Officials to promote benefits of tourism industry in CT on Wednesday

Tourism industry representatives and advocates will be in Hartford on Wednesday for Connecticut Tourism Day at the Capitol.

Hospitality and leisure industry employees and supporters will promote the importance of statewide tourism marketing funding and regional tourism district funding.

Expected to attend will be representatives of hotels, B&B's, attractions, and the arts-and-entertainment field.

Officials from the Connecticut Lodging Association (CLA) said they support full funding for tourism in Connecticut, describing such spending as “an essential revenue stream, not expenditure.”

‘Intense competition’

“The current $12 million investment in state tourism marketing supports the recently launched tourism campaign from 2012,” states a CLA press release. “Continued marketing is the only way Connecticut will be successful in an industry where there is intense competition nationwide.”

CLA officials are concerned about tourism-related cuts in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed 2015-16 budget.

“The proposed budget currently drops this investment to $10 million, as well as de-funds the three regional tourism districts all together, including the Eastern Regional Tourism District, Central Regional Tourism District, and Western CT Convention & Visitors Bureau,” according to the release.

Regional tourism districts, CLA officials said, provide “every Connecticut town a direct voice in decisions regarding marketing tourism in their community and their region, prominently promotes small business, as well as provides essential input and services on an ongoing basis to the State Office of Tourism.”

Creates jobs, generates revenue

According to statistics cited by the CLA, tourism has many economic benefits for the state, generating $14 billion in traveler spending in 2013, which was up 3% from 2012.

The $32 million investment in tourism marketing since 2012 has generated $393 million in revenue, and the industry has added 17,600 jobs added since the recession started in March 2008. The industry now support about 156,000 jobs.

With the 15% state occupancy tax, the lodging industry produces revenue well beyond what is spent on tourism marketing, the CLA said.