Connecticut tourism officials trying to attract leaf peepers

Connecticut tourism officials plan to spend more money than usual promoting the state’s fall foliage in an attempt help the industry rebound from the pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont helped launch the $1.4 million “Full Color Connecticut” marketing campaign Friday, which he said will link leaf peeping to other attractions across the state.

“Connecticut’s tourism industry will play an important role in the rebuilding of our economy, which is why we’ve invested heavily in helping it recover from the pandemic,” Lamont said. “This campaign is just the latest way we’re helping to do that and encourage everyone to get out and safely support local tourism businesses.”

Tourism officials said the play on the fall colors is meant to highlight other colorful destinations in the state “from the golds of corn mazes and the pinks of cotton candy to the blues of coastline sails and the ambers of craft beer.”

The campaign’s budget is nearly triple the amount typically invested in a fall marketing program, officials said. It is designed to reach about 33% of the market in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island – compared to 10% in recent years – and expand into other markets, such as Philadelphia.

The campaign also will take advantage of the state’s high vaccinations rates, which tourism officials have said helped bring visitors to Connecticut this summer.

“This fall, we’re reaching more likely travelers with the message that Connecticut is not only safely open for business, but also offering some of the best and brightest fall colors and experiences the region has to offer – closer to home,” Christine Castonguay, interim director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said. “All of this activity is aimed at driving more revenues to more businesses as we continue to navigate this ever-changing environment.”

The campaign will run through Nov. 20 and will feature hundreds of tourism-related businesses from the state’s parks and orchards to its casinos and shops.

It will include television ads that will run regionally as well as digital billboards and ads on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and Snapchat.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it should be a banner foliage season because of a rainy summer and low overnight temperatures predicted for September.

The campaign comes on the heels of what officials said was a successful $1.2 million summer tourism marketing campaign, which officials said generated 3.5 million visits to, the state’s tourism website, and 1.3 million referrals to state businesses.

Castonguay said the industry has a lot of ground to make up from the pandemic-related closures in 2020.

“Many of our key indicators were down between 30-50% in 2020, which was comparable to many states across the U.S.” she said.