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Atlantic City Struggles With Post-Sandy Perception [AUDIO]

Mistaken by erroneous news reports and tales of folks who lost their homes in nearby towns, a quarter of the nation believes Atlantic City’s boardwalk was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy. A new poll found 32 percent of people in the Northeast region, the region most crucial to Atlantic City’s business, believed the same thing.

Atlantic City damage
Despite significant flooding and damaged caused by Sandy in Atlantic City, the town’s tourist attractions came out virtually unharmed. (Mario Tama, Getty Images)

The survey was conducted earlier this month, more than two months since Sandy made landfall.

A similar poll conducted shortly after Sandy hit indicated 41 percent of people nationwide and 52 percent of Northeast residents believed the boardwalk had been destroyed.

While the numbers are more pleasant with the newer poll, still a large chunk of the public believes New Jersey’s resort town is out of commission.

Main Attractions Suffered Little Damage

Streets and homes were flooded during the hurricane, but the main attractions suffered little to no damage. The city’s 12 casinos reopened within a week of Sandy’s wrath.

“That is a big perception challenge that we’re continuing to work against,” said Jeff Guaracino, Chief Strategy Officer for the Atlantic City Alliance.

He said the effort is citywide. From the casinos to the outlets and restaurants, people have been trying to spread the word that Atlantic City is open for business. Guaracino said Atlantic City employees are doing some of the publicity work themselves, telling friends and family through social networking that Atlantic City is still a destination ready for tourists.

The Atlantic City Alliance has also kept its marketing presence effort active; a full-page advertisement in the New York Times, featuring the boardwalk, launched late last year.

In addition, Atlantic City officials are starting a “road show” of press events today, visiting key markets to dissolve the myth that Atlantic City was wiped out by Sandy. The first stop is Philadelphia.

“The more we can do together…that means more New Jersey residents can continue to make a living off the very important tourism and hospitality industry,” said Guaracino.

According to Roger Gros with Global Gaming Business Magazine, the mis-perception may be so intense because of the time of year; many people in other regions of the country aren’t looking so closely at Atlantic City during the fall and winter months.

“I don’t think people are paying attention until it starts to get warmer and people start to think about going to the beach,” Gros said. “Once that happens, I think the perception will ease up quite a bit.”

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