The Tourism Industry
in Eastern Connecticut
Needs Your Help
Last year the Connecticut legislature approved funding for the Eastern Regional Tourism District/Mystic Country for Fiscal Year 2017. In spite of that, on June 30,2016 Governor Malloy, using a special authority, eliminated all funding for regional tourism districts. Since then the Eastern Regional Tourism District “Mystic Country” has been temporarily operating using reserve funds and volunteer staff.
Funding tourism promotion is an investment
– not an expense
Tourism in Connecticut generates substantial income, not only to the attractions, hotels restaurants and other businesses where visitors spend money but to state tax revenues as well. Research shows that for every dollar spent to promote tourism up to $14 dollars is returned to the economy. In these fiscally challenging times tourism tax revenues have generated over $858 million to the state with nearly 30% coming from Mystic Country alone. Without these tax revenues every Connecticut household would pay $640 in additional taxes every year.
In the movies they say “Build it and they will come.” In reality, and especially in the tourism industry, that just isn’t true. Without marketing, promotion and targeted communications tourists will choose to spend their vacation dollars elsewhere. That’s what is happening right now!
Since the elimination of funding for the regional tourism districts and reductions in spending for statewide tourism promotion, the number of visitors and tourism revenues are decreasing. Why? Because without funds Welcome/Information Centers and highway rest areas have closed, Mystic Country advertising has disappeared, printed brochures and visitor guides have been eliminated, calls from interested visitors go unanswered, tour companies do not have knowledgeable area contacts to assist them and families planning weddings and reunions do not have resources to organize successful events. Recently the Department of Economic Development reported that hotel occupancy in Connecticut is dropping. The gains made in visitation when the investment in tourism promotion was increased after 2011 have been almost all lost and research is showing that out of state residents’ intentions to visit Connecticut has been dropping significantly.
Your help is needed now
Right now the legislature is considering a budget for next fiscal year. Your voice needs to be heard about the importance of Mystic Country to your business and the economy of our area and state.
On February 17th the Legislature’s Appropriation Committee will conduct a hearing on the budget for the Department of Economic and Community Development through which tourism funding originates. Your help is needed in contacting your Senator and Representative to voice your support for funding for Regional Tourism Districts especially Mystic Country.