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Connecticut Office of Tourism Unveils 2003-2004 Strategic Plan

Includes new initiatives to draw tourists to state

HARTFORD, CONN. - November 12, 2002 - The 2003-2004 strategic marketing plan was approved today at the Connecticut Tourism Council meeting in Rocky Hill and released by the Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development. The plan outlines six new initiatives designed to increase awareness of Connecticut as a vacation destination and to increase visitation to the state.

New strategic initiatives for 2003-2004 include:

  1. Greater emphasis on attracting first-time leisure visitors:
    Connecticut Office of Tourism research indicates that leisure travelers to Connecticut are repeat visitors. Two out of three leisure visitors to Connecticut in 2001 had visited the state within the previous twelve months. This new initiative is intended to stimulate an increase in first-time trips in order to benefit from the trend for repeat visits.
  2.  Greater use of on-line marketing
    According to the Travel Industry of America, the majority of American leisure travelers use the Internet to plan a vacation. Of the visitors who sought information before coming to Connecticut last year, 50% used the Internet.
  3. Increased role in marketing to meeting and convention planners
    With current and planned increased meeting and convention capacity, Connecticut is in a position to capture a bigger share of this segment of the business travel market.
  4. Greater use of point-of-visitation communications materials
    Connecticut has many attractions that draw out-of-state visitors. Repeat and longer visits can be stimulated by displaying promotional materials in places frequented by large numbers of travelers.
  5. Increased promotion of value opportunities
    Consumers are more value-conscious today than they have been since the early 1990s, and travelers are looking for ways to stretch their travel dollar (Accenture Consulting).
  6. Assessment of leisure travel potential of the greater Boston market
    The greater Boston area is the second largest source of leisure visitors to Connecticut. Since 1995 there has been a 47% growth in trips from the Boston area.

"Leisure travel to Connecticut has increased by over half a million trips, up more than 10% over the past five years, compared to a 2% growth in national travel volume over the same period," explained Ed Dombroskas, executive director for the Connecticut Office of Tourism. "Our goals are to continue to leverage this market to build repeat visits on the leisure side; and given the new product coming into the market in the next few years, we intend to increase the visibility of the state as a destination for meetings and conventions."

"This new strategic plan is driven by our consumer research which tells us, among other things, who is coming to Connecticut and why. These findings and valuable input from the tourism industry influence our marketing direction for 2003," said Gregg Dancho, Connecticut Tourism Council marketing committee chair, and executive director of the Beardsley Zoo.

The Connecticut Office of Tourism will continue to build on successful core strategies: focusing on leisure travelers within easy driving distance to the state; focusing on the drive market with the greatest potential, the greater New York area; and focusing on the segment of the population with the greatest propensity to visit Connecticut, baby boomers with a special emphasis on travel decision-makers, women.

The strategic plan was prepared by the Office of Tourism with the assistance of marketing and public relations firms McLaughlin, DelVecchio & Casey, Inc. and Lou Hammond & Associates in conjunction with The O'Neal Group.

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 strategic marketing plan are available. Please contact Kathleen Goffa at 203-624-4151 x 30.


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