Atlantic City is a ‘day’s drive away’

Baby it’s cold outside. But if the weather and pandemic make you feel stuck at home, Atlantic City could provide a change of venue to get work done

Despite COVID-19 and with the summer tourist season still being months away, Atlantic City is betting on a few common-sense approach ideas to lure people to the resort.

Atlantic City is a ‘day’s drive away’

Atlantic City benefits from its location.

Plus, even with the current challenges, the resort offers some terrific perks.

Michael Chait, president of the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, says winter is a great time to take advantage of them.

“If you think of where we are located, a third of population is within a day’s drive, the fresh air and outdoor experience of [the] Boardwalk gives us a real opportunity even in the winter,” said Chait.

Chait says the key to luring visitors in the winter and in a pandemic means ensuring them that safety is key.

And all nine Atlantic City casinos continue to follow the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s guidelines and protocols.

The list includes casino floors and restaurants operating at 25% capacity.

“The number one thing we’re all promoting is that we’re safe, we’re taking all the precautions and following all the protocols,” said Chait.

Some casinos and other businesses are using #workfromhere. This is a way of reminding visitors there are rooms and WiFi. Basically, they can get out of the house with their laptop to get work done.

Plus, there is the opportunity to enjoy Atlantic City.

Atlantic City still facing tough times

This winter presents a much bigger challenge, especially when it comes to Atlantic City casino revenue.

For 2020, the nine properties saw a (-43.7%) drop in revenue of brick-and-mortar casino win.

Atlantic City casinos reported just $2.65 billion in total gaming revenue last year compared to $3.3 billion in 2019.

Remember, the casinos closed in March for 100-plus days due to COVID-19. The majority of them reopened in time for Fourth of July weekend.

Besides 25% capacity limits, it was without indoor dining, live entertainment or conventions.

This is why any good news matters for visitors.

Hotel occupancy rates down, too

2020 also was one of the worst years since 9/11 for hotel occupancy nationwide, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s report released in January.

Hotels were one of the first industries affected by the pandemic and it will be one of the last to recover, according to the report.

More specifically in Atlantic City, the DGE reported that occupancy rates were at at 72.9%. This was for the three month period that ended in September. And the year-to-date occupancy rate [January through September] was 70.6%.

The casino hotels closed on March 16 and didn’t begin to reopen until July 2.

Business or pleasure with great views

Atlantic City casino hotel operators continue to make adjustments in these challenging times.

And for visitors looking to make it an extended stay, there are discounted room rates and packages. This include Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana, all owned by Caesars Entertainment.

And some may see it as “work with a view.”

“Knowing that guests are more mindful of in-room experience these days, we’ve been focused on creating packages that blend the comforts of home and the luxe amenities they love at Tropicana, Harrah’s and Caesars,” said Noel Stevenson, regional director of public relations and advertising for the Atlantic City region.

So, while visiting the shore is often thought of as a summer destination, “enjoying the open air experience of being outside on the Boardwalk” is still perfect during the brisk winter months.

Call it an enjoyable the change of scenery.

AC Boardwalk still has its benefits

Of course, it’s hard to ignore The Boardwalk.

Chait touts the resort’s 10-mile plus historic wooden Boardwalk.

And it’s ideal for walking, jogging or bicycle rides from Atlantic City to Ventnor.

“I think keeping healthy during the winter and this pandemic is another draw to the Boardwalk. If you look at CDC guidelines and recommendations, it says if you want to get together with family and friends it should be outside and where you can distance. We have that in Atlantic City on the beach and Boardwalk,” Chait said.

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