Mystic — A state tourism official told local business leaders today that the state is nearly ready to unveil an advertising campaign that will at last “brand” the state in the minds of residents and out-of-state visitors.
Kip Bergstrom, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, told a breakfast meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut that the campaign’s ads will begin appearing by the end of the month.
“We’re back in business,” Bergstrom said, alluding to the $15 million in state funding that’s been committed to promoting tourism in each of the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.
The meeting took place at the Latitude 41 restaurant at Mystic Seaport.
Bergstrom said the campaign will target those who vacationed in the United States in the last year and who are between 25 and 64 years of age and have household incomes of at least $75,000.
Interviews with focus groups in the Northeast found that most people have little or no sense of the state as a tourist destination, Bergstrom said. Even in New Jersey, many were unaware that Connecticut has a coastline, he said.
“People think of Connecticut as a place you drive through,” Bergstrom said.
The state’s tourism office is soliciting state residents’ stories about Connecticut “people, places and experiences” at www.myCTstory.com. The office has also upgraded its website, www.CTvisit.com, and enhanced its social media presence. It now boasts 80,000 Facebook “friends,” up from 5,000 a few months ago, according to Bergstrom.