New Jersey’s shore, which for years has claimed it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is getting a public relations boost by having them featured with some of the most beautiful models in the world.

The Sports Illustrated 2014 swimsuit issue, with includes a print and online edition, sent three of those models to beaches in Wildwood, Cape May, Cape May Point, Seaside Heights and Island Beach State Park for the 50th anniversary edition. Several advertisements feature beach scenes in both Atlantic City and Cape May Point.

“It’s wonderful publicity. It’s exposure money can’t buy,” said Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. “They have 70 million viewers and it’s just not national, it’s global.”

The chamber, working with the state Division of Travel and Tourism, began negotiations in July to bring models Gigi Hadid, Hannah Davis and Sara Sampaio to the area. Shooting began after Labor Day. Congress Hall hotel in Cape May acted as host.

Sports Illustrated wanted to show the beauty of the New Jersey shore after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, and the “Jersey Strong” theme is featured throughout.

Doreen Talley, marketing director for the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May, said one bonus is it helps Cape May continue to draw a younger market. The city used to draw a demographic of ages 55 to 65, and Talley said the Internet has already changed that to age 35-65.

“Our demographic is getting younger. They’re coming because they’re seeing things on the tablets, on the Internet. Anything that puts Cape May in a positive light is good press for us,” Talley said.

Pictures were taken on the beach, Washington Street Mall and at Congress Hall. There are also beach scenes in Cape May Point and at several locations in Wildwood, including under the iconic Wildwood beach-ball sign.

“It was one of the more difficult tasks to have to show them around,” joked Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano, adding: “It’s nice to have that kind of publicity. A lot of people look at that magazine.”

The models, Troiano said, changed their bathing suits on location, stepping into a large “hula hoop with cloth” to be as discreet as possible.

“They changed 15 to 20 times,” Troiano said.

The region markets the beaches as family friendly and Clark said the bathing suits featured in the Jersey shore section were “the kind you would see on our beaches.”

Contact Richard Degener:

609-463-6711