SENATE, No. 2759

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 9, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ROBERT W. SINGER

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes Office of Tourism Research; requires specific measures concerning tourism advertising, marketing, research, and tourism-related business training.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the Office of Tourism Research in the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State and concerning tourism advertising, marketing, research, and training, and amending and supplementing P.L.1977, c.225.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New sections)  There is established an Office of Tourism Research in the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State to coordinate and undertake ongoing research on the travel and tourism market. This research shall support and inform the tourism marketing activities routinely undertaken by the division and the tourism industry in this State. 

     a.    As a main component of research, the office shall, in cooperation with members of the tourism, hospitality, and travel industries, establish a database of potential travelers, including group travel organizations and tour operators. The database may also incorporate and draw upon any other appropriate data source, including census data, deemed useful by the division.  In order to maximize the effectiveness of the marketing activities routinely undertaken by the division and the tourism industry, the research shall identify potential travelers by type, including age, interests, multicultural factors, travel interests, and travel goals, and also identify core geographic targets for New Jersey's marketing activities. The database shall be designed to incorporate those attributes for a domestic population base within a minimum of a 500 mile radius of the borders of the State. The database shall be developed in a format that would facilitate its use in connection with a marketing plan to identify primary target audiences for:

     (1)   general statewide travel;

     (2)   regional travel, including travel to lesser known portions of the State;

     (3)   seasonal travel; and

     (4)   specialized travel interests in the various tourism sectors identified by the office pursuant to subsection c. of this section, including specialized short term weekend stays and family travel opportunities.

     b.    The office shall also develop an appropriate methodology to conduct an ongoing survey of the effectiveness of New Jersey's travel and tourism marketing and media activities, including the branding of the State as a tourism destination, and consumer satisfaction and awareness of New Jersey as a tourist destination. The research shall provide for the regular documentation of standard tourism indicators, including hotel occupancy rates, room rates, rental activity, seasonal fluctuation per travel sector or region, State park visitation rates, utilization of the top 15 tourism attractions in the State, and utilization of the State's visitor centers.  The division may contract with a consulting organization or organizations to establish the underlying research methodology and instrument, and to conduct, update, and interpret the research. The office and the division shall ensure that there is no duplication between the research conducted pursuant to this subsection and the survey required to be annually commissioned by the council to be conducted by the New Jersey Center for Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey pursuant to subsection h. of section 10 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-54). 

     c.    The office shall develop a comprehensive survey of the State’s tourism assets, and shall identify and organize tourist attractions in the State by tourism sector. Such sectors may include, but may not be limited to:

     (1)   heritage tourism, including colonial or Revolutionary War venues, historic towns and villages, sites related to the early Industrial Revolution in America, historic urban sites, and maritime and military history;

     (2)   amusements and entertainment, which shall include cultural events, festivals, exhibits, theme parks, museums, and gaming;

     (3)   attractions based on scenic beauty, including State parks;

     (4)   sports and outdoors tourism, including professional and semi-professional sports and family sporting opportunities such as water sports, fishing, skiing, and hiking;

     (5)   retail tourism, including business districts of unusual or specialized interest and venues featuring specialized retailing, including but not limited to, antiques and outlet shopping;

     (6)   agricultural, food, and beverage tourism, including agricultural museums, farm tours, hayrides, and sites of agricultural interest, which may also include, in connection with the Department of Agriculture, promotion of New Jersey agricultural products, including New Jersey grown or processed comestibles, the New Jersey nursery industry, including specialty nurseries, and New Jersey restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries; and

     (7)   the meetings and convention market.

