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RESEARCH FINDINGS UNDERSCORE CONNECTICUT'S STRATEGIC INVESTMENT IN TOURISM MARKETING

Highlights of research studies measuring the impact of tourism in Connecticut:
Connecticut is registering as a tourism destination with more people than ever before, and when they visit they spend significant dollars in-state.

  • Spending of typical out-of-state travel party: $603 and typical CT resident party: $342.
  • Rise in the recognition that Connecticut has "lots to do": 17% in 2000, 27% in 2001 and 38% in 2002.
  • 73% of recent visitors say they are highly likely to return to Connecticut within the next two years.
  • Connecticut residents are important tourists spending tourism time and dollars in-state and hosting out-of-state guests. 43% of travel parties include only Connecticut residents.

HARTFORD, CONN. - April 11, 2002 - Results of recent research studies commissioned by the Connecticut Office of Tourism measure changes in awareness and perception of the State and capture satisfaction with visitor experience. Findings indicate that the Connecticut Office of Tourism's $6.2 million dollar "Full of Surprises" campaign for 2001 generated $254 million in direct tourism spending from the New York market. This represents a $41 return for every dollar spent. Findings from the research studies will direct marketing strategies, increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts and help tourism officials understand and measure the economic impact of tourism.

One survey, the 9th annual New York market area Conversion Study conducted during December 2001 measures the effectiveness of selected media by analyzing campaign inquiries and comparing data to previous years. A random sample of 700 participants who in the past year phoned, mailed or emailed the Office of Tourism for travel information completed the telephone survey. Over 240,000 requests for information were fulfilled during 2001, a 12% increase over the previous year. Of those inquirers 53% of inquirer households converted or visited the state during the year, up 3% over the previous year. Survey findings confirm that the Office of Tourism's web site is an important vehicle for communicating information about the state. 44% of all inquirers visited www.ctbound.org to gain information, up three-fold from 2000. In the past year the Office of Tourism web site has undergone significant improvements to increase its appeal to consumers by promoting short getaways and incorporating interactive features such as customizable itineraries.

Findings from a Perceptual Tracking Study conducted during January 2002 will help tourism officials identify motives for getaway travel, understand visitors' preferred activities and measure perceptions of the state. The telephone survey targeted random households in the New York market area and questioned couples or families who have taken a getaway trip in the past two years. The study reveals that visiting friends and family is a primary driver motivating travel with 70% of households interviewed taking some trips to visit friends and family. More than half (52%) have visited friends and family in Connecticut in the last two years demonstrating the need to market in-state to residents as well. The study also helps qualify how people like to spend their leisure time on a getaway trip. Cultural heritage activities are important pastimes for both couples and people traveling with children. While families seek out activities near water, theme parks and outdoor recreation. As a result of the survey findings the Office of Tourism's marketing plan will continue to focus on developing short getaway experiences that deliver, in a very tangible way, on the promise that "Connecticut is Full of Surprises".

Six focus groups were conducted in the fall in the Greater New York target market area with members of Connecticut's primary target audience, baby boomer women (age 35-54). The objective of the focus groups was to explore attitudes toward travel and the state of Connecticut. Findings from the focus groups suggest that there is a strong emotional motivation to taking a getaway trip, many participants seek a change of pace and an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. Feedback indicates that the 52-getaways concept is a device that opens peoples' eyes to the wealth of things Connecticut has to offer. For consumers the 52-getaways developed by the Office of Tourism translate into variety and choice.

The Connecticut Office of Tourism launched a new syndicated research effort in 2001 in which properties and destinations were invited to participate. The Connecticut Tourist Intercept Study gathers information about the profile, motivations, behavior and spending patterns of leisure visitors to Connecticut throughout the year. Intercept interviews were conducted at participating attractions and venues in two waves during the summer and fall of 2001 with over 1,000 interviews completed per wave and continues through 2002.

Focus groups were led and directed by New Haven-based McLaughlin, DelVecchio & Casey, Inc., the Office of Tourism's marketing and in-state public relations agency in conjunction with The O'Neal Group. Witan Intelligence Strategies in Avon, CT conducted the conversion study, perceptual tracking study and intercept studies. Tourism is a significant economic driver for Connecticut; the $5 billion industry 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 and calendar of events by calling the 1-800-CTBOUND Tourism Information Hotline (1-800-282-6863) or logging on to www.ctbound.org.

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Fresh Air & Fun on the Farm


  1. Pack a picnic and hike up Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury, Rte. 185. Climb the tower for a panoramic view! Then go west to Route 10 and north to see three centuries of history at the Phelps Homestead Plantation. Find a farmhouse to stay overnight-se...

    More Info


 

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