Thanks to precautions put in place to slow the spread of Coronavirus, Atlantic City should expect visitors to return in 2021.
That was one of the findings of a survey by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University.
The school is headquartered in Galloway, New Jersey.
Phil Kening, a member of the Stockton faculty and lead researcher on the project, offered several preliminary results of the survey, which was completed by 806 people between the end of January and mid-February.
More than 70% of respondents said they plan to visit Atlantic City within the next six months.
Of those who had already visited since July, when casinos reopened, 82% said they planned to visit again within the next six months.
Kening said the pandemic remains the primary reason visitors have not yet returned. However, “Those who have visited since the casinos reopened say they were satisfied with the safety precautions in place,” he said in a statement.
Some 42% of respondents said they had visited Atlantic City at least once since it re-opened in July. The remaining respondents cited Covid as the reason they had not returned.
Of those that did visit the Boardwalk, almost 80% said they were either “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the safety precautions in place.
Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of LIGHT, said the survey results indicate that visitors want to return.
“The casinos and other dining and entertainment venues have done a good job implementing Covid-19 safety measures while still providing the experiences visitors expect when they come to Atlantic City,” Bokunewicz explained. “Even as restrictions are gradually lifted, and more people get a vaccine, the venues will still have to demonstrate that they are taking all necessary precautions to make visitors feel welcomed and safe.”
Atlantic City casinos were closed on 16 March, 2020, per the Governor’s executive order. They reopened 2 July, but with capacity restrictions in place.