Connecticut tourism is on the rise

Connecticut officials say the state’s $22 million tourism marketing campaign during the past 18 months has increased tourism spending and positive awareness of Connecticut as a place to visit.

Since its inception, the state’s “Still Revolutionary” marketing campaign has reached target consumers in key markets with its message nearly 646 million times, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Tourism Office officials.

“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,” Malloy said.

He said promoting tourism lets “employers and tourists alike know our state is a great place to live, work and visit.”

State viewed as ‘inviting’ and ‘unique’

According to a study conducted by the strategic research firm Harrison Group, Connecticut’s tourism push has generated dramatic shifts in perception about the state, with survey respondents seeing Connecticut as a more inviting, welcoming, unique and engaging place.

In addition:

— 53% 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.

— Traffic to (the state’s official tourism website) has increased 70% from the past year, and is up 215% since 2011 (prior to the launch of the “Still Revolutionary” campaign).

— State lodging revenue is up 8.5% since the same time last year — outpacing U.S. averages and the New England states combined.

‘A more positive reputation’

“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, state tourism director.

“It’s critical that we continue to maximize this momentum and bring new visitors to the state,” Fiveash said.

Increased social media presence

More people across the country are tapping into Connecticut’s social media channels, which now boast a community of more than 190,000 across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, according to state officials.

After starting 2012 at No. 44 nationally, the state’s Facebook page now No. 14 nationally and virtually tied for No 1 in New England, state officials said.

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

For more information on Connecticut events, 52 getaway ideas and tourism deals, visit

Many new attractions and events

The state should benefit from new attractions and events. These include:

— The new Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort in Middlefield, with skiing, snowboarding (the only full-size half pipe in Connecticut), mountain biking and upscale restaurant.

— The first annual 4B Festival, featuring craft beer, bourbon, barbecue and bacon, at the Old Trolley Barn in New Haven.

— Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, the concert and dining venue in Norfolk, will open a second, larger location in downtown Hartford’s Front Street District.

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

— The 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark and the last wooden whaleship in the world, will visit historic ports in New England this summer.

— Lake Compounce will open its own campground, Bear Creek Campground, this June. It 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 State Department of Economic and Community Development will organize hundreds of activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Connecticut’s state parks.