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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Permanent Atlantic County Tourism Board Formed

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson announced today the formation of a permanent Atlantic County Tourism Board. "Last summer I established an Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Tourism which completed its task and provided us with recommendations on how the county can strengthen regional tourism. Among those recommendations was that the county establish a permanent Committee on Tourism. I am pleased today to be able to carry out that recommendation," Levinson said.

According to Levinson, membership on the committee will consist of no more than 15 persons representative of Atlantic County who have knowledge and demonstrated interest in matters related to the development of tourism related attractions and events.

Susan Ricciardi, Director of Media Relations for the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, has agreed to serve as Chairperson.

Other members of the board include: Tony Coppola, Town of Historic Smithville; Robert Mawhinney, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Press; Karlos LaSane, Director of Community Affairs, Eastern Region, Park Place Entertainment; Joseph Kelly, Atlantic City Region Chamber of Commerce; Toni Morris-Klein, Atlantic County Chamber of Commerce; Brenda Taube, South Jersey Cultural Alliance; Jeff George, Atlantic City Cruises; Steve Whiteside, Vice President Hotel Operations, Caesars Atlantic City; Teddie O'Keefe, Greater Atlantic City Golf Association; Bob McDevitt, Local 54 H.E.R.E.; Pinky Kravitz, Radio Talk Show Host; Luis Camacho, Atlantic County Hispanic Alliance; and Freeholder James Curcio, ex officio.

"Atlantic County offers more than just gaming. This Board will help us bring together the resources and expertise of a talented and diverse group of individuals with a common goal. Tourism will become increasingly important to the Atlantic County area in the coming years," Levinson said. "Tourism in New Jersey has never received adequate state funding and considering the current budget crisis the state is experiencing, it is unlikely that it will receive more funding this year. Therefore, It is important that we work together, especially with other counties, to ensure that our region's natural attractions and other assets are properly promoted."

Levinson stated that he is currently working with the Board of Freeholders to implement the necessary changes to the county's Administrative Code. Appointments to the Board will require the advice and consent of the Board of Freeholders.

The duties of the committee will include the following:
- Advise and submit recommendations to the county on matters related to how county government may work to improve regional tourism promotion and development in Atlantic County.

- Provide educational and technical assistance in order to foster tourism development and to enhance the quality of nonresident visitor experience in Atlantic County.

- Strengthen Atlantic County's tourism industry marketing efforts through increased communication, educational opportunities, participation in industry activities and cooperative marketing activities.

- Increase public awareness regarding the importance of tourism to the local economy.

- Review and make recommendations on pending federal and state legislation and programs that may have an impact on the local tourism industry.

- Conduct public forums on topics and issues related to tourism promotion and customer service.

- Identify areas where regional tourism promotion may be enhanced and more fully developed.

- Identify duplications of effort and make recommendations for more coordinated delivery of tourism services.

- Serve as a "clearinghouse" to county government on local activities and community events and festivals that attract tourists and visitors.

For more information contact Howard J. Kyle, Chief of Staff, at 343-2223.

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