The 2016 Connecticut Governor’s Tourism Awards — individuals and organizations “who go above and beyond to enhance both the appeal of our state as well as the health of our economy,” were presented at the 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held in Hartford.  Sessions at the day-long conference included Using Creativity to Reimagine Tourism, Digital Marketing, Social Media Practices, and Innovative Trends in Cultural Tourism.

The  ctvisit.com website was also highlighted, and key stats reflecting the success of the state’s Still Revolutionary campaign were promoted.  Among them:  3 million visits to the tourism website, 250,000 followers on social media, 25 percent visited Connecticut after seeing an ad, summer tourism was up 12 percent last year, leaf-seaon visits were up 16 percent, hotel occupancy was up 4 percent and room tax revenue up 7 percent.  Total economic impact is $14 billion.

Award recipients recognized during the conference include:

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Tourism Volunteer of the Year – Jeffry and Maryan Muthersbaugh, Nehemiah Brainerd House B&B

As valuable members of the Central Regional Tourism District’s Board of Directors and members of the Executive Committee, Jeff and Maryan are tireless in their efforts to support statewide and regional tourism marketing. In addition to being owners and operators of the Nehemiah Brainerd House B&B in Haddam, CT, Jeff also serves as the Vice President of the CT Lodging Association and Chairman of the Bed & Breakfast Association. They have been instrumental in forming the CT Bed & Breakfast Association under the CLA umbrella.

Tourism Rising Star Award – Regan Miner, Norwich Historical Societyimpact

At the age of 23, Regan has already accomplished more in the area of regional tourism than some seasoned professionals. A life long native of Norwich, she worked with Norwich Historical Society to unite the city’s many historical entities into a comprehensive destination, securing a grant to open the Norwich Heritage and Regional Visitors Center on the Norwich town green in 2015. Ms. Miner has also developed a series of “Walk Norwich” trails and seasonal events hosted by volunteers and supported by a strong social media presence.

Tourism Partners of the Year Award  Carmen Romeo, Fascia’s Chocolates and Howard Pincus, Railroad Museum of New England

Fascia’s Chocolates and the volunteer-run Railroad Museum of New England have truly laid the track for a sweet collaboration. They’ve joined forces to operate special train tours, including a wine-and-chocolate-themed sunset ride and Halloween event for families, and are adding a regularly scheduled “Chocolate Train” in 2016 to market to charter groups such as bus tours. This partnership has resulted in a unique experience that has attracted high interest at recent ABA and NTA conferences and is a model for other partners statewide.Tourism_Conference_high_res_01

Leader of the Year – Stephen Tagliatela, Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa

An influential proponent for the tourism industry as a board member of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts and University of New Haven, Stephen is a strong advocate for arts and culture, education, and both historic and environmental preservation in the state. Under Stephen’s direction, The Saybrook Point Inn, as well as Spa and Marina, have won numerous awards for its often best-in-class green practices, including the first Connecticut hotel to be named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007.

  Tourism Legacy Leader – John Lyman III, Lyman Orchards

John Lyman is a member of the 8th generation of the Lyman family to farm the land in Middlefield, CT. An early proponent of what has become known as “agritourism,” he has helped to steer his 275-year-old family business toward becoming one of Connecticut’s leading tourist destinations, attracting more than 600,000 visitors a year. Fostering working partnerships with other tourism leaders in the state and region, John initiated cause marketing with unique Sunflower and Corn Mazes, contributing $1 to charitable causes for every person who “gets lost” in the maze, currently surpassing $500,000.

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