TRENTON, N.J. – Lt. Governor Guadagno announced the Christie Administration has appointed tourism industry leader, Jake Buganski, as the Acting Executive Director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism.
“I am confident Jake’s robust professional industry background will greatly benefit the growth of New Jersey Travel and Tourism,” said Guadagno, who also serves as Secretary of State. “The tourism industry plays a crucial role in supporting the economy in New Jersey. By making a permanent appointment to this position, the Administration is showing its continued support in making New Jersey one of the best travel destinations in the country.”
Buganski currently holds the position of President of Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes / Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau, in upstate New York. Prior to this position, he served as the Executive Director of Visit South Jersey – one of the State’s official Destination Marketing Organizations. Moreover, Buganski’s 12 years in the industry include eight years in leadership roles and significant advocacy work.
“Jake has been a strong voice for tourism,” said Jim Kirkos, President and CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce and former member of the Destination Marketing Association International's board of directors. “In New Jersey, he helped to advance some difficult policy discussions, and it will be good to have his voice at the state level.”
Tourism is New Jersey’s seventh largest industry, generating $43.4 billion in total economic impact and employing more than a half million people in the state. With nearly half of the state’s tourism spending occurring in counties along the Jersey Shore, maintaining New Jersey’s heritage as a beach destination will be an important part of Buganski’s job, along with promoting tourism destinations around the entire Garden State.
Tammie Horsfield, President of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, is looking forward to working with Buganski.
“Jake has made a name for himself in the Destination Marketing Organization world as a leader, hard worker, and young professional with a leadership style that excites and encourages others working with him,” Horsfield said. “He brings to the job enthusiasm, wonderful people skills, and has a great work ethic. He is career focused and I believe he is a great choice for the job.”
Diane Wieland, Director of Tourism for Cape May County, is also encouraged by the appointment.
“Jake has been a leader in the New Jersey tourism industry and understands the positive impact of the Destination Marketing Organizations, and their importance in promoting all aspects of tourism in the state. Jake brings a solid tourism background to the position and has garnered knowledge and experience working in the trenches with statewide tourism leaders. He will provide strong leadership and be an outstanding representative for tourism in New Jersey,” Wieland said. “I look forward to working with him and the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism as we continue to strengthen and grow the industry in all 21 counties.”