The return of conferences and business meetings and the size of the New York market is why 20 or more Connecticut businesses traveled to Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Thursday to pitch the state at a reception. Businesses included hotels such as Omni New Haven, Sheraton Stamford, Hilton Mystic, the Connecticut Convention Center and Water's Edge Resort & Spa in Westbrook.
"We're in a great position in Connecticut, between two of the largest markets, Boston and New York," said Randy Fiveash, director of the state Office of Tourism. "We're in their backyards. We can fish in those waters and have some great success."
New York is Connecticut's No. 1 out-of-state market, bringing more visitors than from any other state, he said. State tourism officials are working with the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau to market the state, Fiveash said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has launched the state's Still Revolutionary tourism campaign and significantly increased tourism funding shortly after taking office in January 2011. The budget he sent to the legislature last month proposes to eliminate regional tourism offices to save $1.6 million.
The Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau was founded in July to replace the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitor Bureau, Van Parys said. The new group was established in response to a distinct need to market the state rather than just the Hartford region, he said.