Survey Says: Time to Start Marketing Connecticut Tourism

Connecticut by the Numbers
Slogan for new Connecticut Tourism campaign.State of Connecticut image

Nearly two-thirds of Connecticut residents surveyed in February and March said that once they are vaccinated they will feel comfortable engaging in tourism activities, including seeing live performances, attending festivals, and enjoying indoor attractions.

The faster the vaccine rollout, the faster visitation will increase. That was the finding of a new, proprietary research program aimed at supporting the Connecticut tourism industry’s recovery amid the pandemic, launched last year by the Connecticut Office of Tourism.

Conducted for Connecticut by a leading tourism market research firm, the Tourism Insights Program collects monthly data on Northeast-based consumers including who is likely to travel, when, and what would motivate them to visit a specific business.

The data is compiled into comprehensive monthly reports and actionable tips Connecticut businesses—attractions, events, restaurants, accommodations and retailers—can put into action immediately, from advice about promoting safety to creating experiences consumers are most interested in trying now.

Those monthly reports, carefully reviewed by state officials, had a role in the launch this past week of “Say Yes to Connecticut,” a new summer marketing campaign to promote safe travel and fuel the Connecticut tourism industry’s recovery following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a year of saying “no” to so many things due to the pandemic, the State of Connecticut is encouraging resident and visitors to “Say Yes to Connecticut” and all of its unique experiences this summer, the Governor’s Office announced.

The campaign theme was born out of the Office of Tourism’s proprietary research that shows a growing sense of optimism among Northeast consumers amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and pent-up demand for travel, especially regional travel.

“Connecticut has an incredible mix of tourism offerings – from arts and cultural venues and restaurants, to lodging properties and outdoor recreation areas – all of which help generate business sales, tax revenues, and statewide jobs benefitting our communities,” Governor Lamont said. “The new campaign is a great reminder of that diversity and the growing optimism among travelers that we believe will put people back to work and translate into an industry-wide recovery for tourism beginning this summer.”

Among the findings from the latest monthly reports:

  • 41% plan to take a leisure trip in the next 3 months, 54% in the next 6 months.
  • 63% say that shortly after they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, they will feel comfortable engaging in a range of tourism activities, including seeing live performances, attending festivals and enjoying indoor attractions.
  • Primary motivations for visiting attractions, restaurants or hotels is to feel normal again, change of scenery, and support destinations that have suffered.
  • Top considerations for visiting an attraction, restaurant or hotel are related to deep cleaning and enforcing social distancing requirements.

“The Tourism Insights Program is a practical, data-driven tool Connecticut businesses can use now to understand region-specific consumer attitudes and interests related to safety and product offerings—and plan for the summer tourism season,” said Randy Fiveash, director, Connecticut Office of Tourism.

Running May 1 through September 6, the new publicity campaign will feature hundreds of businesses and activities across the state that make up Connecticut’s tourism industry sector, including hotels, inns and B&Bs, restaurants, attractions, museums, historical sites, arts and cultural venues, farms, wineries and breweries, state parks and beaches, nature centers, outdoor recreation, shopping destinations, events, and more. Mask wearing indoors will continue to be required.

The Connecticut Office of Tourism allocated a portion of its existing statewide tourism marketing budget to support the research effort. The $1.2 million Say Yes campaign is funded through the Office of Tourism’s existing statewide tourism marketing budget.

“The Office of Tourism’s new research program has been an invaluable resource for trusted, localized information during a time of great uncertainty,” said Tina Tison, Director of Marketing, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk. “The monthly reports provide important context and unique insights about consumers that are directly applicable to our business—and can help other cultural attractions and tourism businesses statewide.”

The Tourism Insights Program is part of a broader initiative by the Connecticut Office of Tourism and Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to encourage Connecticut residents to support local businesses and help Connecticut businesses navigate these challenging times. Reports are available to all Connecticut tourism businesses via the Office of Tourism’s industry newsletter.

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