Lou Magazzu puts county behind in tourism

Last year there was debate about funding the Cumberland County – More to Offer advertising campaign. We were never high up the ladder for tourism dollars. However, with the NJMP and other attractions such as the Glasstown Arts District, we were never in last place. Not until Lou Magazzu got his way, and gutted the marketing campaign.

Salem County, however, has smarter people at the helm. Cognizant of the need to cut unnecessary expenses, Salem County also realized the need for intelligent investment. Every dollar spent on marketing and tourism pays off dramatically, as Salem County has proved.

Based on data supplied by the New Jersey Tourism Department and internal survey information gathered by the Salem County Department of Public Information and Tourism, county officials are encouraged by the positive impact of the county’s tourism initiative.

“When you are facing budget difficulties, you look both to cutting spending and finding ways to generate more income,” said Freeholder Beth Timberman, chairwoman of the Transportation, Tourism, and Agriculture Committee. “Although we are always mindful of government spending, the data is beginning to show that tourism advertising is a good investment for the county.

“In fact, the most recent numbers supplied by the state tourism department show that since we launched the tourism initiative in 2007, Salem County is no longer in last place but has actually moved ahead of Warren County and Cumberland County in statewide tourism expenditures and has increased tourism as a share of the county economy by $10 million.”

Some would argue that government should not be paying for advertising, that it is the responsibility of the merchants. These people have never run a small business, and in fact the many of them that I know personally have always earned a living on the backs of taxpayers. They need to shut up concerning privatization and free enterprise. They have no experience whatsoever, and no knowledge of how the real world works other than in the Disneyland that resides int heir heads.

Every town in Cumberland County is made up of many small businesses, mom and pop shops that in no way can afford to spend thousands on marketing. However, they provide goods, services and employment (as well as paying their fair share of taxes which some of these naysayers have never done) that benefits every citizen with a net positive.

As these mom and pop ventures flourish, so do our towns. marketing programs that promote a ‘offerings cross-pollinate; everyone benefits and costs to promote are reduced by sheer scale. The money spent is a drop in the bucket as opposed to political projects such as the unnecessary and unwanted chapel at the veteran’s cemetery. Even veterans are clamoring against this pork project, which serves as nothing more than a reward for Lou Magazzu’s donors. That chapel will be a constant drain on local resources as it will require personnel to maintain and operate. It will  bring in no income, tourism related or otherwise, to the county. It is a drain on the taxpayers, providing minimal benefit to mostly Magazzu’s contractor friends.

In the name of fiscal conservatism he guts the marketing program which had a proven benefit, and as a result we slid further behind. This has hurt every business in the county. Lou doesn’t care, he now has his hands out for federal money for his alternative energy company – the one with disconnected phone and fax numbers, and a ridiculous website chock full of grammatical errors.

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