The state legislature is hoping to give a region whose mere existence is the subject of debate a boost with new laws designed to fund advertising for a somewhat overlooked area of the Garden State.
Last week, Bill A4711 was introduced by several members of the New Jersey Assembly. Sponsored by members Roy Freiman, Sadaf Jaffer, and Anthony Verrelli, the proposed law would mandate state tourism officials redraw their maps to include a Central Jersey region.
What is Central Jersey?
According to the new bill, Central Jersey is made up of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.
The state would then require the Division of Travel and Tourism to promote Central Jersey, overnight stays, and agritourism attractions throughout that region. The bill’s language also “requires allocation of federal funds for tourism to certain regions and activities in need of economic relief.”
The legislation would incorporate the new “Central Jersey” area in all regional marketing activities, including in publications and on the VisitNJ.org website. The aim of the law is to advance tourism promotion beyond the state’s beaches, which are perceived to get and arguably draw the most attention in terms of advertising.
Much of the area included under the proposal consists of rural and less developed swaths of the state, although smaller cities like Edison, Princeton, Somerville, and Lambertville would be included under the legislation. The bill invokes New Jersey’s nickname as a final pitch to become law.
“New Jersey’s rich agricultural history, and the reason for its name, the Garden State, is worthy of more investment,” the bills states.
An identical bill in the New Jersey Senate, S3206, was introduced shortly after the Assembly version. The bills have both been referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee for further review.