Malloy seeks $1.8 million more for tourism during Mystic Seaport visit

Malloy seeks $1.8 million more for tourism during Mystic Seaport visit


Gov. Dannel Malloy discusses his request for an additional $1.8 million in tourism marketing at a press conference Thursday at Mystic Seaport Museum. Among those taking part were Steve White, Seaport president, center, Tim Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, right, and State Rep. Diana Urban. | Brooke Constance White, The Westerly Sun

MYSTIC — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is requesting an additional $1.8 million for tourism marketing in the upcoming fiscal year 2017-18 budget, based on the results of a recent tourism economic impact study.

Malloy made the announcement during a brief press conference at Mystic Seaport on Thursday morning. Museum President Steve White welcomed the news, saying he never wants to go back to the zero-tourism funding situation the governor found himself in when he was elected in 2011.

If approved by the legislature, the additional funding will bring the tourism marketing dollars up to $8.3 million.

Based on results of the study, which looks at the economic impact of tourism over the last five years, the industry supports more than 82,000 jobs, contributes $14.7 billion in business sales and generates $1.7 billion in tax revenues, including $910 million in state and local taxes.

“As the state’s budget process continues, we will be faced with new challenges but we must consider what is working for economic growth in Connecticut and support it,” Malloy said. “Today’s report confirms that tourism provides a measurable return on our investment, jobs for our residents, sales for our businesses and revenue to support our communities.”

He said that the statewide marketing budget, which funded a state tourism website redesign, has been successful at driving awareness of and visits to the state and its attractions. He mentioned that Aer Lingus of Ireland announced last fall that it will be flying in and out of Bradley Airport in Hartford.

“We’ve worked to forge relationships with domestic and international travel companies. Our tourism marketing campaign has done more than just promote attractions, it’s led to economic growth as well,” he said.

“With a proposed increase to the state tourism funding, we are vowing to put tourism back on the map.”

Tim Sullivan, deputy commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said that all counties within the state see positive economic growth through the industry.

“It’s providing real meaningful economic impact, not just to the tourism industry directly but to the sectors that support the tourism industry and that is reflected in what we see in the economic impact study,” he said.

“There is a statewide economic impact. Not just to the districts that have large-scale attractions but every part of the state benefits from the governor’s investment in tourism.”

White thanked Malloy for his commitment to tourism and said that any investment in the industry truly pays off.

“Mystic Seaport had a great 2016 and we felt the same energy and growth that’s been referred to today. We opened six new exhibitions and this new, grand facility,” he said, referring to the Thompson Exhibition Building.

“For a century, Mystic Seaport has been one of the anchors of tourism in Connecticut but that said, we can’t do this alone. Tourism is — let’s face it — a team sport. It requires the participation of everyone in the room and goes beyond. A team needs a leader, a team needs a captain, a ship needs a captain and boy, are we lucky to have a governor who gets it and leads us along the way.”

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