The annual New Jersey Tourism Conference is underway in Atlantic City this week. Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is scheduled to deliver the keynote address today.

This is an important issue for Assemblyman John Amodeo who made it clear in January that promoting the state's tourism industry was his top priority. Although Atlantic City is in Amodeo's legislative district he feels it's important to bolster the industry statewide.

"Our state's tourist industry is larger than the GDP in 39 countries," explains Amodeo. "Tourism is responsible for 310,000 jobs in New Jersey with $10 billion in wages. Overall, tourism brings $25 billion dollars into the state of New Jersey."

"Tourism professionals need to control the narrative when it comes to messaging the significance of the visitor, the tourism profession and the entire visitor industry," says Roger Rickard from Revent LLC. "It is important to engage and educate stakeholders at all levels - local, regional, state and national; and it is a must to foster relationships at the local level."

The New Jersey Conference on Tourism is an annual event providing educational and networking opportunities to the state's tourism industry professionals. This year's conference entitled " The Reality of New Jersey Tourism - It's Everybody's Business" will include topics covering increasing business, cooperative partnerships, vital research statistics and travel trends.

Amodeo says increasing tourism in New Jersey is important to literally every taxpayer in the state. He explains, "A 10% increase in visitors would reduce our state's budget deficit by about $500 million."

Featured speakers at this year's tourism conference include Jay Salyers from Miles Media hosting a session "Leveraging for your Business"; David Serino from e-Strategist with a session on "Facebook and Twitter - A Strategic Approach for the Tourism Industry"; Steve Jermanok from Active who will speak on the importance of Travel Writers to the tourism industry; Joel Naroff from Naroff Economic Advisors and representatives from the NJ/NY Super Bowl Host Committee who will address SUPER Opportunities for New Jersey Tourism as we host the Super Bowl in 2014.

"Our goal is to grow the tourism industry and its economic benefits to the state through sound strategies and policies," said Joann DelVescio, President of the New Jersey Travel Industry Association. "Increased tourism expenditures result in job growth in the countless industries that serve the tourism industry, including construction, retail, food service, and more."