Central NJ Now Exists on State Tourism Map — Local Small Businesses Expected to Benefit
By Barbara A. Preston | Posted August 31, 2023
Local restaurants, farms, vineyards, breweries, and inns should soon see an uptick in business. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill in to law on August 24 at the historic Wallace House in Somerville, in front of a crowd of television and newspaper reporters.
Gov. Phi Murphy signs a bill sponsored by Montgomery’s representatives: Senator Andrew Zwicker and Assembly Members Roy Freiman and Sadaf Jaffer.
The new law requires the Division of Travel and Tourism, within the Department of State, to re-draw the state tourism map to create a “Central Jersey Region” and to incorporate it in all regional marketing campaigns, including publications and on VisitNJ.org.
The region includes the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset. It has a rich history, including the American Revolution, with a legacy graced by George Washington. It is home to some of the nation’s leading public universities and host to beautiful agricultural landscapes.
Former Montgomery Township Committeeman Brad Fay (right) of Griggstown helped put Central NJ on the map. Somerset County Commissioner Doug Singleterry (left).
Assemblyman Roy Freiman highlighted the “unique vibe of the area: the canals, the rivers, and the Sourland Mountains. “For too long the heart of our state—home to our capital, historic sites, and bucolic scenery—has not received the attention it deserves. “Tourism is a vital industry and an economic engine for the state, generating thousands of jobs and attracting countless tourists each year. Redefining NJ’s tourism regions, looking at the way we fund tourism efforts, and delving into agritourism will help us highlight both our world-famous attractions and hidden gems.”
The bill will take effect in December. Senator Andrew Zwicker said, “We are long overdue in designating Central Jersey as the hub of tourism, innovation, and history that it is. This law will promote travel to our quaint river towns and canal villages, scenic walking sites, harvest festivals, breweries, and more Revolutionary War sites than you’ll find anywhere else.”
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Sen. Zwicker gave a shout out to Griggstown resident Brad Fay, a former Montgomery Township Committeeman who worked hard to get this designation, and ultimately an influx of tourism dollars, into the central region of New Jersey. Fay is founder of Discover Central NJ, a collaborative initiative of farmers, restaurateurs, beverage makers, and small business owners.
Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer of Montgomery added, “Whether you are interested in history, wildlife, or the great outdoors, Central Jersey has a lot to offer. With this law, we are committing to show residents and visitors alike all of the tourism destinations in New Jersey while also giving a boost to local economies.”
NJ Secretary of State Tahesha Way added: “Tourism is a vital part of our state’s economy and many of our communities rely upon visitors to support local small businesses. This legislation is an investment in the future of Central New Jersey communities and will strengthen the region’s ability to draw new and returning guests.”