Jersey Shore summer tourism depends on 5 things

In Seaside Heights, Coin Castle owner Wayne Cimorelli hopes he can explain away the sluggish spring to the cool weather. In Belmar, Tandem Bike Inn owner Mike Hayes says weekends through July are already booked.

And in Ocean Grove, Comfort Zone owner Steve Mandeville is doing the best he can to prepare his gift shop for a summer tourism season that is sure to be… what?

“So many variables,” Mandeville said. “Between the price of gas and inflation. But people are dying to get out. But then again, COVID rates are going up.”

The Jersey Shore’s tourism season gets its unofficial start this Memorial Day weekend, and operators are trying to get a handle on an economy that has more moving parts than a Ferris wheel.

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Bella Ghanbary of Toms River, waitress, prepares to open D'Jais in Belmar, NJ Friday, May 20, 2022.

Visitors have jobs and money to spend, but gasoline prices are at record highs. The labor shortage that crippled businesses last year is easing, but help-wanted Facebook posts abound. Another strain of COVID is making the rounds, but it appears to be less severe.

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The Shore offers relief: the beach, the soft sand, the warm sun, the rhythmic ocean waves. So long as Mother Nature lends a hand.

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