Cape May will study impact of ecotourism and agritourism
The rising popularity of ecotourism in Cape May County has prompted tourism officials to update a survey about visitors and what they are doing.
Cape May County tourism director Diane Wieland says they want to find out about the interest in bird- and nature-watching, hiking, biking and whale- and dolphin-watching.
Wieland says 10 years ago, ecotourism was generating more than $450 million annually for the county — about 11 percent of the county's tourism dollars. The county generates more tourism dollars than any other county in the state.
She says they are looking at people who come to visit or live here that participate in nature-based activities.
Wieland says they want to update the survey they last did in 2006. She says they are working with the New Jersey Audubon and the Cape May Bird Observatory.
"They tell us that, in the course of a year, they might have visitors to their website from 150 countries, all interested in our birding, the butterfly migration and any other kind of nature-based activities."
They also want to survey agritourism visitors.
"We have six new wineries in the past few years since 2006 that have opened up in our area. We have four or five breweries with more coming online."
She says the wineries are all using products that are grown on the farm. And the breweries are using hops being grown on the Jersey Cape soil and in the farms. They are adding other elements to their brewing that are locally grown.
Wieland says they are working with the Center for Regional and Business Research at Atlantic Cape Community College.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5