New Jersey may not be the first state that comes to mind when we talk about tourism destinations, but the state is clearly doing a great job in promoting and growing its tourism industry. The latest report confirmed another positive result for the Garden State’s tourism industry, maintaining the 7-year streak of growth.

The casino industry is said to be one of the main contributors to this boom. The entire casino landscape has played a vital role in attracting tourists and growing the number of visitors coming into the state in general.

A $44 Billion Industry

The report also stated that the tourism industry in New Jersey banked a whopping $44 billion in tourism revenues in 2016. Among the state’s 21 counties, Atlantic City is still the one generating the most revenue. What’s interesting is that the tourism revenue in Atlantic City was actually on a decline, with a drop of 5.2% being recorded.

Experts from the Division of Travel and Tourism said that the 3.3% increase in general revenue is due to the more even spread of tourism activities across the state, especially with other counties promoting their own attractions and attracting tourists from around the world.

“The good news is that we are doing better,” according to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who’s leading the tourism division. “We’ve bounced back in part because of the glorious weather we had last summer. The glorious weather brought a lot of tourists to the Jersey Shore.”

Casinos and Their Vital Roles

Despite the 5.2% drop in tourism recorded by the county of Atlantic City, the seven existing brick-and-mortar casinos still play vital roles in growing the tourism industry in New Jersey. The drop in volume was actually followed by an increase in recorded wins (or generated revenue) that continues to fuel new innovations.

The casino industry is also taking advantage of New Jersey’s online gaming landscape, branching out to legal gambling websites in New Jersey to cater to more players from across the country. The boom also fueled a series of other trends, including the rise of the property market in Atlantic City as well as the increase in hotel room demands by 1.1% across all counties.

Low Unemployment Rate

The boom experienced by the tourism industry has made a big impact in the economy as a whole, contributing to 6.5% of the state’s economy and bringing unemployment rate further down. In fact, New Jersey currently has an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average.

The US Department of Labor confirmed that there were 60,000 new jobs created in New Jersey last year, bringing the current unemployment rate to 4.7%. The trend is looking positive too, especially with tourism industry continuing its growth. More than 40,000 new jobs are to be created through various Atlantic City projects and casino rebranding.

The travel ban issued by Trump’s administration may have had a negative impact on this growth, but state officials remain optimistic as the trend is holding strong. New Jersey’s tourism industry remains persistent and will continue to grow this year.