With its new-age hippie vibe, New Jersey is an ideal place for honeymooning.
The state’s economy is booming, and many people want to have their own honeymoon.
But as the country heads into a recession, the honeymoon season has been a source of frustration for the state’s tourism industry.
And honeymoon tourism is in trouble.
According to a recent survey, nearly half of New England residents are worried about the impact of the recession on honeymoon rentals.
That’s the second-highest percentage of those surveyed saying they worry about the state of the industry.
“I feel like we’re going through some major economic challenges right now and we’re not even trying to solve the problems we’re facing,” said Jeff Kostecki, owner of Kosten Travel, a honeymoon rental company in New Hampshire.
The economy in New England has been in free fall for the last four years.
The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the unemployment rate will reach 7.7% by the end of this year.
“Honeymoon rentals have been at the forefront of this,” said John McLean, president of the New Hampshire Tourism and Convention Association.
“They have always been a key component to our tourism and hospitality economy.”
McLean’s organization helps oversee the industry in New Mexico, where he said the tourism industry employs more than 70,000 people.
But the state, which has a population of more than 14 million, is struggling with a massive shortage of hotel rooms and hotels are seeing a rise in cancellations.
McLean said it’s not uncommon for his company to see as many as two people a day cancel a reservation.
He said some of the reasons why are because of the economic downturn, including increased demand from the Middle East and Asia.
McLeans management of the state tourism association has tried to change that by working with the tourism bureau to make the state a more appealing location for honeymoons.
“We’ve tried to do things like introduce events to attract people to the state and to create the kind of a culture that’s conducive to being a honeymaker,” McLean said.
Mclean said his company has had several honeymoon companies move their operations out of the Northeast.
They’ve also tried to work with the state to open more honeymoon destinations.
Kosten has been involved in trying to encourage more honeymakers in the Northeast, but he said it took a lot of work to convince the tourism board that the region was ripe for a honeymoon boom.
“It’s been a long, hard slog,” Kostechi said.
“But in the end, we’ve come out on top.”