By Thomas A. Arnone
It is now February and the question on Monmouth County residents’ minds is what is the Board of Chosen Freeholders doing to help restore the shore since undergoing the wrath of Super Storm Sandy.
Let me begin by saying that the board’s primary goal at this time is to get the word out to as many people as humanly possible that the Jersey Shore is thriving and up and running.
How is this being accomplished? To mention just a few things, for starters our department of tourism is pulling out all the stops in one enormous effort to ensure that we can expect to see, not only the usual visitors that frequent the shore communities in Monmouth County, but engage and encourage new visitors to see what Monmouth County has to offer.
For instance last month a tourism representative attended the Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show in Valley Forge, Pa. There were more than 200 vendors present at the show. Attendance at the show, which was held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27, was estimated to be well over 2,000 people. The Monmouth County presence was aimed at letting people know we are still the place you want to be.
This past week our department of tourism was present for the Atlantic City Boat Show at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Attendance at this five-day show was estimated to be more than 3,000 people. A concerted effort was made by our stellar tourism team to make sure that everyone present was made fully aware that the Jersey Shore is flourishing and “Open for Business.”
Coming up quickly, beginning Feb. 20 and continuing through Feb. 25. Monmouth County tourism will be attending the Montreal Fishing and Camping Show/Canadian National Sportsmen’s Show in Montreal. Thousands of Canadians visit New Jersey each year. The focus will be to encourage our Canadian friends to continue to make Monmouth County their choice as a vacation destination.
On Feb. 20, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno was expected to hold a press conference for the Canadian media where she was to highlight the Jersey Shore. Representatives from Monmouth County, Cape May County and the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau were invited to set up displays about their respective counties for the press to visit.
Additionally, a mayors roundtable has been scheduled for March 2. It will take place at the Monmouth County Connection in Neptune at 9 a.m. Here I will have an opportunity as the liaison to the department of tourism to inform the local shore mayors of what the county is doing to advocate for tourism in Monmouth County. It also will give the mayors the opportunity to share their ideas about how to promote their communities as we all work together to restore the shore.
Last but certainly not least, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has recently added Andrew Sagerman to the department of public information and tourism. Andrew’s employment is made possible 100 percent by a workforce grant at no cost to the county and is geared toward Super Storm Sandy recovery. Andrew will focus on an expanded tourism social media campaign to encourage visitors and residents to frequent the businesses and attractions that are open post-Sandy.
The department of tourism also will be highlighting events taking place in various municipalities and at local attractions. We welcome Andrew on board and are confident he will prove to be a great asset in our quest to get the buzz out that Monmouth County is full of life, activity and excitement and will always be and forever remain the place you want to be.
Thomas A. Arnone is director of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.