Tourist expenditures in Mercer County reached an all-time high — $1.08 billion — in 2011, according to a state study.

The figure represents a 10 percent increase over 2010, according to the results of the 2011 Economic Impact Study of Tourism in New Jersey, conducted by the state Division of Travel & Tourism.

The study results were published by the Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau (PRCVB), which is a program of the Princeton Chamber of Commerce.

“The Princeton Region welcomes nearly 2 million visitors each year, which positively impacts the collection of sales and occupancy taxes,” said chamber vice president Adam Perle.

He says tourism is important to the economic development of the Princeton region as well as the rest of central New Jersey. “In New Jersey, tourism is the third-largest business sector and employs one of every 10 residents.”

The Princeton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for an 18-municipality area that includes of all of Mercer County and parts of Middlesex and Somerset counties.

The PRCVB’s mission is to create strategic alliances in an effort to drive tourism, enhance economic development, and increase economic growth and impact in the Princeton region. The bureau receives funding from the state Division of Travel & Tourism.

“The PRCVB is thrilled to be the only state-accredited destination travel organization in Mercer County promoting the many assets of the Princeton region and Mercer County,” says Lori Rabon, chair of the PRCVB Steering Committee. “Our primary focus continues to be showcasing the region as a destination for both leisure and business travelers.”

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