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Shore Tourism Gains Momentum [POLL/AUDIO]

Images of the iconic ocean-submerged Jet Star roller coaster, ripped up and charred boardwalks and collapsed houses are beginning to fade from the memories of potential Jersey Shore visitors. Destination marketing experts say that’s not by chance; a great deal of collective effort has gone into changing the national perception. Listen to the full interview with Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Director Lori Pepenella

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Belmar Boardwalk (Michael Loccisano, Getty Images)

“Everybody was just getting that one message of those images, you know, constantly,” said Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Director Lori Pepenella. “So we had to really identify what was happening where and we tried doing that through, you know, the press conferences, the digital messaging, we created video pieces.”

Pepenella said they’ve also been hosting festivals, concerts and events way ahead of the summer tourism season that have generated interest as they celebrate the centennial of the Chamber this year. As a result, she said, business owners are seeing an increase vacation lodging bookings over last year.

“The pattern and interest did change because we saw a lot of new people that really hadn’t been back to our area since maybe the 60s or 70s, so that was a positive,” Pepenella said.

The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce represents businesses from Lacey Township to Little Egg Harbor, as well as all of Long Beach Island. They’re focusing the spotlight on each of these communities with historic photographs in its tourism guide that features a calendar of events. The calendar is available on the chamber’s website: http://www.visitlbiregion.com/

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