Travel with Val: Atlantic City's casino zone struggles to win back its Sandy losses
Like any gambler who has taken a hit, Atlantic City is back at the tables in an effort to help its tourism industry recover from Hurricane Sandy. Valarie D’Elia has more.
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Along the iconic boardwalk of Atlantic City, N.J., veteran rolling chair operator Eric Shepherd is discounting his rates to drum up business after Hurricane Sandy.
"Seems like the news indicated that the boardwalk was gone here in Atlantic City, but it's not this part where the casinos are," said Shepherd.
Indeed, the four mile boardwalk is mostly intact and I had to look pretty hard for any remnants of hurricane damage in the tourist zone. A pricey new seven acre public art project also came out unscathed, but none of that seems to matter.
Atlantic City shut down for five days, but some say it was not as bad as it was made out to be.
"The national and regional perception that Atlantic City was devastated simply wasn't true," said Tony Rodio, the president of the Casino Association Of New Jersey.
Business travel was hit hardest, vital to generating income after the summer high season.
"We lost nine conventions, two of the biggest of the year, had to cancel, roughly about $31 million of direct spending," said Jeff Vasser of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority.
Now, there is a bundle earmarked for turning the tables.
"They’re going to use that million dollars as inducements to offer discounts to groups that book their meetings and conventions," said Rodio.
Not even the anticipated deals on hotels and restaurants will be a quick fix.
"We are going to be feeling the effects of Sandy because of the damage to outlying areas, I think, for weeks and months to come," said Rodio.