New Jersey Tourism Relies on the Arts

"The high-quality cultural resources in New Jersey shape our cities and towns into distinctive destinations, attracting people from all over the world. Here in New Brunswick we rely heavily on the theaters, for example, to not only enhance our promotional packages but drive them, and with significant quantifiable success."

Michael Taylor, President, NJ Hotel & Lodging Association and General Manager of The Heldrich


Cultural Tourism Helps Drive the Economy

"With 78% of all domestic leisure travelers participating in cultural and heritage activities, their
expenditures confirm that this is a strong market, and they are contributing significantly to our communities
during these challenging economic times."

Helen Marano, Director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, U.S. Department of


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The Arts are Vital to Tourism

In New Jersey, arts organizations funded by the State Arts Council annually produce 10,000 events, attracting 18 million attendees who spend over $400 million in the local economy.

  • The nonprofit arts industry leverages significant amounts of event-related spending by their audiences including: hotels, restaurants, retail, parking garages, and more.
  • Cultural tourists tend to stay longer and spend more than 25% more per trip as compared to all U.S. travelers.
  • 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling, translating to 118.3 million adults each year.
    2009 US Culture and Heritage Travel Study

In 2003 the legislature and administration recognized that the arts are a powerful driving force behind the state's tourism and lodging industry statewide. Appropriately, the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee (PL2583.2003) law was passed establishing a stable, renewable source for State funding for the arts, history and tourism marketing. Cultural grants awarded by the State Arts Council are supported by this revenue so the New Jersey taxpayer does not pay for public support of the arts through property tax, sales tax or income tax.


Crowds gather for a Cape May Music Festival performance

Crowds gather for a Cape May Music Festival performance

Cape May is one of NJ's leading tourist destinations thanks to strategic economic development planning which capitalizes on the cultural assets that draw visitors from near and far, all year-round. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC), a State Arts Council grantee, has proven to be a leader in Cape May's cultural tourism work with an impressive calendar of programs that help extend the tourism season beyond the typical ten-weeks of many seashore resort towns. One of MAC's largest events, the Cape May Music Festival, draws thousands of visitors every spring, nearly half of whom spend the night and frequent local businesses resulting in more than $2.5 million in economic impact for the Cape May region.


Learn More About the Role of the Arts in Tourism

Cultural Tourism research resources gathered by Americans for the Arts, national nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America

Culture Heritage Tourism is a clearinghouse of information
provided by the Partners in Tourism, a coalition of national organizations and agencies with an interest in cultural heritage tourism, and managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

2009 Us Culture and Heritage Travel Study conducted by Mandala Research for the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism (USCHT) Marketing Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce

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