Eastern Regional Tourism District Announces Final Awardees for 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program

Over $200,000 in grant funding has been allocated to market eastern Connecticut tourism
Waterford, Conn. (December 10, 2020) – The Eastern Regional Tourism District (ERTD) today announced the final funding recipients for the 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program. 9 additional programs were approved for marketing grants to promote tourism and hospitality opportunities in Eastern Connecticut. The total funding of all projects, including the initial projects announced in September totaled $202,267 in matching grant funding to support local businesses and eastern Connecticut’s tourism economy.
“Tourism is a major economic driver in eastern Connecticut that generates billions in business sales and tax revenues every year and supports thousands of jobs,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “I applaud this program’s efforts to bolster eastern Connecticut’s crucial tourism industry by further raising the visibility of the state’s tourism opportunities, which are as diverse as the grant recipients.”
The additional 9 programs include marketing initiatives to raise the visibility of tourism opportunities in eastern Connecticut towns and improve access and information regarding Connecticut’s trails and state parks, raise the visibility of tourism opportunities and attractions in eastern Connecticut towns and support the promotion of eastern Connecticut’s diverse artistic community. The nine programs come from throughout eastern Connecticut, from the quiet corner to the southeastern shoreline, and are designed to elevate and grow the tourism potential of each region's vast diversity of towns, trails and tourism businesses. The nine programs include:

  •          Where Art Lives, a collaboration between the Florence Griswold Museum and the Lyme Art Association to market eastern Connecticut’s arts scene to day-trippers and local tourism.
  •          The New London Tourism Unity Initiative, a strategy to develop useful marketing and tourism-related tools to consolidate information regarding New London’s tourism attractions.
  •          Town of Windham Marketing Campaign, a program to enhance ongoing communications strategies and strengthen unrealized aspects of their 5-year marketing strategy.
  •          Voluntown Tourism Campaign, a collaboration between the Voluntown Economic Development Commission and Friends of Pachaug Forest to support the promotion and distribution of the Pachaug State Forest trails map.
  •          Air Line Trail Brochure Marketing Campaign, a project to increase access to information regarding the Air Line Trail and promote the trail’s access to neighboring tourism opportunities and venues.
  •          Windham Region Chamber of Commerce Regional Marketing Project, an initiative to develop four video itineraries that promote tourism opportunities throughout Windham County.
  •          Partners in History, a collaboration between the Thames River Heritage Park and eight partner sites to create a series of short videos that promote the history and tourism opportunities of the Thames River.
  •          So Good to See You in Mystic, a campaign through the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce that models the ongoing “So Good to See You, Connecticut” campaign to promote hospitality, aquatic recreation and dining opportunities in southeastern Connecticut.
  •          Passport to Norwich, a program to leverage the city’s diverse dining culture and heritage to food-oriented travelers and tourists.
“This program was an incredible opportunity for the District and the Office of Tourism to come together and market the vitality of our region’s diverse tourism opportunities,” said Jim Bellano, chairman of the ERTD. “We received so many creative strategies for supporting our tourism businesses. Given the pace at which the U.S. is developing a vaccine, we are excited to see these programs move forward to market Connecticut’s spring and summer tourism seasons.”
The ERTD originally allocated $180,000 for the 2020 Regional Marketing Partnership Program by the Connecticut Office of Tourism. After overwhelming support for the program, funding was raised to $202,267 to support a total of 11 projects throughout eastern Connecticut. Proposals selected for the 2020 program must be completed by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2021.
“It was a rigorous process to select these 11 applications, and I feel that the selected programs will have a positive impact on our tourism businesses throughout eastern Connecticut,” said Chris Regan, chairman of the ERTD Marketing Committee. “The significant collective impact of these marketing programs will generate additional visitation and economic activity for our region while working to support the state’s broader marketing initiatives. We hope to see this program grow in 2021.”