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NJ Sports & Exposition Authority Now In Charge Of State’s Tourism Operations

The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has a new role, to strengthen the state’s tourism efforts.

Governor Christie announces Wrestlemania event
David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ

The Hanson Commission Report calls for all current government tourism operations to be realigned under the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA).

“The goal is to really make it a one stop shop for tourism, travel and athletic events” said Wayne Hasenbalg, President of the NJSEA.

“By consolidating these operations under the umbrella of the NJSEA, we are taking an aggressive and common sense approach that recognizes and prioritizes the important role of tourism promotion in our economy. Not only will this model mirror successes seen in other states and New York City, it will streamline and simplify tourism entities for visitors,” said Governor Chris Christie.

New Jersey has secured itself as the host of Grand Prix Auto Racing, WWE’s WrestleMania, the U.S. Special Olympics and the Super Bowl – all in the next 24 months.

“I really think that’s what sparked the interest in this idea….the thought of well let’s take these events and spread them around the whole state” said Hasenbalg.

Going further with these efforts, the NJSEA will operate statewide as the lead agency to facilitate and attract major sports and entertainment events, overcoming the challenges posed by a disjointed organization structure for the state’s tourism-related activities. Its main focus will no longer be on building venues or facility management, but on coordinating economic development and promotional efforts related to tourism, entertainment and sports.

The new NJSEA will be relocated from the Department of Community Affairs to the Department of State, where it will work in close collaboration with the Business Action Center and the Office of Foreign Investment and Protocol. Also proposed is the relocation of the Division of Travel and Tourism and the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission to the NJSEA.

Hasenbalg said the first task will be to conduct a comprehensive audit of all the facilities and attractions the state has to offer.

“Once we figure out what we have in terms of big venues and small venues, then we know what we have to work with in terms of getting artists or teams or events to come here.”

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