Tourism promoters and members of the Christie administration have been saying for months that tourism was down last year as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

But Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno told the state’s annual tourism conference Thursday in Atlantic City that 2013 was actually a banner year.

She says tourism spending topped $40 billion, beating the previous high set in 2012.

Her claim contradicts statements made just last month by Michele Brown, the state economic development chief, at hearings on Sandy. She said 2013’s tourism numbers were slightly below the 2012 figure.

Tourism promoters also told a legislative hearing in December that the governor’s “Stronger than the Storm” campaign came too late to save the first post-Sandy summer.

Guadagno says she could not explain the discrepancies.

Photo Credit: People walk past open attractions along the newly rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J., Saturday, May 18, 2013. Visitors to the Jersey shore this Memorial Day weekend will find many of their favorite beaches and boardwalks ready for summer, thanks to a massive rebuilding effort after Superstorm Sandy. While several neighborhoods remain damaged, all but one of the storm-wrecked boardwalks should be ready for Memorial Day weekend, and amusement rides will still be available from Keansburg to Wildwood. Most beaches will be open, despite losing sand during the storm. Mel Evans / Associated Press