Heritage Tourism Contributes Billions to New Jersey’s Economy

  • Posted on: 12/01/2022

Study Commissioned by New Jersey Historic Trust Finds that More Than $3.6 Billion in Visitor Spending at NJ Historic Attractions Supports Nearly 50,000 Jobs

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Historic Trust (the Trust), an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), today announced the release of a new study “Heritage Tourism in New Jersey” commissioned by the Trust and completed by Tourism Economics, which conducts research for the State’s Office of Travel and Tourism. The study measured spending by visitors to heritage sites in New Jersey, the on-site spending at heritage sites and off-site spending at other businesses in the local community, as well as total economic impacts, including total GDP (gross domestic product), employment, labor income, and fiscal (tax) impacts. It found that heritage tourism generated nearly 10 million visits in 2019, resulting in $3.6 billion in visitor spending, which helped support nearly 50,000 jobs. The study can be found at Heritage Tourism Resources (nj.gov).

“This study supports the economic importance of heritage tourism in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “This data will assist the Trust in informing decisions regarding funding and prioritization of the sector’s development and carefully monitoring its successes and future needs.”

New Jersey has a wealth of historic and cultural resources including museums, archaeological sites, agricultural and industrial buildings, theaters, and residential neighborhoods that attract 9.9 million visitors, including 4.4 million out-of-town visitors and 5.4 million local residents, the study concluded. The highest concentration of heritage sites are in Bergen, Essex, and Morris counties, and the greatest number of visitors were to sites in Essex, Bergen, Cape May, and Morris counties.

“This study was intentionally designed to measure 2019 before Covid because, as we know, many historic establishments were closed due to the pandemic,” said Dorothy Guzzo, director of the Trust. “The report illustrates the tremendous positive impact that heritage tourism has on the state’s economy and demonstrates why we need to continue to invest and strengthen New Jersey’s historic sites.”  

The full economic importance of heritage tourism was first quantified in Tourism Economics’ 2013 economic impact analysis. Tourism Economics conducted an updated analysis of New Jersey’s heritage tourism economy, which included detailed economic and fiscal impacts for 2019 in order to capture the impacts of heritage tourism on the state economy prior to the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism industry.

Similar to its 2013 study, Tourism Economics prepared a comprehensive model to quantify the impacts arising from spending by visitors to heritage sites in New Jersey. The results of the updated study show the industry’s total GDP impact of $3.0 billion in 2019 represented more than 7% of the GDP impact of the entire New Jersey tourism industry and resulted in $357.5 million in state and local tax revenues.

Links to these studies can be downloaded from www.njht.org/

Established in 1967, the New Jersey Historic Trust is the only nonprofit historic preservation organization in New Jersey created by state law. Its mission is to advance historic preservation in New Jersey for the benefit of future generations through education, stewardship and financial investment programs that save our heritage and strengthen our communities.

For more information on the New Jersey Historic Trust and its funding programs, visit: http://www.njht.org.

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, disaster recovery and mitigation, and information privacy.

For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: 

   DCa on Twitter



Tammori Petty,
Lisa Ryan
ph#: 609-292-6055