HEAT ALERT

Pop-up storms expected through early Monday in CT. Some storms could be strong or severe

CT launches summer with a new tourism campaign. Will it finally stick?

With Memorial Day weekend just days away, Connecticut is launching a major new tourism push.

John Craven

May 22, 2024, 9:31 PM

Updated 30 days ago

Share:

With Memorial Day weekend just days away, Connecticut is launching a major new tourism push.
But after years of struggling to brand itself, has the state finally found a message that will stick?
"MAKE IT HERE"
As soon as temperatures hit the 80s, Leisa Adiletta hit the beach at Silver Sands State Park in Milford. She said Connecticut is a hidden secret.
"We like to come here because it's quiet," she said.
Adiletta lives just a few miles away in Derby, but Connecticut leaders are hoping to draw more out-of-state visitors with a new tourism campaign called "Make It Here." The state already uses the slogan to attract businesses.
"Together, we're promoting what makes this an amazing place to start the summer," said Gov. Ned Lamont.
"Make it Here" ads featuring Connecticut's shoreline, casinos and outdoor activities. They will air in the New York City and Boston media markets, and even JetBlue flights.
"We're transforming the perception that Connecticut is a 'drive through' state, and we're becoming a 'drive to' state," said Anthony Anthony, the state's new chief marketing officer.
The state has also launched a new tourism website, CTVisit
 PAST STUGGLES
But past campaigns have come and gone. First there was "Still Revolutionary," then "Find Your Vibe."
National media outlets have highlighted Connecticut's struggle to find an identity. A recent New York Times headline  asked: "Stuffy, Preppy, Sleepy: Can a Rebrand Fix Connecticut's Reputation?"
Anthony thinks this pitch is different.
"Make your life, make your vacation, make your choices," he said. "And that's why I think this brand will stick."
RECORD VISITORS
The tide is turning. Last year, Connecticut welcomed a record 62 million visitors, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Lodging revenues are also up.
And the state gets a powerful bang for its buck. Connecticut only spends $4.5 million on tourism, but gets back $17 billion in economic impact, according to DECD. Compare that to Maine, which spends five times that amount for a $10 billion impact.
"And the reason we do that is, our budgets aren't quite as big as some of our neighboring states," Anthony said. "So we look for ways to organically connect with people where they're at."
But Adiletta isn't so sure "Make It Here" will make it at all.
"What are they going to do here?" she asked. "What will they do to attract more people here to Connecticut?"


More from News 12