Diane Wieland

Cape May County Tourism Director Diane Wieland displays some of the promotions that tells about all the various distinctions travel magazines and organizations bestow on beach towns Monday, March 12. Wieland says this summer's strategy for Cape May County is to focus on getting return visitors and emphasizing the beaches. She is also working on a strategy to get visitors to come back in the fall.

Dale Gerhard

So, you’ve just unpacked your suitcase and have yet to spend your first full night in a Cape May County hotel.

Diane Wieland, head of the county’s department of tourism, is already trying to make sure you come back again in the fall.

With the help of a $21,000 grant from the state’s Division of Travel and Tourism, the county is busy working on what Wieland calls the “boomerang campaign.”

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The plan is to remind visitors while they are already here in the heat and height of summer that the county has plenty of offerings well beyond Labor Day.

“We have all these people here in the summer, and we wanted a way to bring them back,” Wieland said.

The county has launched a website,

fallforthejerseycape.com, and is working with local businesses to advertise fall specials, such as discounted room rates and package deals planned around fall events.

“The idea is you’re here in the summer, so come back again,” Wieland said.

In addition to the website, the campaign is making use of radio advertising, window clings that businesses can display inviting people back for the fall and social media to market the area’s post-Labor Day offerings.

Michael Kline, executive director of the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival is among those joining in the county’s effort.

The festival, in its second year, is slated to take place Nov. 8, 9 and 10 at Cape May Convention Hall and six other venues in Cape May City.

“I think I’m in agreement that Cape May and the Jersey Shore in general is equally beautiful in the off-season, if not more so,” Kline said. “We’ve got so many things to show off.”

Kline, who lives in West Cape May, said that Cape May, for instance, has a year-round economy with many businesses operating before and after the summer.

“That business is really, really important,” he said.

The festival drew visitors from 12 states last November, and they stayed multiple nights at local hotels while spending in local shops and restaurants.

He said about 2,000 people attended last year, and he’s hoping to double that figure this year.

The target in the off-season, Wieland said, is second homeowners and those not tied to a school-year calendar.

And Wieland said she can’t overemphasize the importance of the shoulder season, which a county survey found generates about 15 percent of the county’s tourism business, the total of which is valued at $5.2 billion.

Boomerang campaign

To learn more see, fallforthejerseycape.com

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