As businesses prep, economists say it will be a busy summer for the Jersey Shore

Economists think 2022 will be another busy year for the Jersey Shore, but add that last year will be hard to top.
OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- With Memorial Day weekend less than three weeks away, businesses at the Jersey Shore are getting ready for the summer season.

Stockton University held its annual Shorecast on Wednesday, making predictions about the upcoming tourism season.

Economists think 2022 will be another busy year for the Jersey Shore, but add that last year will be hard to top.

"I think that there was so much pent-up savings and pent-up demand. Lots of fiscal stimulus that was juicing household balance sheets," said Oliver Cooke, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics for Stockton University.

Numbers show that 2021 was a big year.

In terms of visitors, Atlantic and Cape May counties were up 25% and 27% respectively compared to 2020, according to Tourism Economics.

All those visitors spent more money, too.

Atlantic County saw a 44% increase in visitor spending last year and Cape May County saw a 23% increase in dollars spent.

This year, inflation will play a role in how much people travel and the bottom line for businesses.

At Hooked on Breakfast in Ocean City, they're feeling it.

"It's crazy," said owner Kevin Stauffer. "Everything from an egg to a piece of bread is going up. Everything from gas prices for trucking and shipping - everything."

While they've had to raise prices, they're still planning on a busy summer and seeing familiar faces.

"With gas prices being so high and cost of travel just being out of control I think people will be doing the shore day trips and week trips down to the shore," said Stauffer.

It's affecting businesses up and down the Jersey shore, including Steel Pier in Atlantic City.

"Unfortunately we have to put that onto the customer and you don't want to, but there's no other way," said Sharon Franz of Steel Pier. "Our stuffed animals in our stands have gone up quite a bit because they come on the containers overseas."

Local tourism leaders also say the workforce will be another factor in how this summer will go.

While more international J-1 visa workers will be able to come this summer, many businesses are still offering bonuses and incentives as they look for more seasonal workers.

Tourism experts say some trends from the pandemic have stuck around, including outdoor experiences.

They say more people are camping, and activities like helicopter rides and fishing.
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