 

     2.    (New section)  The Division of Travel and Tourism shall contract with outside marketing experts, after a competitive process for their selection, for the purpose of establishing a comprehensive marketing plan designed to market the State as a tourism destination.  The marketing plan shall be completed no later than six months following the effective date of this act, P.L.    , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  The plan shall include, but may not be limited to:

     a.    the designation of target geographic markets within the United States and abroad for the purpose of marketing New Jersey as a destination;

     b.    a plan for the branding of the State as a destination, or extending existing branding to target markets;

     c.    the development of an overall advertising strategy in accordance with the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.          ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), including national, regional and foreign advertising, a publications and communications strategy, and an Internet tourism information system;

     d.    the development of a program, in concert with both public and private partners, including regional and local Chambers of Commerce, for Statewide and regional cooperative marketing;

     e.    the development of a uniform tourism signage program for a broad range of tourism activities, which may be by tourism sector or otherwise, in order to create readily identifiable tourist sites, including by tourism sector type, which shall be designed, fabricated, and maintained in a consistent fashion.  The division may create a fund to receive contributions from persons, businesses or organizations to develop uniform signage for each tourism sector, including directional signage and signs identifying specific sites, and provide the signs to the Department of Transportation, county and municipal governments, and specific tourism sites or districts;

     f.     the integration of a database of potential travelers in the marketing plan, including group travel organizations and tour operators, which database shall be established and maintained by the Office of Tourism Research pursuant to section 1 of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), with members of the tourism, hospitality, and travel industries in the State;

     g.    the provision of information and assistance to tourism-related businesses in obtaining financing for the enhancement of tourist attractions;

     h.    the development of a program designed to provide for (1) the distribution of information about New Jersey as a destination through a promotional and educational program, including familiarization trips for domestic tour operators, tour wholesalers, travel agents, and consumer and travel trade media, and (2) cooperation with airlines, hotel chains and individual hotels in arranging and promoting travel packages targeted to general travelers and travelers with interests in specific tourism sectors as identified by the Office of Tourism Research pursuant to section 1 of P.L.    , c.    (C.         ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill);

     i.     the identification of primary international markets for the promotion of the State as a tourist destination, including the distribution of information and educational programs directed toward increasing the awareness of New Jersey within the international travel trade, including travel agents, tour operators and tour wholesalers. The plan shall include a program to encourage the promotion of New Jersey in travel packages offered by international airlines serving the New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey markets, through promotional and sales materials tailored to target international markets, and through trade missions and trade shows; and

     j.     an analysis of how, as part of the marketing plan, the division may use the services of New Jersey trade offices overseas, other agents in the business of promoting the export of New Jersey products and services, or Visit USA Committee or similar committees or centers established under the aegis of the federal government, to promote this State as a tourist destination.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  The division shall, either directly or through consultants with expertise in the field, provide training and assistance to persons or business entities in the tourism, hospitality, and travel industries to facilitate the growth and expansion of tourist facilities and attractions. Training shall include, but may not be limited to:

     (1)   resource management and development;

     (2)   product development;

     (3)   tourism business development;

     (4)   identifying and positioning new tourism product lines through targeted marketing; and

     (5)   assistance in obtaining financing from private and public sources to fund improvements for tourist attractions through such sources as may be available, including, but not limited to, grants to fund direct improvements to natural resources and historic sites through programs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

     b.    The division shall also establish educational and informational programs directed toward individuals or business entities that are interested in starting and operating a tourism business; investing in the State's tourism industry; or wishing to expand an existing tourism operation.

 

     4.    (New section)  The division shall create a set of free mobile applications for download to smart phones and other mobile communications devices for use by tourists, travelers, and members of the public to facilitate tourism activities in this State. The mobile applications shall be developed for various tourism, hospitality, and travel categories, which shall include, but may not be limited to, navigation, attractions, dining, and entertainment. In developing the mobile applications, the division shall evaluate similar tourism-oriented mobile applications developed for use in other jurisdictions. The division may contract with private mobile application developers after a competitive process to develop the applications required under this section.


     5.    Section 8 of P.L.1977, c. 225 (C.34:1A-52) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    The director, upon consultation with the council, shall develop a 10-year master plan for the growth of tourism for presentation to the Governor and the Legislature no later than February 1, 1979.

