Survey: Positive views of Atlantic City up in 2013

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The second year of the "Do AC" promotional campaign helped increase positive perceptions of Atlantic City among residents of nearby states, even as concerns remained about the safety and cleanliness of the seaside gambling resort.

In a report released Thursday, the Atlantic City Alliance says a survey of 3,600 people in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., found 54 percent would recommend Atlantic City to their friends as a place to visit. That represents an increase of 17 percent over 2012 survey results.

"It's about the pervasive, ongoing message of Atlantic City being open for business and a great place to visit," said Liza Cartmell, the group's president. "Once they're here, they're going to like what they see and they're going to come back."

The survey found a central theme of Atlantic City's marketing efforts — that the city offers more to do than just gambling — is well-known in the Northeast. The survey found 85 percent knew there is "more than gambling" here, and 88 percent said they feel there is "a variety of appealing activities."

Another 58 percent said they intend to visit Atlantic City, an increase of 21 percent over 2012.

But the survey also found three-quarters of respondents don't consider Atlantic City "a safe place" or "very clean," though both scores improved from 2012.

The survey was done by a private company hired by the Atlantic City Alliance.

The alliance is an agency funded by a $30 million annual contribution from the 11 casinos to market and promote Atlantic City to potential visitors. That money used to go to the state's horse racing tracks as a subsidy in return for the tracks not offering slot machines or other forms of casino gambling, but Gov. Chris Christie ended it three years ago as part of a plan to help turn around Atlantic City.

The alliance last year took out 211 print ads, 5,000 television ads and 16,000 radio ads to promote Atlantic City.

It noted national TV exposure the resort got last year with the return of the Miss America pageant to Atlantic City, and a segment of "The Bachelorette" reality TV show filmed here. This year, shows that will broadcast segments filed in Atlantic City will include "Good Morning America," ''My Family Recipe Rocks with Joey Fatone," and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

The alliance also hired an outside company to evaluate media coverage of Atlantic City, finding that "positive" coverage increased by 95 percent in 2013, while "negative" coverage declined by 28 percent. Positive coverage spiked in September when the Miss America pageant was being held.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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