Though Hurricane Earl is projected as a medium threat-level for the start of the Jersey Shore’s lucrative Labor Day weekend, tourism officials in Atlantic and Cape May counties are optimistic worst-case projections won’t come to pass.
“Like every other destination that relies on holiday-weekend traffic — urban, suburban, rural, tropical, mountainous, beach — we would suffer significant revenue losses,” said Maureen Siman of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority.
Cape May County Department of Tourism Director Diane Wieland has heard projections of a rain-and-wind event that would clear out after Friday night.
The state estimated tourism was a $5.1 billion industry last year. When Trump Plaza closed for a mid-July weekend because of air-conditioning malfunctions, their monthly profits dropped 17.1 percent. Wieland said a lost Labor Day could slash profits by a fifteenth if summer’s considered a 15-week season.
Shore community emergency-management officials have already put out warnings that people should watch how the storm progresses. Rip currents could be a problem.
“If we have to evacuate, people wouldn’t be coming back,” Wieland said. “So, a hurricane on Labor Day weekend would be devastating since so many people are depending on that income.”