April 30, 2012 | last updated June 4, 2012 12:08 pm
TOURISM TIME

Malloy, marketing team to unveil tourism plan

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
For the 2010 Conference on Tourism, organizers complained about the state’s lack of funding for tourism.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Connecticut's contract marketing team will unveil their state tourism promotion strategy at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism on May 17 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

When Malloy took office in 2011, he bumped the statewide tourism marketing budget to $15 million, up from the single dollar allocated during the final years of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's administration. With the extra money, Malloy wants to boost the state tourism industry, bolstering the economy with the dollars brought by out-of-state visitors.

As part of that plan, Connecticut launched a two-year marketing initiative in January, signing a $22 million contract with New York City marketing firm Chowder Inc. to bolster the state's reputation as a tourism and business destination.

Connecticut companies working with Chowder include South Norwalk-based Media Storm and Waterbury research firm The Harrison Group.

At the Connecticut Conference on Tourism, Malloy — the keynote speaker — will discuss his vision for the future of Connecticut tourism. Chowder then will present its plans for the new branding initiative and marketing strategy for the state.

A major component of the Chowder research to date is Connecticut residents and visitors telling their favorite stories about the state, which are being collected via the state's tourism Web site.

These stories will be the basis of the new Connecticut brand.

The Connecticut tourism industry generates $11.5 billion for businesses annually and $1.2 billion in state and local taxes, according to the University of Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis.

Other topics at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism include travel and leisure trends; international visitor growth opportunities; group travel and conferences; destination marketing; online marketing strategies; and customer service.

For information on the conference, visit www.celebratetourism.com.

NATHAN HALE HOMESTEAD TO OPEN

Connecticut Landmarks' Nathan Hale Homestead will celebrate the Town of Coventry's 300th anniversary when it opens for the season on Friday, May 18, by playing host to a weekend-long Fiber Arts Festival.

Spinners, knitters, weavers, quilters and other artisans will share their work and visitors can join scores of fiber artists of all skill levels, as the Homestead holds a giant sewing bee. Hours for Fiber Fest are Friday, May 18th, 1-6 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, May 19th & 20th, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The event is free, but donations are accepted.

Fiber Fest is being held in conjunction with the 300 Years of Coventry Quilts exhibition at the Coventry Historical Society's Strong Porter House on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. (rain date for the exhibition is Sunday). Admission is $5 per person.

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NEW WATERBURY CATERER

La Bella Vista, a Waterbury catering business, has opened at the Ponte Club.

The venue specializes in a variety of events that can accommodate parties ranging in size from 50 to 600 and includes an expansive patio with a granite fountain, grand foyer and a sweeping stairway leading to private bridal suites. The banquet facilities are open to the public and offer both indoor and outdoor accommodations.


Tourism on Twitter

Twitter is playing an increasing role in the tourism and news industries. Tourism Time will provide some of the CT tourism Twitter handles worth knowing:

@CTvisit Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism

@TwainHouse The Mark Twain House & Museum

@MoheganSun Mohegan Sun resort casino

@CTScienceCenter Connecticut Science Center

@CT_Shoreline Connecticut Out & About, state events guide

To submit an item for Tourism Time, first tweet us @TourismHBJ.

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