Jersey Shore Towns Banking on Successful Season
The summer is just getting into full swing, with kids starting their break from school, but towns along the Jersey shore are already seeing signs of a better-than-usual summer season.
Following the wrath of Superstorm Sandy in late 2012, business activity and the overall vibe took a massive dip in Seaside Heights. This year, however, business is on an upward swing that even marketing manager Maria Mastoris didn't expect.
"I think we just weren't used to it because the past two years, even last year, there weren't people here, especially in the beginning of the season," said Mastoris of Casino Pier and Breakwater Beach. "It definitely seems to be better this year. Knock on wood because it's still early; we don't want to jinx it."
And with school out of session, Mastoris said, an active boardwalk and pier can be expected seven days per week.
"That's when people start taking their vacation homes in Seaside, and also people over the bridge are coming for day trips because school's out," she said.
Business was booming right out of the gate for the Wildwoods, starting with an excellent Memorial Day Weekend, according to John Siciliano of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority.
"I believe firmly in my heart that after the winter we all went through, that people just had cabin fever and wanted to get away," Siciliano said.
Using the latest tourism tax numbers from April, Siciliano said business in the region was up 12 percent from the same period last year.
Since April, special events and convention weekends have attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the beachfront.
"All the signs right now are that it's going to be a really good summer," Sicilano said.
The difference between good and great, though, rests in the hands of Mother Nature.