Connecticut tourist destinations: Don’t cut our budget
HARTFORD — Facing tight fiscal times, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recently released budget proposal includes a $2 million reduction for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. Consequently, the department has been forced to scale back funding for several prominent state destinations.
” While there are changes in this budget that are challenging and difficult, we believe there will be a way to move forward in a positive way,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith of the DECD.
If the budget is approved, the department’s budget will shrink from $12 million to $10 million for the next fiscal year. It would be cut in the form of a reduction in state aid to places like Mystic Aquarium and the Connecticut Science Center.
“The particular institutions that have received funding are jewels in the crown and they help drive regional tourism throughout the state. These are magnets if you will for people and for the overall investment in tourism,” said Dr. Steve Coan, president & CEO of Mystic Aquarium.
Coan, along with others, made their case directly to lawmakers Monday night at a public hearing regarding why the funding should remain at its current levels. “It’s important that some funding be invested in some particular institutions that serve as drivers of tourism in the state,” said Coan.
DECD officials remain confident that the state will receive plenty of exposure and it is still planning to push Connecticut in many TV and radio spots, as well as on social media. “We believe that there are some ways we can manage it with effective with digital, more social media, those kinds of things,” said Smith.