Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Commissioners has authorized the approval of 18 matching grants to help promote tourism events and activities in the County.
"With the approach of warm weather, we are anticipating a strong summer tourism season," said Ocean County Commissioner Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to Ocean County Tourism and Business Development. "I look forward to working with our municipalities, our non-profits and all those businesses that make up the fabric of our tourism industry.
"These grants help promote tourism events that can be enjoyed by our visitors and our residents," Vicari said.
The grants awarded by the Board of Commissioners total just under $100,000. The awardees must provide a 100 percent match.
"We paused this program in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of how it would affect the summer season," Vicari said. "I am pleased we were able to restart the grant program for the 2021 season."
Under the 2021 Ocean County Tourism Promotional Matching Grant program, 18 grants ranging from $900 to $10,000 were awarded to municipalities and non-profits to help them promote events.
"Investing in the tourism industry is a sound investment in Ocean County's economy," Vicari said. "Every tourism dollar spent in Ocean County circulates seven times. Tourism is a $5 billion industry in Ocean County and annually results in more than 40,000 jobs.
"This board's continued support of the tourism industry shows our commitment to stimulating the local economy in order to help businesses and also those residents seeking jobs," Vicari said. "Once they are here, tourists and our residents patronize local restaurants and businesses, helping our economy while enjoying the programs and events that are offered."
Vicari said that according to the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, tourism related taxes save each New Jersey household $1,545 in property taxes annually.
"This is a key industry in Ocean County and it plays an important role in all of our communities," Vicari said. "We have gone through some difficult times and we need visitors to help our businesses prosper again."
The 2021 tourism grants support tourism marketing that does not rely upon the ability to hold large events and festivals.
"COVID 19 has forced us to redesign and recreate some events including holding them online," Vicari said. "The 2021 grant program took all of this into consideration when reviewing the applications we received.
"Ultimately we want to encourage people to come here and sponsored events like farmers markets, fairs, cultural events and fishing tournaments, all complement our beaches, boardwalks and natural attractions," he said.
The municipalities and non-profits awarded the grants are: Alliance for a Living Ocean; Barnegat Bay Decoy/Tuckerton Seaport; Barnegat Township; Beach Haven Charter Fishing; Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club; Brick Township; Lacey Township; Lakewood Lions Club; Lighthouse International Film Festival; Long Beach Island Historical Association; Navy Lakehurst Historical Society; Ocean Professional Theatre/Surflight; ReClam the Bay; Rotary Club of Toms River; Seaside Heights Business Improvement District, Seaside Heights Tourist Development Commission; Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and Toms River Business Development Corp.
"I want to congratulate all of our grant recipients and extend the appreciation of the Board of Commissioners for their ongoing efforts to promote tourism in Ocean County which helps our economy and especially our small businesses," said Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. "Our mom and pop businesses are the heart and soul of our local economies.
"When we promote tourism events we are working in partnership with our towns, our non-profits and our small businesses to keep our economy thriving even during difficult times," Quinn said.