Since we are apparently selling beach tags for a dollar this year, Cape May City council will not be able to fund the Welcome Center.
Welcome centers are often one of the first places tourists stop if they have not previously visited the town. Here in Cape May, the welcome center has been managed and staffed by the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May since 2007.
The Chamber of Commerce’s leadership sought the city’s support in earnest this year, requesting that the city underwrite the operating costs of the Welcome Center. This started with private meetings in January, was followed up with written correspondence on multiple occasions, and culminated with a public appearance at the City Council work session on May 7th.
Operating the welcome center, costs the Chamber of commerce roughly $34,000 annually after adjusting for what revenue it may generate. Although no formal arrangements were ever made, the Chamber always held that the city of Cape May should subsidize the Welcome Center as it provides a service to the city as a whole. This service in most other destinations would be handled by a municipality or a Convention and Visitor bureau.
Our Welcome Center staff are some of the most affable people in Cape May. Each year they greet close to 100,000 visitors to Cape May who walk through the Center’s door after stepping off tour busses or Ferry transportation. Whether here for the day or for an extended visit, visitors have questions about places to stay, eat and shop.” They come for the day and some stay for extended visits.
Here’s the rub. It isn’t that the City of Cape May is or is not willing to assist in funding the Welcome Center operations. The fact is that they don’t seem to have the courtesy or the ability to at least acknowledge correspondence, and that is just inhospitable.