The Atlantic City Alliance's Liza Cartmell is more than optimistic about the future of the resort.
ATLANTIC CITY — Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, speaking Thursday, March 15, at the New Jersey Travel Industry Association's New Jersey Conference on Tourism, being held at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City through Friday, revealed some staggering statistics regarding the state's tourism industry, urging other destinations throughout the state to take Atlantic City's lead.
“The governor is always talking about the New Jersey comeback,” Guadagno said. “But in terms of travel and tourism, it has already arrived. We are already beating the pre-recessionary period.”
Guadagno saud that tourism was a $38 billion industry in New Jersey in 2011, up seven percent from 2010.
About 80 million visitors came to New Jersey last year, she said, a 14.6-percent increase from 2010.
Guadagno said the tourism industry supported about 10 percent of all employment in New Jersey last year — more than 485,000 jobs.
As of April 2012, Liza Cartmell will have five employees working for her at the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA), the non-profit group created last year to re-brand and market Atlantic City.
All five employees at the ACA, which runs on an annual $30 million budget, funded by the CRDA and backed by the casinos, will be working in Atlantic City.
Two of the new hires, says Cartmell, are relocating to Atlantic City for the new job.
"Basically, there's really three core functions that we're trying to address," Cartmell tells Atlantic City Weekly, "the marketing piece, the public relations piece, and then, really, event planning to really help start drive incremental visitation through unique destination-type activities here in the market place."
Cartmell, who was a featured speaker during the Thursday luncheon, says that while the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) "still plays a very important role" in promoting events within the city, and at their core properties (Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center), the reach of the ACA is to try and get people to come to Atlantic City in a more general sense.
Cartmell spent several months determining the right partners for the ACA's mission and just recently contracted two firms — Euro RSCG and Edelman — to handle the advertising and public relations campaigns respectively.
She says the decision-making process was difficult with all of the potential firms, but that she's confident she chose the best of the bunch.
"In each case they brought specific skills that were really, really important to us as we look to develop a new brand for Atlantic City," says Cartmell. "We went through a very competitive bid process and all of the firms were absolutely terrific — they were world class [and] it was not an easy decision, but in the end we really felt that Euro was the most able to really capture the personality of Atlantic City and be able to try and represent that in images that were the most meaningful and with a message that was just really, really strong for the targeted audience that we're trying to bring to Atlantic City."
In Edelman's case, says Cartmell, "they're just a world-class organization that really had a firm grasp on what we need to do in terms of conveying a message that is measured — you know, bring the skill sets to help us launch the campaign, but also the skill set down the road to help us make sure that we're dealing with some of the negative stories in a positive way so that we can mitigate those, as well as really reach into the deep bench that they have to help promote more deeply special-interest stories [and pitch them to various media outlets].
"Because I have these high-power resources, such as [the Edelman firm out of the New York] and others on board, we're certainly going to look to try and leverage them as well."
Cartmell wants to help build "city-wide promotions" to attract visitors, especially in the spring and fall months. She gives an example relating to the holiday season at The Walk shopping district.
"We still have an awful lot of work to do on this, but as an example: December, we have The Walk, and the hotels are empty and there's great Christmas shopping [opportunities]. I mean [The Walk] is busy, but the shops are not busy enough. And I think there's really an opportunity to create a very special package for people to come out and do their Christmas shopping, get a foot massage, [eat at participating restaurants, etc.].
"There's an opportunity to take those times and periods when the city's quiet and try and figure out how we can create events that will be special enough that people will want to take a day off from work and come on down."
Cartmell adds that a "Christmas show" could be tied into such a promotion, and that each month of the year will have different possibilities.
"We need to look at each month differently and figure out what could be the appeal."
On Tuesday morning, April 9, the ACA, CRDA and ACCVA teamed up for a presentation at the Sheraton to unveil new DO AC spring/summer campaign and highlight other new initiatives in the city from Margaritaville to Revel's new beach bar. Watch the new ad videos here.
"We think we have the money set aside. We've identified the funding. We believe we have a good site but we may determine that there are other sites that we need to review as well."
The ACA’s Liza Cartmell talks about the first year of the DO AC campaign and changing people’s perception about the resort.
As New Jersey Gov. Christie might say ‘Why fly to the desert when you can Do AC this fall?’
Although A.C. tourism has taken a well-publicized hit based on increased competition elsewhere, funnel cake continues to enhance the saltwater air, rolling chairs move like motorized vehicles, and the resort continues to offer amenities that landlocked gambling boxes simply cannot.
15 picks for your hot Jersey shore summer action
“Being a boxing fan, I appreciate the legacy and history of boxing in Atlantic City. Of course, during the casino era, in the 1980s, when Don King was promoting the Mike Tyson fights, this is where the action was. And the town came alive with every major fight. It was good for the economy. Everybody did well.”
As detailed in the Jan. 5 Atlantic City Weekly, a state-mandated Master Plan that outlines Atlantic City’s proposed Tourism District was given a Feb. 1 deadline by Gov. Chris Christie, one year to the date he signed the legislation designed to make the resort town a safer and more attractive place to visit.
Aside from calling, writing, e-mailing, or using a new Web site the CRDA says is in development for users to share ideas, as well as offer new ideas and projects, there are public CRDA meetings (on the third Tuesday of every month; the next one is Nov. 15) that you can attend to vocalize your support for certain projects or offer new ideas.
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation today to create an Atlantic City Tourism District and announced a breakthrough in the Revel Casino project.
The ACA is developing a broad-based media campaign program with the intention of reaching as much as the Northeast as possible, from Boston down to Washington, D.C. It is expected to begin in mid-April.
One year to the date Gov. Chris Christie signed landmark legislation designed to revitalize Atlantic City and set the surrounding region on a new course for economic growth, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) adopted the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan in a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the A.C. Convention Center.
"There are those that don’t believe the Atlantic City fathers are capable of handling this business. And again, that speaks to a level of arrogance and it also speaks to an underlying air of racism — point blank, as I’ve pointed out."
Although the Tourism District Master Plan is due Feb. 1, it won't be presented to the public on that date. However, the CRDA will present the master plan to the public on Monday, March 26, at noon.
A look back at what happened in the Atlantic City area in 2011.
The perception is that it’s all about gaming [in Atlantic City]. And clearly it’s much more than that so that’s the opportunity, to make sure that doesn’t happen."
Further, as Atlantic City Weekly has learned earlier this week that two key associates at the CRDA who were spearheading an Arts District campaign for Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown neighborhood of the resort, are both no longer with the CRDA,
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