There’s a sign that a crucial industry for New Jersey is regaining its momentum.

The New Jersey Conference on Tourism is underway in Atlantic City and the officials say the industry is on the rebound.Speaking at the Golden Nugget today, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno said tourists spending $38 billion on their visits to the Garden State in 2011. The new visitor expenditures are just shy of the all-time high of $39.5 billion reached in 2007 and are a 7 percent increase over 2010 figures.

In 2011, domestic visits to New Jersey jumped 14.6 percent, representing an increase in domestic trip volume from roughly 68 million visitors in 2010 to 80 million visitors in 2011. Out-of-state visitors, which drive New Jersey tourism revenue, accounted for 64 percent of all tourism revenue, followed by resident/in-state (25 percent), and international visitors (9 percent).

“Tourism is a critical economic engine for New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “It is an industry that continues to contribute significantly to the health of our communities by creating jobs and tax revenue. Clearly, 2011 was a good year for New Jersey’s tourism industry. By working together, we can build on last year’s success and strengthen our reputation as a premier travel destination.”