CT tourism generates tax revenue with a ‘B’ as well as jobs, jobs, jobs

Tourism is big business in Connecticut. It creates jobs, generates income and raises tax revenue.

A new economic impact study of the tourism industry shows that it generated $14 billion in total sales in 2013 in Connecticut, representing a 3% increase from the prior year.

The study also shows that tourism supports more than 118,000 jobs statewide — including 80,000 direct jobs. This is 5.3% of all employment in the state.

"To provide a sense of scale, one of nearly 20 jobs in Connecticut is supported by visitor spending,” said Randy Fiveash, Connecticut Office of Tourism director.

Approximately 5,000 new jobs have been created in the industry since the end of the recession.

The economic impact study was conducted by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company and research firm.  It was commissioned by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and in partnership with its Office of Tourism.

“From incredible parks and green space, to great beaches and attractions, Connecticut’s economy benefits significantly from tourism,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.

Highlighting tourism venues

In addition to the direct economic impact generated by attractions, hotels, restaurants and other destinations, visitor spending benefits the entire state with $1.6 billion in tax revenue, including $513.4 million in state taxes and $344.6 million in local taxes.

According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, lodging occupancy tax generated $105 million, a $3-million increase from 2012.

“With the Connecticut ‘Still Revolutionary’ campaign, we’ve showcased thousands of our tourism venues through our advertising, public relations and social media efforts, and it’s clear that visitors are responding,” said DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith.

Awareness is up

Since Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” marketing efforts launched in 2012, awareness of Connecticut’s attractions and destinations has continued to grow.

Of the survey respondents who have seen the state’s advertising campaign, the number of people who say Connecticut has “lots of things to see and do” has doubled, and the number of people who perceive Connecticut as “a great place to spend time with children” and “rest and relax” has increased by more than 50% as well.

Visitors from coast-to-coast also continue to engage via Connecticut’s social media channels, which now boast a community of nearly 240,000 across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

Campaign launch

The next iteration of the Connecticut “Still Revolutionary” campaign kicks off in late April and will continue to highlight the state’s broad range of activities, targeting residents within Connecticut, as well as surrounding major cities including Boston, New York and Philadelphia, to visit the state.

The state’s official tourism website, www.CTvisit.com, provided travel advice to 3 million visitors during 2014 – a number that has more than doubled since 2012.

Additionally, the state’s tourism e-newsletter reaches more than 350,000 subscribers monthly and features news about Connecticut getaways, deals, activities and events statewide.