     The plan shall include, but not be limited to, consideration of the following:

     a.    New Jersey's need for additional job opportunities and for tax revenues;

     b.    The optimum distribution of the tourist industry throughout the State and the effect of such industry on the environment;

     c.    The upgrading and improvement of the facilities and services available to tourists in New Jersey;

     d.    The development of tourist destination areas attractive in appearance, manageable in terms of densities, and with wholesome recreational opportunities;

     e.    The protection and preservation of shoreline areas;

     f.     The providing of access to shoreline areas for tourists and the assurance of the rights of residents to the use of public beaches and public beach access areas, surfing and fishing sites, hiking trails, and other recreational sites and scenic areas;

     g.    The reconstruction, maintenance, and preservation of sites which have been important in New Jersey history and American history;

     h.    The promotion of various cultural and ethnic holidays, observances, and  festivities and of understanding by visitors and residents of the social and  cultural contributions of all ethnic groups and people residing in New Jersey;   [and]

     i.     The desirability and the feasibility of creating a Department of Tourism; and

     j.     The resources needed to foster and encourage a robust tourism sector through the training and assistance of tourism industry businesses.

(cf: P.L.1977, c. 225, s.8)

 

     6.    Section 9 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-53) is amended to read as follows:

     9.    In the pursuance and promotion of a State policy on tourism, the division, at the direction of the Secretary of State, shall:

     a.    Provide and promote adequate opportunities for county and municipal participation, federal agency participation, and private citizens' involvement in the decision-making process of tourism planning and policy formulation;

     b.    Encourage all State, county, and municipal governmental and private agencies to do their utmost to assure the personal safety of residents and tourists both within and without tourist destination areas;

     c.    Take whatever administrative, litigable, and legislative steps as are necessary to minimize the problems of tourists in not receiving contracted services, including transportation, tours, hotels;

     d.    Attempt to reconcile and balance the activities and accommodations of the tourist with the daily pursuits and lifestyles of the residents;

     e.    Develop an understanding among all citizens of the role of tourism in New Jersey, both in terms of its economic and social importance and the problems it presents, through appropriate formal and informal learning experiences;

     f.     Cooperate with the Department of Education to promote throughout the educational system of New Jersey an awareness of New Jersey history and culture;

     g.    Ensure that the growth of the tourist industry is consistent with the attainment of economic, social, physical, and environmental objectives in any State plan and county plans that are adopted;

     h.    Continuously monitor and evaluate the social costs of growth of the tourist industry against the social benefits;

     i.     Emphasize in the State's tourism promotional efforts the high quality of the State's natural and cultural features;

     j.     Promote the tourist industry through such activities as Visitors Bureaus and similar county and municipal agencies, and assure that the tourist industry contributes its fair share of the cost of such promotion;

     k.    Request and receive from any department, division, board, bureau, commission, or other agency of the State, or any political subdivision or public authority thereof, such assistance and data as may be necessary to enable the division to carry out its responsibilities under this act;

     l.     In consultation with the council, review annually and, if necessary, revise or update the 10-year master plan developed pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-52), and submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature containing an evaluation of the preceding year's activities and developments in tourism and the revisions recommended in the master plan;

     m.   At the direction of the council, operate the division's Travel and Tourism Cooperative Marketing Campaign Program; [and]

     n.    Establish and operate the division's Travel and Tourism Advertising and Promotion Program; and

     o.    Develop and deliver training programs for current or potential tourism businesses to foster a robust tourism sector in this State.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.253, s.6)

 

     7.    Section 10 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-54) is amended to read as follows:

     10.  The council shall:

     a.    Aid the division in the formulation and updating of the 10-year master plan developed pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-52) and the annual review thereof;

     b.    Consider all matters referred to it by the Secretary of State;

     c.    Make recommendations to the division on any matter relating to tourism and the tourist industry in New Jersey and to those objectives and responsibilities specified in sections 8 and 9 of P.L.1977, c.225 (C.34:1A-52 and C.34:1A-53);

     d.    Direct the division to review the spending of funds by the regional tourism councils and provide comments and recommendations to such councils on the spending of funds when appropriate;

     e.    Direct the division to encourage the development of local marketing organizations, including but not limited to destination marketing organizations and convention and visitor bureaus;

