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NJBIA testified in support of a package of bills on Thursday that are designed to boost tourism, support state businesses that depend on it, and help the industry plan and capitalize on the major cultural and global sporting events coming to New Jersey in 2026.

NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz said it was important to focus on tourism planning now because MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands will be one of 16 North American venues to host matches in soccer’s 2026 men’s World Cup. The year 2026 is also the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution and that will draw thousands to New Jersey.

“Tourism is an important industry, and it’s especially important now when businesses are hurting from inflation and workforce shortages,” Emigholz said. “NJBIA supports these bills to promote tourism, plan for its growth and capitalize on the major events that will be happening in 2026 at the Meadowlands and the state’s various Revolutionary War historical sites.”

Lawmakers voted unanimously to release the four-bill package during a special joint meeting of the Assembly Tourism, Gaming & the Arts Committee and the Assembly Agriculture & Food Security Committee. The bills, all sponsored by Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16) are:

  • A-5097 – Establishes a tourism attraction trail sign program and historic site and historic district sign program.
  • A-5098 – Establishes new tourism regions for Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey, as well as subregions.
  • A-5100 – Eliminates the Tourism Policy Council; requires updated tourism master plan; requires specific tourism data, research, and marketing; and requires an annual report.
  • A-5209 – Establishes an Agritourism Fund and appropriates $2.5 million to link agricultural production or processing with tourism to attract visitors to farms, ranches, wineries, breweries, or other agricultural businesses for the purposes of entertainment or education.