New Jersey Tourism Seeking a “Moses Act” PR Company

The New Jersey Travel and Tourism Division announced last week a search for a PR for the state’s rejuvenation of seashore tourism in the wake of hurricane Sandy. According to their news the chosen agency will be in charge of media outreach, travel blogger relations, and third party outreach, among other essential efforts to get the Garden State back on track after Sandy’s devastation.

But the whole New Jersey rebuilding framework has some asking; “Are we moving too fast?” In the end it may take something akin to parting the Red Sea to save this Summer season.

Visit New Jersey this Summer

Tourism plays a vital role in New Jersey, and especially the state’s seashore where thousands flock t vacation in the Spring and Summer. Along with the devastation caused by Sandy, the state faces an age old problem for disaster stricken areas too, building scams associated with reconstruction are in the news these days too. Like Louisiana after Katrina, New Jersey is in a rush to get things back to normal, and in the haste there is often opportunity for less than scrupulous players to take advantage. Tales of homeowners writing checks to contractors who vaporize once they are cashed seem commonplace anytime misfortune strikes, and Sandy is no exception.

Another big hurdle for any rebrand of the NJ seashore is going to be the visual one. As the Wall Street Journal reports here, pictures of what Sandy did to the state are fairly well burned in the minds of potential vacationers. Added to this, not unlike New Orleans after Katrina, people just sort of erase some places from their collective “vacation fantasies” when monumental disaster hits. And creating new images takes time, especially since New Jersey beaches were never Waikiki in any event. The task for the new agency will be to draw this Summer’s sandlappers back from whence most have already planned for going elsewhere.

Anthony DellaPelle, of encapsulates the whole Sandy affair pretty well here, and I quote:

“In “Jaws,” Amity’s mayor fights to save the beach resort’s summer kickoff, and the local economy, while ignoring the threat of the great white shark…I can’t help but feel a similar scenario is playing out in New Jersey, as many government officials barrel ahead with short-sighted plans to rebuild the Shore in a rush to salvage the 2013 tourist season.”

In short, it’s going to take one heck of a small town PR agency or El Cheapo one to create enough buzz to rescue this New Jersey Endless Summer Vacation.

The first year budget for the PR aspect of the project is reportedly $300,000. Proposals are due by April 16th and all questions are due by March 7th. Here is the original RFP from the state.  For more information readers should visit either the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism site, or the Hurricane Sandy Information Center.



  1. says

    Your article has been brought to my attention by the tourism industry on the Jersey Shore. In particular the following quote.

    “But the whole New Jersey rebuilding framework has some asking; “Are we moving too fast?” In the end it may take something akin to parting the Red Sea to save this summer season.”

    My question on behalf of the 6700+ businesses on the shore, that are open for business after Super storm Sandy is exactly is saying “Are we moving too fast”?

    My experience has been a great deal of people want the story told. “What is the story?” the story that the pictures the have been posted by the media DO NOT REPRESENT the Jersey Shore. What is not shown is the impact one picture has in relationship to another. The roller-coaster If I could send you a picture of the boardwalk in Spring Lake you would be amazed in the 120 days post Sandy where there was NO boardwalk at all. A boardwalk now stands. If anything the question has been raised “why is it taking so long for a response?” And more importantly the area’s MOST (and I use this broadly) affected are areas in residential neighborhoods with the exception of maybe Seaside Heights. Most tourist attractions will be open this summer and the ones that can be open now have opened like Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and businesses along the Seaside Heights Boardwalk. I can assure you the beach will still be here, the Ocean hasn’t gone anywhere and the SUN will shine. That’s what I’m hearing.

    Bob Hilton
    Executive Director
    Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau

    • Phil Butler says

      Hi Bob,

      I really appreciate you taking your valuable time to comment here. As a several time visitor to New Jersey’s seaside, and someone with good friends there, I have no doubt of the resolve of the people. As for “who’s” asking, lots and lots of people with varying agendas, as anyone with a brain would guess. However, my “Moses” inference was not simply aimed at the negative imagery your organization and the PR firm in question will have to overcome. The gravity of the inference was meant for the far reaching future of those business people and residents there.

      I think this New York Times article reflects the sides of this story pretty well, I could link 100 more, but like you I am busy too. The time for Americans to just holler “Yee Haa” and to be damned with the consequences has pretty much passed on by Bob. I think that street over there past the Statue of Liberty with a “wall” in it made unbridled investment in hot air pretty painfully clear when the housing bubble burst on us all. Now if we can just settle down and show the good sandlapping East coasters exactly where to go to get a Jersey beach experience, a lot could be accomplished.

      The way your side of this tale is going, everybody should just pack up now and head on down to beat the lines in front of the suntan oil and sunglasses hut. Send me the pictures you mention and I’ll post them straight away, so help me Hannah.

      Lastly, in your urgency to get back to normal there, has anyone considered any option other than my aforementioned “yeehaa” plan? Another article I read just now gets down to another matter where boardwalks go. With the rainforests disappearing ever rapidly, Tim Keating, Director of Rainforest Relief (they care about stuff we like too) warns that coastal communities are under pressure but that the temptation to use rainforest wood to replace these boardwalks is really a killer for his initiatives.

      I hope you and the readers reading these comments see the wisdom of questioning here. I know rainforest tourism is nowhere near New Jersey, but somehow this minor point may lead to other, more decisive ones, where lassoing all those tourists this Summer goes. Sorry to sound smarty pants here Bob, but I like my sunshine too, and stuff like rainforests and smartness are disappearing, unlike the ocean (which is actually getting bigger with all the CO2 in the sky).


      • says

        If you wouldn’t mind sending me your email privately at the attached e-mail, I would be more than happy to share some great photo’s and update you every few weeks. The global picture is my personal concern and your points are well taken, respected and heard. Hopefully we can both tell the story and hopefully help people make some good choices this spring and summer. Thanks Phil.

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