Atlantic City embarks on its first-ever Canadian sales mission

Atlantic City embarks on its first-ever Canadian sales missionTORONTO — In an effort to target the increasingly important Canadian market, the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority recently embarked on its first ever Canadian sales mission, with stops in Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Quebec City over the span of five days.

Major partners like Revel, Resorts Casino Hotel, Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel, Caesars Entertainment and Tanger Outlets arrived in each city to share latest news and to also reassure travel agents and media that Atlantic City is “back in business”, post-Hurricane Sandy.

“We’re very excited about a new, fresh Atlantic City,” said Karen Martin, Media Relations Manager for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, who made sure to point out that the city suffered no water damage and all debris from the 2012 hurricane have since been cleaned and removed. “We want people to know that things are actually booming in Atlantic City. Our message is if you haven’t been in five years, it’s time to come back.”

Much has changed in the city in recent years, thanks to new legislation passed by Governor Chris Christie in 2011 to establish an official tourism district. As a result, the Atlantic City Alliance was created and was given US$30 million to spend on event planning and promotion over the next five years. Its latest event, the International Sand Sculpting Competition, was held recently in June and considered a huge success.

The new legislation also saw the implementation of clean and safe initiatives, specific boundaries in the tourist district, and official ‘Boardwalk Ambassadors’ to help guide visitors and promote local attractions.

In terms of new developments, Atlantic City has plenty to be excited about. Caesars Entertainment has begun construction on a new meeting and conference facility at its Harrah’s Atlantic City location, with an estimated cost of US$125.8 million. The 250,000 square-foot facility will offer 125,000 square feet of meeting space and two 50,000 square-foot pillar-less ballrooms, each divisible into as many as 27 separate breakout rooms.

Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has found a new home at Resorts Casino Hotel. Opened on Memorial Day, the $35 million complex consists of a LandShark Bar & Grill on the beach, a Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar, retail shops and themed gaming area inside the casino.

The much anticipated Revel Casino Hotel opened its doors in spring 2012, effectively changing the Atlantic City skyline and rejuvenating the city’s Northeast Inlet section. The $2.4 billion resort features more than 1,100 guestrooms, 46 retail shops, 12 restaurants, three clubs, a 31,000 square foot spa, two theatres, a 30,000 square foot meeting centre, a 150,000 square foot casino and 90,000 square feet of outdoor space including a private beach, outdoor garden and cabana area.

The renowned Golden Nugget has taken over the Trump Marina Hotel Casino, pouring $150 million into renovations. Golden Nugget Atlantic City now boasts new restaurants Chart House and Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, not to mention new lounges, nightclubs and a refurbished spa.

Steel Pier, one of the Boardwalk’s most beloved landmarks, will become a year-round attraction thanks to a $100 million, three-phase makeover. New amusement rides, a food court and arcade area were completed in June 2012. Phase II includes plans for a new museum, retail entertainment space and a 200-foot high ferris wheel. The third and final phase calls for a new version of the Marine Ballroom that will include a stage and 2,000 removable seats to allow for concerts and weddings. Renovations are expected to be completed in 2015.

Finally, Garden Pier, home of the Atlantic City Historical Museum and Atlantic City Art Center, has received a $3.3 million facelift after enduring severe damage during several storms. Work was done to stabilize the pier’s substructure and remove an unusable building, which opened up views to the ocean. The project also included upgrading exteriors of museums, creating new lighting and landscaping, and refencing the property.

According to Heather Colache, Director of Tourism for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, the city is making a conscious effort to develop and market non-gaming offerings.

“We have to differentiate ourselves from gaming and become a more rounded destination,” she said. “We’ve always been an adult destination, popular among 60- and 70-year-olds, but we’re now marketing to a younger crowd. We want them to know that we’re more than just gaming.”

Helping to make this transition are recent rebranding efforts that include a new slogan, ‘DO AC’. The campaign highlights Atlantic City’s plethora of golf options (it’s home to 22 golf courses), top-notch spas, array of fine dining restaurants, and family-friendly options that include everything from amusement parks to a nightly 3D light show on the Boardwalk.

To view photos from the sales mission’s Toronto stop, go to the Photos section at travelweek.ca/photos/. For more information on travel to Atlantic City, visit doatlanticcity.com.