Atlantic City's new barometer
When I wrote about the demise of the ACES train in March, I mentioned that the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority had started publishing a monthly report about the progress of non-gaming statistics and revenues.
What I didn't realize then was that they publish the report every month on the same day that gaming revenues are released.
Good timing as yesterday's news in the casino sector was grim. Gaming revenues dropped another 5% in Atlantic City, continuing a long and steep decline.
So what's the good news? Apparently the warm temperatures in March was a boost for overall tourism. More than 13,000 people stopped in at the visitor welcome center, a 72% jump over March of last year. Overall, they've seen a 42% increase of visitors from 2011 to 2012.
Convention and trade show business is up in 2012 by 18% at the Atlantic City Convention Center, and 4.2% more cars traveled through the Pleasantville Toll Plaza this March over March 2011.
Other forms of transportation brought more people to Atlantic City, too. More than 12% more passengers arrived at the Atlantic City Airport this March versus last year, despite Airtran suspending service. Overall, they've seen a 7.7% jump from 2011 to 2012. More than 45.3% more people came into town via buses, too, from March of last year to March 2012.
The real tests of these numbers will be seen as the year progresses, especially after the summer. Ideally, the numbers will continue to improve month to month, even if gaming revenues decline. Check back here in warmer months for an update.
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