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Tourism to Atlantic City Bucks National Trend: Showed Growth In 2008 with Rail Travel and Hotel Bookings Up,
Some Sectors as Much as 21% in First Quarter 2009


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., May 5, 2009 - An increase in some key tourism indicators in Atlantic City in 2008 bucked negative national trends and demonstrated that U.S. travelers are seeking nearby, domestic vacation destinations that offer a full range of leisure experiences over their counterparts in farther reaches of the country and overseas. According to the United States Travel Association (USTA), Rail travel on Amtrak was down by 1.2% as compared to the year before. Room demand, meanwhile, sank 3.6% overall across the nation.

In stark contrast to these figures, recently released 2008 statistics showed increases in Atlantic City across the same categories. Rail arrivals increased more than 12%, according to the South Jersey Transportation Authority. The number of occupied room nights at the destination's 11 casino hotels also rose 4.4%, according to the Casino Control Commission. Similarly, from the group business standpoint, a recent report released by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA) shows the number of occupied room nights by attendees to conventions and meetings at the Atlantic City Convention Center rose by 21% in the first quarter of 2009 over the same period the year prior. Nearly 50% more delegates attended conventions, trade shows and meetings and overall spending for these events showed an increase of 11% during the first quarter.

"It's no secret that national tourism numbers are on the decline due to the weak economy," said Jeff Vasser, president of the ACCVA. "Destinations such as Atlantic City that are reporting positive news, however, are proving that consumers are ready and willing to make alternative plans instead of forgoing their much-deserved vacation altogether. The 2008 numbers showed that more and more travelers and meeting planners were discovering the ease and affordability of Atlantic City."

Atlantic City is more accessible than ever in 2009 due to new air and rail travel services from New York City, Boston, Atlanta and Orlando. The deluxe ACES train serving Amtrak's Penn Station direct to Atlantic City made its debut in February 2009 and has added to the appeal of the destination as a quick weekend getaway for New Yorkers. New air lift via Spirit Airlines non-stop to Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) has also been added. For Atlanta, Orlando and connecting markets throughout the south, AirTran Airways is launching non-stop service beginning on June 11 and 12, respectively.

Atlantic City has made major strides in diversifying its product as much more than a gaming destination, having undergone $1.5 billion in new investments within the past year alone. These include new hotel and resort properties, many with world-class spas, in addition to expansive boutique and outlet shopping areas. The shore resort is an emerging culinary destination with a diverse dining landscape that offers everything from classic New Jersey coastal favorites to celebrity chef restaurants. Some of the nation's premier entertainers come through Boardwalk Hall, which will host Fleetwood Mac, the American Idols Live Tour and Jimmy Buffett among others this summer. Another significant difference from its East Coast competitors is the wealth of outdoor recreation available in Atlantic City with more than 25 golf courses nearby and miles of free clean beaches.

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About the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority serves as the destination's principal marketing arm, stimulating economic growth through convention, business and leisure tourism development. The Authority oversees the management of the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall. The Authority is the first in New Jersey to achieve Destination Marketing Accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association International. The Authority is among an elite group of 47 accredited convention and visitor bureaus throughout the United States. For complete Atlantic City information, visit

Elaine Zamansky

Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority

Also See: Atlantic City Transforming in 2008: Five New Hotel Towers and Expansions, Two Major Retail Centers and Plans for a New York-Atlantic City Direct Train / March 2008

Cape Advisors Inc. and Normandy Real Estate Partners L.L.C. Converting Two Old Atlantic City Hotels into the Chelsea -- the First Luxury, Nongaming Hotel on the Boardwalk Since the Early 1960s / January 2008

Donald Trump Says Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza and Trump Marina Are Still for Sale; Big Obstacle in Finding a Buyer is the Company's $1.5 billion Debt, Even After a 2005 Chapter 11 Restructuring / October 2007

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