Looking for new ways to entice people to spend time in Atlantic City during the holidays, officials have tweaked marketing campaigns, poured more time and money in holiday decorations and begun offering free promotions throughout the city.

Plans for increased holiday efforts began long before Hurricane Sandy hit the region, but after the storm officials said it was more important than ever to ensure that people visit the city and know its major tourism attractions are open for business.

Some of most noticeable efforts were funded by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which opted to spend an unprecedented $595,000 on holiday decorations. That money has been used for 6-foot candy canes hanging from light posts throughout the city, a lighting display at Center City Park, and holiday greetings at the bus shelters among other initiatives.

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Adding to that, the authority is offering free gift-wrapping on Saturdays at The Wave parking garage on Fairmount Avenue for as many as three packages purchased in one day from any Atlantic City business. Casinos are following suit as well nine properties offering free wrapping as well.

Marty and Joyce Morley, of Ocean City, didn’t take advantage of the free gift-wrapping Sunday, but they were out shopping at Tanger Outlets The Walk for their two daughters. Joyce Morley said the extra effort was noticeable.

“I was just saying that last night. The lights and everything. You can tell they’ve done more,” she said.

Marty Morley, who grew up in the Inlet section of Atlantic City, said the deals being offered at some stores were exceptional, but he was disappointed to see that the crowds weren’t larger.

“There’s just not enough people around. We’re still in recovery mode here. We need people to come out,” he said.

Following the storm, Caesars Entertainment took to putting positive messages on all of its billboards, including sayings such as “Recovering together.” Meanwhile, the Atlantic City Alliance, a nonprofit marketing organization funded by the casinos, restarted its campaign that runs through the winter with messages such as, “It takes more than a hurricane to stop us from doing what we do.”

The alliance has also debuted a holiday-themed 3-D light and sound show outside of Boardwalk Hall. The free show, called “Winter Sweet,” plays every half-hour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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