CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Cape May County wants Canadians to come back.

After two summers with the U.S./Canadian border closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, the Cape May County Department of Tourism has now launched a campaign to bring these international visits back to the Garden State.

The campaign called "Reconnect Canada" launched in December thanks to funding by the County Board of Commissioners via American Rescue Plan funds targets the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

According to the Cape May County website, Canadian travelers, on average, represent just under 10% of the total visitors to the county in July and August. They are also the top international travelers based on a survey conducted by the Department of Tourism.

It also reports that Canadians tend to stay in Cape May an average of 10 days, compared to national domestic visitors who stay on average of 3 to 5 days.

"The border reopened in November for leisure travel and the Department of Tourism was prepared to launch a radio and digital campaign in early December to welcome them back, and to let them know we missed them and appreciate their loyalty to Cape May County," said Cape May County Commissioner Director, Gerald M. Thornton.

Closing the border and COVID-19 overall, had a huge impact on local businesses, as part of the more than 21% loss in tourism revenue in 2020. Cape May County lost $1.54 billion in direct tourism spending in 2020.

While the 2021 data has not yet been released, all indicators point to a healthy 2021 season.

Thornton said he's optimistic that the return of loyal Canadian visitors will help Cape May County meet recovery goals.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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