Connecticut Kicks Off Tourism Season, Strong Year For Visitation Predicted

On the strength of data compiled in a survey produced mainly by two Newtowners, Governor Dannel Malloy announced that the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and its Office of Tourism’s “Still Revolutionary” campaign is paying off in a revolutionary way.

The governor said that new tracking results demonstrate the $22 million Statewide Tourism Marketing Fund investment over the course of 18 months has generated measurable gains in overall tourism spending to the state and has helped increase positive awareness of Connecticut as a place to visit.

Since its inception, “Still Revolutionary,” the state’s award-winning marketing campaign, has reached target consumers in key markets with its message nearly 646 million times.

“Tourism has always been a good investment for the state — it is a sector that generates billions in spending and represents more than 100,000 jobs for residents,” said Gov Malloy at a February 11 press conference. “The positive numbers we have seen since the launch of ‘Still Revolutionary’ demonstrate the effectiveness of this campaign.”

Gov Malloy said Connecticut will continue making strategic investments, with a focus on the long-term, to promote all the state has to offer, “and let employers and tourists alike know our state is a great place to live, work, and visit.”

According to a study conducted by strategic research firm Harrison Group, the effort is estimated to have generated dramatic shifts in perception about the state, with survey respondents seeing Connecticut as a more inviting, welcoming, unique, and engaging place.

Newtowners Doug Harrison and Jack Weber were the company principals who did most of the work on the survey and data analysis, according to Paul Lundquist, another local resident and officer with the firm.

In addition, the survey analyses indicated that:

*53 percent of people who saw the campaign ads are interested in visiting, claim to have visited or plan to visit as a result of seeing the ads — and $219 million was directly linked to the state’s new marketing efforts.

*Traffic to CTvisit.com, the state’s official tourism website, has increased dramatically — up 70 percent over the same time last year, and up 215 percent since the launch of the campaign.

*In 2013, the number of website visitors through August surpassed the total number of visitors for all of 2012.

*Travel counseling assistance is also up — with 55 percent more potential visitors in 2013 compared to 2012. Travel assistance includes traditional inquiries, web traffic, and counseling in state welcome centers.

*State lodging revenue is up 8.5 percent since the same time last year — outpacing US averages and the New England states combined.

“For the past two years, we’ve been investing in tourism and it’s working — we’ve seen increases in jobs, tourism spending, and a more positive reputation for the state,” said Randy Fiveash, director of tourism. “It’s critical that we continue to maximize this momentum and bring new visitors to the state. The exciting lineup of new offerings will help do just that.”

People from across the country also continue to flock to Connecticut’s social media channels, which now boast a community of more than 190,000 across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. After starting 2012 ranked at 44 nationally, the state’s Facebook page is now ranked 14 nationally and virtually tied for number one in New England.

The state’s tourism eNewsletter now reaches more than 580,000 opt-in subscribers monthly with news about Connecticut getaways, deals, activities, and events statewide.

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DEEP) has also extended hundreds of activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state parks.

“We think Still Revolutionary is a smart campaign that is effective in helping to drive tourism to the state,” said Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer, Mohegan Sun. “It shows that Connecticut is fresh and innovative, while maintaining the cultural gravitas and roots of our revolutionary past.”

For more information on Connecticut’s revolutionary past and present, events, 52 getaway ideas and great deals, visit CTvisit.com. Join the community on social media by becoming a fan/follower via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.



New Sites, More Tourists 

Governor Dannel Malloy recently announced that a survey related to Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism campaign show outreach efforts to draw sightseers to the state is working. Among the new attractions and events Connecticut officials believe will increase tourism traffic in 2014 are:

*The brand-new Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield, home to 20 feature-rich trails for all skill levels, complete with log-style rails, cascading jumps, and the only full-size half pipe in Connecticut. The park will also be opening Fire at the Ridge, where renowned chef Kevin Cottle, who competed on the hit show Hell’s Kitchen, will create regional cuisine. This year-round destination also offers miles of trails for spring, summer, and fall mountain biking.

*This March, the first annual 4B Festival, featuring specially curated beer, bourbon, barbecue, and bacon, will be brought to life at The Old Trolley Barn in New Haven. The event will be one of the state’s largest indoor events that will provide a wide sampling of drinks and meats.

*Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, the popular dining and concert venue in Norfolk, will be opening a second, larger location in Hartford’s Front Street District. The hall will include a bistro for dining, as well as unique intimate musical experiences.

*Launch Trampoline Park in Hartford, opened by former New England Patriots football player Ty Law, includes a 15,000-square-foot literal launch pad that includes wall to wall trampolines, foam pit, basketball hoops, and dodge ball.

*This summer the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark and the last wooden whaleship in the world, will start its 38th voyage to historic ports in New England. The three-month journey will begin in the Mystic River on May 17 and will be the first time the ship has been below the Mystic River Bascule Bridge since she arrived at Mystic Seaport in 1941.

*Lake Compounce will be launching its very own campground, Bear Creek Campground, this June. The campground will include 20 cabins, 56 RV sites, and 50 tent sites.

*The Connecticut Antiques Trail is a new statewide trail of antique shops and centers. The Office of Tourism will debut a new website, roadway signage, and marketing efforts to support the trail this spring.

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