoying what New Jersey has to offer, supporting the businesses and communities that make our state special.”

With a new focus on international travelers, the American Dream project, and Atlantic City’s hoped-for rebound, state officials are aiming to draw 150 million visitors by 2023.

“From ski recreation to sandy beaches, New Jersey truly has a destination for any discerning traveler,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way, who oversees the Division of Travel and Tourism. “Our tourism industry continues to grow, benefitting businesses, employees, and visitors, and the result is a vibrant industry that generates billions for our economy and our state.”

According to The Economic Impact of Tourism in New Jersey Report released by the Department of State’s Division of Travel and Tourism, visitor spending supported 333,860 jobs in New Jersey. When combined with indirect and induced jobs, tourism sustained more than 531,000 jobs in 2018, making tourism the seventh largest employer in New Jersey. A total of nearly 10% of New Jersey’s jobs are supported by tourism. The report found that 2018 marked the ninth straight year that visitor spending in the Garden State increased, growing more than 30% since 2009.

Other highlights of the annual tourism report included:

• 2017 visitation numbers were even better than reported, revised from 100.9 million visitors to 103.2 million.

• Food and beverage and lodging garnered the largest share of visitor spending.

• Visitor spending surged in Atlantic County.

• Non-shore counties continued to diversify the state’s tourism spending streams, generating 52% of visitor spending.