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.
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 NJ.com 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.