def # 34 02/29/12
OCEAN COUNTYíS ECONOMIC STIMULUS HELPS TOURISM
TOMS RIVER - If you promote it, they will come.
Since 1989, Ocean County has been providing a helping hand to nonprofit organizations and government agencies to help
promote tourism activism through the Tourism Matching Grant program.
"Today I am happy to announce we will again be providing funds for this grant program," said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari,
who serves as liaison to tourism. "We will be distributing 51 grants totaling $59,935. This is an investment in an industry
that brings in more than $3 billion annually into Ocean County."
The mission of the grant program, simply put, is to help economic development - to support the tourism industry by
encouraging non profit groups and government and quasi-government agencies such as business improvement districts to promote
tourism and to benefit financially from the tourism dollars that flow into the county to support their worthy causes.
"Frequently these funds promote events and the creation of guide books, calendars of activities, ads in newspapers, which
not only enhances the quality of Ocean County's tourism product, but also provides quality events for our residents to enjoy
as well," said Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little. "Under the direction of Freeholder Vicari, this program serves one of
our largest economic engines by helping towns and agencies get the word out on upcoming events.
"Ocean County is a great place to vacation," Little said. "It has so many attributes and activities. This program letís both
citizens and visitors know how great a place it is to visit and how much there is to enjoy."
Vicari said that this year bonus points were awarded to participants for those activities which promoted the shoulder
seasons and mid-week in season and for using social networking.
"Geographically, awards were made around the County from Plumsted Township to Seaside Park and Point Pleasant Beach to Beach
Haven," Vicari said.
Jim DeAngelis, director of Community Relations for the Blue Claws and vice chair of the Ocean County Tourism Advisory
Council, noted the importance of this program during his presentation to the Board of Freeholders.
"On behalf of the Tourism Council I want to thank Freeholder Vicari and the Board for continuing to fund this important
program," DeAngelis said. "During these difficult economic times, it is even more important to help promote the great events
and activities held in Ocean County. Bringing visitors here is a big step to making certain the tourism season is a
successful one and that activities throughout the year are well attended."
While most grant awards promote special events, they also are made for seasonal advertising programs, visitors' guidebooks,
Internet marketing campaigns, and brochures highlighting year long activities.
"This program takes into consideration many facets of promoting tourism in Ocean County," Vicari said. "It has been very
The funds must be used for promotion and cannot be used for hard costs, such as those associated with holding events such
as fireworks, salaries and rentals.
"Many programs reallocate funds received from a third party frequently state or federal government," Vicari said. "This
grant program is funded entirely through the Board of Chosen Freeholders in our annual budget. It supports the tourism
industry which helps to stabilize the county tax rate and it brings the people in that patronize the many small businesses
that make up and rely on the tourism trade here in Ocean County."