Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Tourism Districts Do!

Tourism is a multi faceted industry. Our State is blessed with diversity making the role of the Tourism Districts critical in branding the Regions that compose Connecticut.

Each Tourism Region brings many assets to the table.  The Western Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau offers five important assets that have been developed, expanded and continually refined over the past 30 years that are integral to tourism marketing in the state.

1.  HISTORY – We are proud of our 25-year history of a public private partnership with nearly 500 businesses and attractions that contribute marketing dollars to the organization in order to leverage state funds.

2.  PUBLIC RELATIONS - We are proud that the Western Tourism  District has a proven national public relations program.  The advertising dollar amount of the Bureau’s national publicity is approximately 5 to 6 million dollars a year.  This type of third party endorsed publicity cannot be bought – it takes a network of contacts and professionals that know their region well and are able to give the media the right hook in order to get the story.

3. NETWORK- We are proud of the vast network of travel trade contacts from meeting planners to group tour operators that we have relationships with. Leads are amassed and distributed to properties and attractions in order to help them generate their meeting and group businesses. Business that is the life blood of CT’s hotels and attractions of all sizes.

4. RESEARCH. We are proud that Western Connecticut measures the economic impact of special events of all kinds from the Norwalk Oyster Festival, Civil War Reenactments to the Litchfield House Tour and Salisbury Ski Jumps, to assist event organizers expand events and solicit sponsors.  Research is a key element in planning for and expanding a regions tourism product.

5, WEBSITE: We are proud our Website and Social Media work has resulted in a vast treasure trove of intellectual property for the Western Tourism District. Western Connecticut’s website is rich in content with listings that go into the year 2012.  Driving, hiking, biking, and boating tours have been developed and can be downloaded on handheld devices. Hundreds of travel writers, the traveling public and in and out of state residents follow the Bureau’s three blogs, facebook page and twitter accounts that are maintained and refreshed on a daily basis.

Regional Tourism Districts  must be funded at appropriate levels.   The two tier system of state and regions works and is the cornerstone of all tourism programs in the United States.  Connecticut’s Tourism Regions have a thirty year proven track record…something that the State Legislature has supported and funded and should be proud of too.

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