Atlantic City in Throes on Massive Makeover
By Ilona Kauremszky
All Images: Ilona Kauremszky
Left to right front row: Manny Witt, Canadian marketing representative for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority; Lisa Witt, representative for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority; Sharon Franz, director of sales and marketing with Steel Pier in Atlantic City; Heather Colache, sales manager with the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority. Back row: Carla Caulk, director of sales and marketing with Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel; John Happersett, director of marketing operations with Tropicana Atlantic City; Dave Szukics with Resorts Casino; and Brian Davis, sales representative with Great Escape Tours.
Atlantic City’s got more than gaming... Sure the city boasts America’s second largest gaming operation with profits hovering around $3 billion, but tourism insiders were in Toronto this week to roll the dice with media guests on the reasons why this Atlantic Coast destination is attractive to clients who want more than casinos.
“Last summer we did over $1 billion in non-gaming,” said Sharon Franz, director of sales and marketing with Steel Pier in Atlantic City, in a one-on-one interview on the “boundless possibilities” the non-gaming side possesses.
“We are no longer a gaming destination. We are a destination that has gaming,” she told CT.
Heather Colache, sales manager with the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.
Heather Colache, sales manager with the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority included some budget-friendly reasons. “There is the beach. Atlantic City is the only destination in New Jersey with free beaches that are protected (with lifeguards),” she told CT, adding that there is also a thriving culinary scene. “We also have the oldest working pipe organ in the world.” Free tours and concerts are scheduled each Monday to Thursday.
Atlantic City, famous for beaches, boardwalks and casinos is in the throes of a massive tourism makeover. The Atlantic City CVB reports that over $10 billion in projects have been on the books over the past 15 years with another $1 billion targeted over the next 18 months.
Some of the exciting developments include a pool on the beach. “Imagine year round swimming on the beach,” said Heather. Fashionista clients will love retail therapy rich Tanger Outlets The Walk, a mall with over 100 brand names reachable from the boardwalk and beach, where the can indulge in tax-free shopping on shoes and clothing. Then there are the ongoing improvements in the boardwalk, which includes new lighting, wi-fi, cameras and tourism ambassadors.
Meanwhile clients will get a double thrill at the world famous Steel Pier, which is in the midst of a revival. Come next spring, clients can soar high (try 200 feet) on the tallest Ferris wheel in New Jersey for spectacular views inside massive climate-controlled gondolas. The $14 million attraction, which lies in the hub of Atlantic City’s famous boardwalk, is expected to draw 50,000 riders annually.
Sharon Franz, director of sales and marketing with Steel Pier in Atlantic City.
The other upcoming Steel Pier draw slated for next year will be a new zip line, which will have clients zipping from the Landshark Bar and Grill by the Resorts Casino to the boardwalk over the ocean.
Atlantic City is a popular drive destination from Ontario. Air Canada has summer seasonal direct service between Toronto and Atlantic City, four times weekly until September 7.
For more travel information on Atlantic City visit www.doac.com.