As Atlantic City's tourist attractions ramped up for the summer season and a major storm threw a punch at the last Saturday in June, some visitor trends continued their upward climb.
Most notably, use of the official Atlantic City tourism information Web site continues to increase as a means of obtaining information about Atlantic City. More than 329,000 unique visitors checked out information about the city on the Atlantic City Convention & Visitor Authority's (ACCVA) Web site, www.doatlanticcity.com, during June 2012, a 26.6% increase from June 2011. Year-to-date 2012 over 2011, the site experienced a 35% overall increase and a 25% increase in unique visitors.
ACCVA officials note that 66% of the visitors to the site in June 2012 were new visitors, indicating interest from a potential new market. Web users opting to receive regular e-newsletters about Atlantic City marked a 317% increase year-to-date over the same period in 2011. "Likes" on Facebook also continued their stellar climb, from 2,748 new likes in June 2011 to more than 42,000 in June 2012, powered in large part by special promotions conducted by the ACCVA.
Use of the mobile visitor site, mobile.accva.org, also grew dramatically year-to-date - a huge 265% over the same period in 2011. For those wanting old-school hard copies, online requests for the Official Visitors Guide published by the ACCVA climbed 22% year-to-date in 2012 over 2011.
Year-to-date numbers for visitors stopping for information at the ACCVA's Visitor Welcome Centers on the Atlantic City Expressway and in Boardwalk Hall at Mississippi Avenue and the Boardwalk also remain high. The professional information counselors assisted more than 65,000 visitors so far this year, a 13.8% increase over the same period in 2011. They also assisted 15% more people by phone year-to-date in 2012.
Unaudited figures from the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) report more than 10.3 million cars used the Pleasantville toll plaza of the Atlantic City Expressway year-to-date, a 2.9% increase over 2011's figures. The Pleasantville plaza is the closest toll to Atlantic City. Additionally, SJTA reports that 14.9% more overnight bus passengers arrived year-to-date through June 2012 than through June 2011.
Also, scheduled air service deplanements at the Atlantic City International Airport are up 2.94% year-to-date. According to Jeff Vasser, president of the ACCVA, "These additional arrival and overnight figures point to a shift from day-trip visitors to overnight visitors - something everyone in the Atlantic City tourism industry has been working toward. As we continue to add more capacity at the hotels and increase our tourism offerings with things like the nightly 3-D light show, Duality, at Boardwalk Hall, visitors will have even more reasons to stay for multiple days."
Spectrum Gaming Group provides the following additional insight to factors impacting June's business climate: "There were many positive notes regarding June 2012 that may have boosted visitation to Atlantic City (i.e. favorable weather and calendar, along with lower gas prices and more city-wide events compared to prior year and previous months).
On a year-over-year calendar day basis, June 2012 was more favorable than June prior year, as there were two more "weekend" days this year (an additional Friday and Saturday) - essentially five weekend periods this year vs. four last year. In addition to a favorable calendar, the average retail price for a gallon of gas the region for June (at $3.50) was down 6.4 percent from a year ago and down 6.9 percent from a month earlier, May 2012.
According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature for June reported at Atlantic City was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (this was cooler than normal and June of prior year, at 71 degrees and 74 degrees, respectively). There were only six days in the month with extreme heat (with high temperature exceeding 90 degrees), which was same as June in prior year. However, June 2012 was the seventh wettest June in recorded history, as the region had over six inches of rainfall - more than double the normal amount, while nearly half of this rainfall occurred over three of the five weekend periods during the month (while two full weekends were dry).
Overall, there were 51 public events held at Atlantic City's casinos in June 2012, versus 43 comparable events in June 2011, an increase of 18.6 percent. June marked the second full month in which the Atlantic City Alliance's "Do AC" advertising campaign was in effect."
The figures quoted above and others are available in the monthly Tourism Barometer, available online at http://www.doatlanticcity.com/about/stats.aspx.
The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority serves as the destination's principal marketing arm, stimulating economic growth through convention, business and leisure tourism development. The Authority oversees the management of the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall. The Authority is the first destination marketing organization in New Jersey to achieve prestigious Destination Marketing Accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association International. For complete Atlantic City information, visit www.doatlanticcity.com. Also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AtlanticCityNJ.