A summer spike in tourism across the state of Connecticut has also hit New Haven, according to data released by Governor Dannel Malloy’s office on Monday.
A survey across 23 of Connecticut’s leading attractions — including the Yale University Art Gallery — demonstrated a 12 percent increase this year in visitors between June and August. These destinations also reported a four percent increase in spending by tourists when compared to last year’s. These rising numbers are a result of coinciding economic and weather factors, such as 13 rain-free weekends between June and September and low gas prices, Visit New Haven Executive Director Ginny Kozlowski said.
“This demonstrates we’re making gains — jobs are growing significantly each month, our efforts to make our state a tourist destination are paying off and the needle is no doubt moving in the right direction,” Malloy said.
Malloy added that the state economy is reinforced by a strong tourism sector, which contributes to a large number of people in the workforce and impacts job creation and business development.
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the state’s hospitality sector added 5,300 jobs between August 2014 and August 2015. Kozlowski said this growth is a boon to the overall state economy, which took a hit in the 2007 national recession.
The governor’s office highlighted positive results in Connecticut’s hotel industry, naming the Groton/Norwich and New Haven/Waterbury markets as leading the state in terms of occupancy rates — the percentage of occupied hotel rooms in the region.
Kozlowski said that hotel occupancy rates have risen back to levels last seen prior to the recession in June 2007.
“We have been watching the trends of the numbers and they’re fabulous,” Kozlowski said.
But local hotels say that the boom in business has stemmed from sources other than tourism.
New Haven Village Suites Director of Sales Falisha Smith said that though she did not consider New Haven a vacation area, she did tend to see business pick up at the start of the fall semester as students arrived back on college campuses with their families. Smith said that along with corporate and University events bringing travelers into town, she anticipates no slowdown of business in the fall. New Haven Village Suites will undergo renovations this winter in preparation for a swell in guest numbers for the next spring and summer seasons, she added.
The Study Director of Operations Anthony Moir said that the hotel does not see higher occupancy numbers from summer boosts in tourism. The summer is The Study’s slowest season, Moir said. He added that during this season, The Study still serves prospective students and their parents, along with weddings and conferences.
Although the cycles of hotels like The Study and New Haven Village Suites may not directly coincide with others across the state, the general trend of occupancy rates across the state is on the rise, Kozlowski said.
She added that the core of New Haven is considered to be a year-round destination, with events like medical conferences at Yale-New Haven Hospital attracting visitors.
Jewelry store Derek Simpson Goldsmith has also felt an increase in business as a result of visitors to YNHH, manager Gene Dostie said.
“We have had the best [sales of] April, June and July ever,” Hello Boutique sales representative Michele Bernstein said.
Data released by the state follow a state marketing initiative to promote the tourism industry. A fall version of this initiative, called Still Revolutionary, has begun running two television advertising spots as part of a $1.1 million ad campaign, according to Malloy’s office.