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February 28, 2024

Lamont names new CT tourism director as part of DECD restructuring

Rachel Lenda

Gov. Ned Lamont announced this week that he has named a veteran of the tourism and hospitality industry, Rachel Lenda, as the new director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism.
The position is not new, but the organizational structure is new. Previously, the tourism director reported to the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, according to Anthony Anthony, the state’s chief marketing officer.

Now, the tourism director and the state’s brand director both report to Anthony.

Lenda began her role on Jan. 16, succeeding Noelle Stevenson, who retired from the position in 2023.

Lenda previously held leadership roles at Hard Rock Café International and the Eastern Regional Tourism District. 

“With Rachel’s extensive background in the tourism industry and her forward-thinking approach, she is well equipped to lead Connecticut tourism toward sustained growth,” Lamont said. “Given the record-breaking numbers of the past two years, my optimism for the future of Connecticut’s tourism industry has never been stronger.”

A Connecticut native, Lenda said she looks forward to being “in a position to champion the state as a destination to visit.”

According to the announcement, her arrival coincides with record-breaking visitation to the state and to its tourism website,
In 2023, the state had nearly 68 million visitors, resulting in occupancy revenue of $1.2 billion – a 6.7% increase from the previous year, the announcement states.

Also, reached an all-time high of 9.4 million visitors – a 32% increase from the previous year, putting it among the top 10 most organically trafficked state tourism websites in the nation.

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