The dollar remains weak and the economy sluggish. As a result, New Jersey has become a popular shopping destination for international tourists in search of bargains.

“The average tourist comes here and they spend six and seven hours versus a regular, traditional shopper who may stop in for twenty minutes or an hour,” said Denise Palazzo, General Manager of The Outlet Collection Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth. “We work with tour operators and companies overseas and in the states to get the name of the mall out there, so tourists can see the value of the center and the merchants that we carry.”

Prices help drive shoppers to the Garden State as well. For example, an electronic device that may cost $1,000 here may be $3,000 overseas. Shoppers from 165 countries have been to The Outlet Collection this year alone.

In fact, foreign shoppers account for 25 to 30 percent of the mall’s visitors. “Some of our top visitors come from Brazil, Israel, Canada, Germany, Spain and Ireland,” said Palazzo. “Location is key for us. We are 15 miles outside of Manhattan, right near Newark Liberty International Airport, we have the New Jersey Turnpike right here as well.”

“We work with hotels in Manhattan and concierge services there to promote our mall. We also have an airport shuttle that goes to the airport to bring shoppers here,” said Palazzo. “What we have also found is that many tourists will plan a vacation to New York and part of their plan is to shop and being that we’re an outlet center, that makes us very enticing. Some overseas customers actually plan annual shopping trips. But, In order to attract international shoppers, there has to be a combination of good stores, easy access to transportation and other things to do besides shopping. This area has all of that with the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan and Great Adventure just to name a few.”