(The Center Square) – Home to Mountain Creek Waterpark, Tomahawk Lake Water Park, Storybook Land, Land of Make Believe, Wild West City, Casino Pier and many more attractions, New Jersey stacked up as the sixth highest-producing state for value added from amusement parks and water parks in 2019, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Garden State brought in $309 million of the estimated $14.1 billion that amusement parks and water parks across the nation added to the economy that year. Florida (at $5.9 billion), California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($749 million), Illinois ($391 million) and Ohio ($335 million) produced more value.
“We continue to receive reports from throughout our tourism industry of a great summer season,” New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way said in a July 2019 news release about the pre-pandemic tourism season. “While we were projecting strong business based on visitor interest and the momentum we’d been seeing heading into this year, the feedback we’ve been getting from industry partners is tremendous. It’s a testament to the fantastic product we offer here in New Jersey, which has something for every traveler.”
Mountain Creek Waterpark and Tomahawk Lake Water Park “did very well” the July 4, 2019, holiday weekend, according to the release.
New Jersey also welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors – 116 million – in 2019, which was 4.9% more than 2018, and visitor spending grew 3.8% in 2019, up to $46.4 billion, according to a report Tourism Economics completed on the state. These increases directly supported the creation of 9,000 new jobs in the state, according to a May 2020 news release from the New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ report, the state was also the seventh highest producing state for three additional categories of recreation value that year: festivals, sporting events and concerts activities ($587.5 million); the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sector ($944.6 million); and the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector ($1.7 billion). Overall, the state’s recreation activities provided $11.7 billion in value in 2019, which was 1.8% of the state’s total GDP, according to the report. Total outdoor recreation employment was 132,057 jobs, which was 2.3% of the state’s employment, and total compensation was $6.2 billion, or 1.8% of the state’s compensation.
State officials announced in May 2019 a goal of drawing 150 million visitors to the state by 2023.