Beyond the Boardwalk in Atlantic City
Investors are looking outside of casinos to draw new travelers to Atlantic City.
Hurricane Sandy, the second-largest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record, hit Atlantic City hard in 2012. The oceanfront hub has made great strides since and is attracting a varied group of travelers drawn not only to its famed casinos but also to the area’s amusement parks, restaurants and other offerings. According to the Atlantic City Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the city receives about 27 million visitors a year, and nongaming revenues have increased by more than $160 million in two years, approaching $1 billion annually.
RCI Ventures® magazine sat down with Bruce Kaye, founder and CEO of Atlantic City’s FantaSea Resorts, to learn more about the opportunities the city holds.
V: What are the keys to Atlantic City’s revival?
BK: It’s about giving visitors what they really want by bringing restaurants, shopping and entertainment into Atlantic City. It’s going to make all the difference, because people are going to come not only for the Boardwalk, the ocean and the casinos but also for a variety of venues. We’re already beginning to see results, and they’re astounding. Revenue and resort occupancy are up significantly. These are telltale signs.
V: Have you noticed a shift in owner demographics in recent years?
BK: Advancing technology and the ability to travel faster than before have allowed younger travelers and those with an upper-middle-tier income to discover Atlantic City as a great drive-to getaway. Millennials are spending more money than any other generation we’ve experienced—and on entertainment, restaurants and shopping, not just casinos.
V: How can Atlantic City continue to grow as a major vacation destination?
BK: By restoring the infrastructure, creating more community facilities and improving our education system. Stores and new businesses are opening up, and entertainment options are growing. At least five different projects are spending a minimum of $50 million to $150 million each in bringing in demographics that are going to spend time and money in the city.
V: FantaSea Resorts is the second-largest non-casino employer in the county. Can you share some of the secrets to its success?
BK: We started our own renaissance 15 years ago. We knew that owners return because of the city’s location, so we established top-quality customer service. We also brought in a higher level of amenities and interior design. So when people stay at any of our resorts, they feel like they’re at their home away from home.
To learn more about FantaSea Resorts, read “Destination Renovation,” to be published in the Q3 2016 issue of RCI Ventures® magazine.
Photo credit: Courtesy FantaSea Resorts