Somerset County Tourism Wins 2017 President's Award at Annual New Jersey Tourism Excellence Awards for its Employer Toolkit

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Tourism Promotion Tools, Developed in Collaboration with Somerset County Economic Development and Workforce Partners, Address Needs of Visitors as well as Employers Seeking to Attract and Retain Talent

Somerset County Tourism NJTIA President's Award

Somerset County Tourism Director, Jacqueline Morales (2nd from left) holds the President’s Award she received from the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association.

By simplifying the process of delivering relevant information to residents, employers and visitors alike, we can more easily connect our audiences with their desired experience here in Somerset County.

Somerset County Tourism has received the 2017 President’s Award of Excellence from the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association (NJTIA), in recognition of the Somerset County Employer Toolkit, which was developed in collaboration with the Somerset County Office of Economic Development and Workforce teams. The award was presented at NJTIA’s Tourism Excellence Awards, part of New Jersey Tourism Advocacy Day on May 10 in Trenton; it was accepted by Somerset County Tourism Director Jacqueline Morales on behalf of all County partners involved in the toolkit’s development. The awards were judged by a panel of tourism directors from neighboring states.

The Somerset County Employer Toolkit comprises various tourism promotion tools that address the needs of visitors and of employers seeking to relocate, retain or attract talent. The tools align with the county’s marketing themes of “play, stay, live, work and learn,” and include a destination guide, a tourism website with Live+Work+Learn content, a map showcasing points of interest and a promotional video that highlights aspects of life in Somerset County.

The toolkit is the result of an 18-month collaboration between Somerset County Tourism, a division of the Somerset County Business Partnership; Somerset County Economic Development, which is supported by the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders; and human resources professionals from several of the county’s major employers to determine specific categorical information that leadership and employees use to make business relocation and employment decisions.

The kit is customizable to the needs of individual employers and delivered by the Somerset County Resource Team, which includes partners from the Somerset County Business Partnership, Raritan Valley Community College, the Greater Raritan Workforce Investment Board, the Somerset County Park Commission, Ridewise of Raritan Valley, Somerset County Economic Development and Somerset County Tourism.

“Implementation of the Employer Toolkit is yielding strong results for our lodging partners, with an increase in overnight stays associated with the business travel needs of companies attracted to or retained in Somerset County,” said Morales. “Hotels that neighbor these corporate sites have reported an average uptick of four percent for weekday stays since its introduction.”

Tourism Advocacy Day also featured remarks by NJ Secretary of State Tahesha Way, Esq., who talked about the importance of travel and tourism to the state and local economies; the tourism industry is the seventh largest employment sector in New Jersey. The 2018 statewide tourism economic impact report was presented; statistics directly related to Somerset County include the following:

  • Visitors to Somerset County spent $1.2 billion in 2017; just over half of that was on lodging (20 percent) and food & beverage (31 percent) and the other half was spent on retail (21 percent), recreation (17 percent) and transportation (11 percent).
  • This spending supported $1.7 billion in business sales and 14,348 jobs county-wide.
  • Tourism sustains 6.1 percent of all private sector jobs and 3.3 percent of all private sector income in Somerset County.
  • The equivalent of $1,211 in state and local taxes were contributed for every household in Somerset County.
  • Visitor spending has risen thirteen percent over the past five years.

“By simplifying the process of delivering relevant information to residents, employers and visitors alike, we can more easily connect our audiences with their desired experience here in Somerset County. This toolkit is a major step in leveraging tourism resources to support the County's broader economic development goals," said Morales.

Somerset County Tourism, a 501(c)3 organization, is the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Somerset County, N.J. and a division of the Somerset County Business Partnership. For more information, call Jacqueline Morales at 908-218-4300 or visit http://www.visitsomersetnj.org.

About Somerset County Tourism
Somerset County Tourism, a 501(c)3 organization, is the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Somerset County, N.J. a and a Division of the Somerset County Business Partnership. Its mission is to advance the local economy by sustainably promoting the area’s outstanding travel products and experiences, and to offer a variety of useful services to residents, business travelers and leisure visitors. Somerset County Tourism is an active member of New Jersey Destination Marketing Organizations and the New Jersey Tourism industry Association. For more information visit http://www.visitsomersetnj.org or call 908-218-4300, ext. 28.

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Caryn Starr-Gates

Jacqueline Morales
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