Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
 
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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Impact of State Tourism Marks Meeting of Borough Merchants

Dilshanie Perera

The Borough Merchants for Princeton met Tuesday morning to hear a series of presentations on tourism and how improved marketing techniques can spur travel to the area and strengthen the local economy.

Phyllis Oppenheimer, from the New Jersey State Department’s Division of Travel and Tourism, began the event by noting that tourism is a 38-billion-dollar industry and the third largest in the state. One out of every nine employees in New Jersey has a job related to tourism, she added.

In order to highlight the particular amenities of the state, the division has organized its marketing efforts in terms of selecting particular destinations to promote the entire region. Princeton is once such destination. “Our goal is to sell distinctive destinations in New Jersey that put us on the map,” said Ms. Oppenheimer, who added, “If I say I’m from Princeton, [people] immediately get the visual of where I’m from.”

That degree of name recognition can assist in drawing more visitors to the area, which would be a boon to the Princetons, the region, and the state, noted Ms. Oppenheimer.

Vice President of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Adam Perle spoke about how the Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is geared toward “maximizing the economic contribution of travel and tourism” in the area.

Their primary marketing strategy is focused on the internet as a “portal for potential customers,” said Mr. Perle. Extensive data about where visitors are coming from, how they accessed the website, and even where the CVB website falls on Google search lists has been gathered.

Mr. Perle reported that in March of this year exactly 532 unique visitors accessed the webpage, with 1,591 visitors viewing it last month. The site can be found at www.visitprinceton.org.

The CVB is also working on increasing the visibility of Princeton as a site for tourism, conferences, and other events by a commuter marketing program with New Jersey Transit, advertisements and stories in publications, and a video for the area.

Martha Wolf, the executive director of Morven, said that attendance at the historic home “has more than doubled” as a result of its 1783 celebration, which commemorates the 225th anniversary of Congress meeting in Nassau Hall. The exhibit will be extended through June of 2009 to accommodate area schools attendance, she reported.

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