It’s not just the Jersey Shore whose economy depends on tourism. The industry is vital to the state of New Jersey as a whole — and last year it generated $42 billion in sales, according to a report by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Those billions of dollars were engendered by 98 million visitors. Not surprising, Jersey Shore counties, Cape May ($6.3 billion) and Ocean ($4.7 billion) scored the largest takings. But tourism grew in 2016 by 5.7 percent in Passaic County and by 5.5 percent in Mercer County. Overall, the lodging sector accounted for 27.4 percent of the tourism sales, food and beverage for 24.9 percent, and retail for 18.6 percent.
The forecast is for 108 million tourists to visit the Garden State in 2020, when the industry is projected to generate $49 billion.