A year after near-bankruptcy, Atlantic City and its tourism thriving again
Atlantic City's tourism market continues to show signs of growth during the first six months of 2017, according to a new report by Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University.
The report finds gains in the Atlantic County lodging fee, the Atlantic City parking fee and the Atlantic County non-casino revenue per available room —especially in the second quarter year over year, according to Executive Director Rummy Pandit.
The news comes after encouraging developments at City Hall, which this summer announced lower property taxes a year after the city had threatened bankruptcy and the state appointed a monitor to oversee the municipal finances. This year the city also reached a tax-refund deal with the Borgata hotel and casino. The city will pay less than half of the $165 million it had owed the casino in a tax appeal case.
The hotel industry, meanwhile, is showing signs of thriving.
Pandit says the lodging fee per 100 rooms went up by almost 10 percent. The non-casino RevPAR, or revenue generated per room is up eight percent and the parking fee per 100 spaces is up 10 percent.
The report also suggests the remaining casinos were able to take advantage of the closing of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort last October. They reported a 20 percent growth during the first half of 2017.
"A lot of the business, the occupancy and the gaming business and the revenues got picked up by many of the properties," says Pandit. As a result, when the availability of number of rooms went down, the occupancy at other properties went up.
The Taj closing also led to an increase in Atlantic County lodging fees, according to the report. The 12-month trailing total for the lodging fee is up 7.4 percent over the previous twelve month period and at $686 per 100 rooms. Pandit says that's the highest on record.
Pandit says the non-casino lodging industry in 2013 showed a 24 percent increase. In 2016, they went up to 33 percent.
Another reason why the Atlantic City tourism market continues to expand is because the shore resort is starting to move away from the gaming centric market and starting to promote other facilities. Those include rooms, food and beverage, shows, groups coming in for conferences and conventions.
He says the future of Atlantic City's expansion and tourism looks very bright. The city hopes that when the Hard Rock opens in next year, it will be able to grow the market.
"Gaming is still a big attraction in Atlantic City, but with all the offerings now, Atlantic City is truly a destination resort," says Pandit.