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2002 Tourism Intercept Study Measures Visitor Satisfaction

New research builds state's knowledge portfolio key to 2003 strategy

HARTFORD, CONN. - November 12, 2002 - At the Connecticut Tourism Council meeting in Rocky Hill today, the Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development, released results of a summer visitor intercept study conducted to better understand where tourists come from, who they are, why they visit and what they do when in Connecticut. This research will contribute to a valuable knowledge portfolio that the state is building to help it to develop strategies, monitor performance and respond to changing positions. The 2002 visitor intercept study is a quarterly survey, conducted at attractions statewide.

Findings indicate that the 1.4 million visitor parties, at participating sites during summer 2002, spent $1.01 billion on goods and services in Connecticut. Spending on lodging is the largest non-gaming category and represents 39% of average non-gaming spending. The average dollar amount spent on lodging rose 24% over summer 2001.

"The results from this research study enhance our market knowledge to give us a clear understanding of who our target consumers are and what they value in a Connecticut vacation," said Ed Dombroskas, executive director, Connecticut Office of Tourism. "We partnered with seventeen attractions to produce this report, and this collective effort enables us to share knowledge and build stronger and more effective partnerships with the industry."

The study conducted by Witan Intelligence Strategies in Avon, CT interviewed more than 1,200 visitors at seventeen sites during August 2002. Intercepts took place on weekdays and weekends. Results were weighted to accurately reflect attendance.

Which sites participated?
Northwest: Quassy Amusement Park, Litchfield area sites, Connecticut Welcome Center in Danbury.
Southwest: Maritime Aquarium, Yale University sites, Connecticut Welcome Center in Darien.
Northeast: Mark Twain House, New England Air Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum, Windham/Tolland sites.
Southeast: Essex Steamtrain & Riverboat, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America & the Sea, Westbrook Factory Stores, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Hammonasset Beach State Park & Rocky Neck Beach State Park.

Where did visitors come from?
Visitors to Connecticut came from Massachusetts and Rhode Island (23%), the New York / New Jersey region (19%), Maine / New Hampshire / Vermont (5%). Half of all parties included at least one Connecticut resident.

Which visitors spent the most?
Out-of-state visitors spent more money in Connecticut than in-state vacationers. 62% of visitor parties included residents from out-of-state and 71% of those said they were highly likely to return. Over $1 billion was spent by the 1.4 million visitor parties, from participating sites. Parties spent an average of $712 per visit.

What did they want from their getaway?
Most vacationers came to Connecticut to have fun (82%). Other reasons tourists visited were to "do something with the kids" (79%) and "relax and recharge" (69%).

What did visitors do while in Connecticut?
Gaming accounted for 57% of activities, followed closely by shopping at 55%. Sightseeing, visiting beaches, museums and historic places were also mentioned as excursions enjoyed by tourists. 17% of parties interviewed indicated that they engaged in activities outside the attraction at which they were intercepted.

Tourism is a significant economic driver for Connecticut. The $5 billion industry, excluding gaming receipts, employs nearly 90,000 residents statewide and provides jobs for 4.3% of the state's workforce. Tourism research publications are available from the Connecticut Office of Tourism. Residents and prospective visitors to Connecticut can receive a free 2002 Vacation Guide, Calendar of Events and 52 Getaways Map by calling the 1-800-CTBOUND Tourism Information Hotline (1-800-282-6863) or logging on to www.ctbound.org.

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Note to Editors: Highlights of the intercept report are available. Please contact Kathleen Goffa at 203-624-4151 x 30.


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