Beluga whales help Gov. Malloy sell state tourism growth

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MYSTIC--It was all fun and games at a tourism press conference Wednesday morning.

As Gov. Dan Malloy briefed the media at Mystic Aquarium about the growth of tourism in Connecticut, an unexpected guest joined in on the fun.

Juno, a Beluga whale at the aquarium, swam up behind the governor to listen to what he had to say about visitors.

Malloy said it’s been a strong summer for Connecticut's tourism industry.

After surveying 23 state attractions, attendance is up five percent compared to last year.

People are also spending more than four percent from a year ago.

Hotel occupancy rates in southeastern Connecticut spiked nine percent.

Malloy says that's five times the national average.

"That’s a big increase if you had a good winter, we did that without a good winter which makes it even more remarkable,” said Malloy.

Two other beluga whales share the tank with Juno, but they weren't as interested in tourism trends.

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