John Seitter

has been a lover of history his entire adult life. Now, he's in a position to preserve and promote South Jersey's history, not only for people today but also for generations to come.

In October, he was named president of South Jersey Tourism Corp., taking over from Judi London, who left to become chief marketing officer for Winning Strategies of Newark.

Seitter was promoted from director of product development for the corporation, which he joined in 2003. He previously worked as executive director of the Camden County Historical Society, based at Pomona Hall in Camden. He began his historical career working for the National Park Service at the Edgar Allan Poe House in Philadelphia.

Seitter, 50, of Gloucester City, also teaches American history part time at Rutgers and serves as cochairman of the New Jersey State Heritage Tourism Task Force.


Why did you leave the historical society in Camden to work for the tourism corporation?


I asked myself, did I want to save one historical site, or did I want to try to save them all? Many of our historic sites in South Jersey are such important assets, and they're understaffed, undeveloped and underfunded. By promoting them, we're hoping they'll be preserved and interpreted for future generations.


What are some of your immediate goals as the new president of the tourism corporation?


With so many visitors and residents utilizing the Internet to plan trips, we are working to improve and expand our Web site,


. Thanks to a grant from the New Jersey Historic Trust, we are working with the Burlington County Historical Society and the City of Burlington to research and develop a series of professionally guided walking tours that tell the stories of that municipality's tremendous past. SJTC hopes that this project will be a model for other towns to help them utilize their history as a tool to increase the economic impact of tourism in the state. We are also working on a project funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge and William Penn Foundations to launch an interactive Web site highlighting South Jersey's treasure trove of outdoor resources.


Given South Jersey's diverse offerings, name a few of your favorite places to visit.


Fort Mott in Salem County is a great place to have a picnic. Red Bank Battlefield is a beautifully scenic location that was the site of an American Revolutionary battle. The Battleship New Jersey, the Peter Mott House, Harleigh Cemetery, Smithville Mansion, and the Old Barracks in Trenton are just a few of my other favorite history haunts.


With the many main streets throughout South Jersey, what are some of the best places to shop for unique gifts?

A: Haddonfield, Collingswood, Burlington, Princeton, Mount Holly, Medford and Bordentown all offer great shopping and dining.


What are your long-term goals for the South Jersey Tourism Corp.?


Through professional marketing and product development, the South Jersey Tourism Corp. is dedicated to increasing the economic impact of tourism in Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties. Right now, tourism statewide saves every household almost $1,300 per year in taxes, and visitors spend over $500 per trip. Our job is to increase those already impressive numbers. Secondly, we are blessed with a wide array of attractions, historic and natural assets, which are complemented by first-class lodging, shopping and dining. By increasing the economic impact of these resources, our goal is to guarantee that they are preserved for future generations.