Governor Lamont Says Tourism in Connecticut Experiencing Surge, Announces Upgrades To Welcome Centers
Renovations to Welcome Centers in Danbury and Darien Now Complete; Similar Upgrades Coming Soon to Greenwich, North Stonington, West Willington, and Westbrook
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that as the summer season nears its end and autumn approaches, the tourism industry in Connecticut has been experiencing a surge in visitation.
Through June, independent research data from Tourism Economics shows that visitation to the state has risen by 3% year over year. Through July, national benchmarking STR data shows that the Connecticut lodging industry has seen a 10% increase in revenues over the last year. Additionally, the state’s official tourism website CTvisit.com has logged an impressive 7.3 million site visits since January – up 44% over the previous year. Already the fifth most visited state tourism site in the nation, this increase in traffic positions CTvisit.com for a record-breaking year and bodes well for continued momentum for the state’s many tourism-related businesses.
“This spike in both current visits — and interest in future visits — reflects Connecticut’s growing appeal,” Governor Lamont said. “This fall, we encourage our residents and our visitors to explore Connecticut’s amazing attractions and enjoy all the ways you can take in our incredible fall foliage.”
“In addition to our breathtaking fall colors, there are so many reasons to enjoy Connecticut,” Anthony Anthony, chief marketing officer for the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said. “It’s a great time to get out for a UConn football game and see why USA Today recently named UConn the best college for sports fans. It’s also an ideal time to experience our ever-popular fall fairs and music festivals, our worldclass museums and theaters, our perfect pizza, and local oysters, and so much more.”
Connecticut boasts the longest foliage season among its New England counterparts, offering visitors an extended opportunity to savor the bright colored landscapes. This year, forecasters are anticipating that the views may be even more vivid.
“With such ample rain this summer, the trees are less stressed this year, which can result in more vivid colors,” Katie Dykes, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said. “Typically, the vibrancy of our fall colors do depend on seasonally cool nights in September and early October. Given that the temperatures soared at the beginning of this month, the colors may be a little later than normal, but they still should be particularly vibrant.”
In time for this expected surge of visitors, Governor Lamont also announced the recent completion of a successful pilot program between the Connecticut Office of Tourism and the Connecticut Department of Transportation that has revitalized the state’s Welcome Centers in Danbury and Darien. Upgrades include installation of touch screen kiosks connecting visitors with things to do, see, and eat; 50” LED television screens showing the Connecticut’s tourism reel; and the state’s new CT Visit tourism branding that was launched in June 2022. Four more Welcome Centers across the state – Greenwich, North Stonington, West Willington, and Westbrook – will see similar upgrades over the coming year prior to next summer’s peak tourism season.
“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the Office of Tourism in revamping the Welcome Centers, where visitors often form their first impression of Connecticut,” Laoise King, deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said. “With so many must-visit Connecticut destinations, we look forward to working with Governor Lamont and our state agency partners to expand these upgrades to additional entry points to ensure that no matter how someone travels, they are aware of all that Connecticut offers.”
One popular activity that draws travel to and across Connecticut is hiking. Recent research from Why This Place named Connecticut the best state in America for hiking, with an impressive 1,455 hiking trails per 1,000 square miles.
Just in time for fall foliage, earlier this week the state launched CTParks.com, a cutting-edge website showcasing Connecticut State Parks that was designed to integrate with CTvisit.com. The inspiring and useful site makes it easier for residents and visitors to discover the beauty of our parks and recreational areas and all the activities that each park offers.
“What makes this video-rich website a great experience for users is that it allows visitors to find exactly what park is right for them based on their interests or location,” Commissioner Dykes said. “As we approach the much-anticipated fall foliage season, this resource becomes invaluable for planning an unforgettable autumn adventure. The difficult part will be deciding which park to enjoy first! Fall is a beautiful time to hike, so one great option for hikers and families to consider is DEEP’s Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge.”
“As the leaves begin to turn, there’s no better time for travelers and state residents to explore Connecticut, especially the scenic trails,” Alexandra Daum, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “Through DECD’s partnership with DEEP on the launch of this new website, visitors can plan a perfect day trip or vacation by picking the right state park and finding places to stay, restaurants to eat at, and other great things to do in surrounding towns and cities. By encouraging longer stays, we can grow our already robust tourism industry that brought $17 billion into Connecticut in 2022.”