PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — People travel from all over the world to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, see the autumn leaves turn in Vermont and New Hampshire and eat lobster in Maine. A new campaign involving tourism officials in three states to the south and west of Boston is aimed at peeling off some of those visitors and attracting new ones to a region they have dubbed "SoNew."
A series of tours on Saturday is the first event in their effort to tie together several attractions in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut in an attempt to turn Southern New England into a national and international destination.
"If you know Southern New England, if you know the Blackstone Valley, if you know Cape Cod, if you know the area between Mystic and Newport and you linger in the borderlands between Connecticut and Rhode Island, you've discovered an area that is deep in history, has incredible natural beauty, beautiful natural features," said Peter Glankoff, executive vice president at the Sea Research Foundation, which operates Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. "There's so much to discover."
While the six New England states are marketed nationally and internationally as a single destination, much of the attention is focused on the northern states. Glankoff and colleagues including Bob Billington, director of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council in Rhode Island, have been talking about ways to better connect their destinations.
For example, visitors interested in ocean life might not know the whaling museum in New Bedford, Mass., whale watching on Cape Cod and the Mystic Aquarium are all within a short drive of each other, said Matt Caspari of Caspari McCormick, a Delaware-based marketing firm that works with the Mystic Aquarium and who came up with the "SoNew" name.
Caspari said unifying some of the attractions by way of a coordinated campaign can help people plan their vacations. Otherwise, they may not realize how easy it is to go kayaking in the Blackstone River, visit the Newport mansions and Mystic Seaport and see Cape Cod all in one short trip.