Luxury spending up in Atlantic City
A new study from the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Richard Stockton College suggests the profile of Atlantic City tourists is changing: Fewer visitors are coming to the city, but those who are stay longer and spend more time outside casinos.
While local casinos lament that a greater portion of the resort?s convenience gambling market is shunning Atlantic City for other regional gambling destinations, there are indications that those still choosing Atlantic City are doing so while finding other activities beyond gambling, said Brian Tyrrell, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at Stockton and the author of the study.
?I think what?s going on is you?re getting fewer day-trippers coming down just to gamble. In effect, the quality of the visitors is going up,? Tyrrell said. ?You?re getting visitors who are coming longer and doing more. They?re eating; they?re shopping; they?re staying overnight.?
Tyrrell tracks those trends through what the institute refers to as tourism performance indicators. That includes tracking Atlantic City?s luxury tax and parking fee as well as Atlantic County?s hotel occupancy fee. While the city?s parking fees decreased in the third quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago, luxury tax and hotel occupancy fees both saw modest increases as a result of spikes in August 2013.
Atlantic City?s luxury tax is levied at 3 percent on the sale of alcoholic beverages and 9 percent on other retail sales, including entertainment charges, room rentals in hotels, rolling chairs, beach chairs, cabana rentals and other admission charges in the city. In August, the city collected $5 million in luxury tax, up 13 percent from the $4.4 million collected in August 2012.
The $5 million also marks the best month for luxury tax ever recorded in the city. The previous high was $4.5 million collected in July 2012. Overall, in the third quarter, which traditionally represents the city?s strongest quarter stretching from July through September, the city collected $12.2 million in luxury tax. That?s up from $12.1 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Tyrrell noted that the quarterly increase might sound insignificant but pointed out that the increase was seen in the first summer following Hurricane Sandy, which many believe kept tourists from visiting the shore.
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