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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Not even Superstorm Sandy could wash away an historic tourist season last year in New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie said tourism accounted for nearly $40 billion, up from $38 billion in 2011.

About 82.5 million visitors came to New Jersey last year, an increase of nearly 5 percent over 2011 levels.

The storm hit on Oct. 29, after the summer tourism season had ended. Many tourism-related businesses and shore communities said good weather during the summer led to a good season through Labor Day weekend.

Christie says the positive tourism numbers are tempered by the need to rebuild tourist destinations like the Jersey Shore that were damaged by Sandy.

Tourism is New Jersey’s third-largest industry, after pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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