By MADDY VITALE
After coming off one of their most successful summers ever, Ocean City business leaders will look to sustain the momentum by holding an economic summit headlined by the state’s tourism director.
The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce will host its annual business summit at the Flanders Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8 a.m. to discuss the summer of 2019, strategize for the future and listen to the advice of a top leader in tourism, Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism.
Michele Gillian, executive director of the Chamber, said of the importance of the summit, “Tourism is the No. 1 industry in Ocean City. When we have a blockbuster summer like we just had, it certainly helps small family businesses to reinvest and help improve the Ocean City experience. It also helps stabilize our year-round community.”
Vasser will be discussing trends in tourism, visitor spending, the economy, and key local, regional and state issues to watch.
“It will be beneficial to all our Chamber members to attend and hear from the director of our state Division of Travel and Tourism,” Gillian said. “We want to keep the momentum going from our great summer season and Jeff will be presenting valuable tools for our businesses to work with.”
Ocean City’s Tourism Commission has a comprehensive marketing campaign with a budget of more than $620,000. Each year the commission invests in social media, billboards, TV, internet, postcards and other ways to attract visitors.
Marketing is “an integral part of how we get people to come across the bridge and vacation in Ocean City,” Gillian said.
She pointed out that Vasser is a key person to provide the best, most current and critical information on the state’s tourism.
“He is a vital part to N.J.’s tourism, as well as Cape May County, and especially Ocean City. With his wisdom and experience in a seashore community, he understands the tourism cycle of seasonal businesses,” Gillian explained.
She continued, “Having Jeff represent tourism for the state of New Jersey gives us a seat at the table in marketing Ocean City. He has the ear of the governor, relaying important issues related to tourism from a small business perspective.”
Vasser has served in several leadership roles. He served as president of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority for 11 years, overseeing the daily operations of the public authority responsible for two major convention and event facilities and marketing the destination that anchors the region’s $8 billion tourism industry.
The breakfast meeting is $20 at the Flanders Hotel, located at 719 E. 11th Street in Ocean City. Reservations must be made in advance by calling 609-399-1412 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sturdy Savings Bank is sponsoring the event.