By Erin Delmore
In a banner year for travel and tourism dollars, the arts and entertainment industry is bringing home the big bucks.
“The arts recreation and entertainment industry has been the fastest growing segment of the New Jersey tourism industry and actually has been growing faster than the U.S. arts recreation and entertainment industry over the last decade,” said Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics.
Today, those artistic and economic drivers were honored during the JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards.
“We were really excited this morning to hand out the JerseyArts.com People’s Choice Awards and that’s a part of Discover Jersey Arts, it’s a program that our ArtPride New Jersey does and partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts so a great example of a public/private partnership promoting the arts. It’s a popular choice campaign where over 18,000 voters pick their favorite places to go see a musical, to go to a museum, to go to arts camps, to take a class — those kinds of things all across the state,” said President and CEO of ArtPride NJ Adam Perle.
“I think it’s great. I think we all have a labor of love for different passions that we have and there are always thankless jobs. So when there’s an opportunity to say, ‘We appreciate what you’re doing. You’re bringing tourism to the area,’ it’s really great to see,” said Lynn Kaniper, president and CEO of Dana Communications.
If arts is a labor of love, advocates say the work is paying off. They call it a $1.5 billion industry.
“Arts are driving towards them in the state of New Jersey. I mean arts as a whole is a $1.5 billion industry, 17,000 arts related businesses, 80,000 jobs. We’re vital to New Jersey, not just because of the intrinsic value, the quality of life that the arts and culture bring, but because of what it’s doing for economic development for health care and for education,” said Perle.
While 2016 was a banner year for travel and tourism, 2017 could prove more challenging for the arts.
Sacks explained, “There is a fair amount of antipathy toward the U.S. among international markets right now with this administrations rhetoric and policy. So we’ve got concerns about international markets right now. We expect them to fall in 2017.”