     f.     Direct the division to ensure that a recipient of funding by the Department of State for tourism promotion is in compliance with all terms of the funding agreement, and that the recipient's promotional message is consistent with the promotional message for the State established by the Secretary of State;

     g.    Direct the division on the operation of the division's Travel and Tourism Cooperative Marketing Campaign Program;

     h.    Commission the New Jersey Center for Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey to conduct an annual survey and analysis of New Jersey's tourism industry for the purpose of providing data to improve the effectiveness of tourism promotion.  The council shall direct the division to make the survey and analysis results available to tourism groups throughout the State.  In a year during which the New Jersey Center for Hospitality and Tourism is unable or unavailable to conduct the survey and analysis, the council shall choose another entity to conduct the survey and analysis for that year.  The survey and analysis required to be commissioned pursuant to this subsection shall be in coordination with the Office of Tourism Research in order to avoid duplication; and

     i.     Perform other duties as assigned by the Secretary of State.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.253, s.8)

 

     8.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the Office of Tourism Research in the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State, and requires the office and the division to take specific measures concerning tourism advertising, marketing, research, and training for tourism-related businesses.

     Under the bill, the Office of Tourism research would coordinate and undertake ongoing research on the travel and tourism market within the State, which research would support and inform the tourism marketing activities routinely undertaken by the division and the tourism industry. The office would conduct research to create a database of potential travelers, which would be incorporated into current marketing strategies. The potential travelers would be targeted as primary audiences for general, regional, seasonal, and specialized travel within the State. The office would also develop an appropriate methodology to routinely conduct an ongoing survey of the effectiveness of the State’s travel and tourism marketing activities. In addition, the office would develop a comprehensive survey of the State’s tourism assets and identify and organize tourism attractions into at least seven sectors. These sectors would include, but would not be limited to, heritage; amusements and entertainment; scenic attractions; sports and outdoors; retail; agricultural, food, and beverage; and meetings and convention tourism.

     The bill also directs the Division of Travel and Tourism to contract with outside marketing experts after a competitive process to establish a comprehensive marketing plan designed to market the State as a tourism destination within the United States and abroad. The marketing plan would include the designation of target geographic markets; the State’s branding as a tourist destination; an overall advertising strategy; Statewide and regional cooperative marketing; uniform tourism signage; the integration of a database of potential travelers developed by the office into the marketing plan; information and assistance for tourism-related businesses in obtaining financing for enhancing tourist attractions; the distribution of information to the travel industry and others about New Jersey as a destination; the identification of primary international markets; and an analysis of how the division may use the services of New Jersey trade offices overseas to promote the State as a destination.

     The division is also directed under the bill to provide training and assistance to persons or business entities in the tourism, hospitality, and travel industries, either directly or through consultants who are experts in the field. The training would aim to facilitate the growth and expansion of tourist facilities and attractions. Training would include, but may not be limited to, resource management and development; product development; tourism business development; identifying and positioning new tourism product lines through targeted marketing; and assistance in obtaining financing from private and public sources to fund improvements for tourist attractions. For potential tourism businesses, the division would establish educational and informational programs directed toward individuals or business entities that are interested in starting and operating a tourism business; investing in the State's tourism industry; or wishing to expand an existing tourism operation.

     Finally, the bill directs the division to create a set of free mobile applications for download to smart phones and other mobile communications devices for use by tourists, travelers, and members of the public to facilitate tourism activities in this State. The mobile applications would be developed for various tourism, hospitality, and travel categories. These categories would include, but would not be limited to, navigation, attractions, dining, and entertainment. In developing the mobile applications, the bill requires the division evaluate similar tourism-oriented mobile applications developed for use in other jurisdictions. The division is permitted to contract with private mobile application developers after a competitive process to develop the applications. 

     The bill amends current law to require the division to consider the resources needed to foster and encourage a robust tourism sector through the training and assistance of tourism industry businesses. The bill also amends current law to require the division to undertake such tourism business training, and to avoid duplication in the research activities undertaken by the Office of Tourism Research established under the bill and the existing New Jersey Tourism Policy Council.