Local tourism officials hope chowder tasting and other summer and offseason seashore food and drink delights at Bay Village will go a long way toward enticing tour leaders to book trips to Long Beach Island. The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce has been working to re-introduce motorcoach and larger overnight group tours to the LBI region. A recent chance to spotlight Chowderfest and other attractions took place at Bay Village in Beach Haven.
Working with tourism colleagues from Atlantic City, the regional chamber was invited to participate in the June 9 leg of the Travel Alliance Partners “Tap Dance” tour that was hosted by the Atlantic City marketing arm Meet AC.
“With authentic experience being important for groups of all sizes; the chamber pitched a private Chowderfest tasting and shellfish sustainability tour to familiarize 13 prominent group leaders from across the country with the area’s distinctive beach culture,” said Lori Pepenella, CEO of the chamber and the accredited Destination Marketing Organization that represents the region.
“We have been successful in the past attracting motorcoach groups of 50 or more with a full itinerary for them to add onto an existing trip that takes them through the state,” Pepenella said.
Tour groups can help fill the midweek days in the summer as well as the pre- and post-peak “shoulder” seasons.
The visiting leaders enjoyed a tour and pour at Ship Bottom Brewery; discussed the importance of repopulating shellfish and saw baby clams from ReClam the Bay; and got a 30th anniversary Chowderfest preview.
Chowder tasting was provided by Country Kettle Chowda, where the group sampled Red, White and Creative types and voted for their favorite soup. The tour also included a spice demo from Spice It Up.
Guests watched elephant ears being made at Crust and Crumb Bakery (and enjoyed the finished product) and took part in a fudge-making demonstration by Country Kettle Fudge.
The Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce serves as the regional DMO working as a liaison with national tourism partners, media and the NJ Tourism Industry Association. —M.S.