HARTFORD — State economic development officials expect two new attractions in the Capital City – a music hall/bistro debuting this summer on Front Street and a trampoline park on Brainard Road – to help drive forward the state’s tourism industry.
Both The Infinity Music Hall and Launch Trampoline Park were spotlighted during the kick off of the 2014 Connecticut tourism season Tuesday along with several other new destinations and festivals being counted on to help increase visitors and tourist spending.
Overall, the outlook was clearly upbeat Tuesday as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised the state’s recent success in promoting tourism.
Malloy said that the state Department of Economic and Community Development and its Office of Tourism have released tracking results that indicate the $22 million Statewide Tourism Marketing Fund investment over 18 months has generated gains in overall tourism spending and increased positive awareness of Connecticut as a place to visit.
“Tourism has always been a good investment for the state – it is a sector that generates billions in spending and represents more than 100,000 jobs for residents,” Malloy said.
Among the bright spots so far is that state lodging revenue is up 8.5 percent since the same time last year – outpacing U.S. averages and the New England states combined, according to a state press release.
Another positive cited at the kickoff was that the “Still Revolutionary” marketing campaign has reached target consumers in key markets with its message nearly 646 million times.
“For the past two years, we’ve been investing in tourism and it’s working – we’ve seen increases in jobs, tourism spending and a more positive reputation for the state,” said Randy Fiveash, director of tourism. “It’s critical that we continue to maximize this momentum and bring new visitors to the state. The exciting line-up of new offerings will help do just that.”
These new attractions include Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, which since 2008, has been a popular dining and concert destination in Norfolk, featuring a wide array of nationally known music artists in an intimate setting.
Infinity hopes to extend this experience in the capital city with a new and larger building that is partially funded with state aid. There hall will seat 400 in a traditional theater setup. Another 100 seats will be available in the mezzanine where drinks and the hall’s menu will be served bistro style.
Infinity in Hartford will start selling tickets in the spring for its shows, with four to seven performances a week likely depending on the availability of artists, said marketing director Mary Ann Clerkin.
The opening night act will depend on when the hall is ready, but performers who have appeared in Norfolk include Bare Naked Ladies, Taj Mahal, Tori Amos, Roy Clark, Kevin Costner and the Harlem Gospel Choirs.
Launch Trampoline Park was opened last fall by a partnership including former New England Patriots football player Ty Law. This indoor facility offers wall to wall trampolines, foam pit, basketball hoops and dodgeball.
Other attractions featured by the Office of Tourism are:
- The revived Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield
- The 4B Festival – curated beer, bourbon, barbecue and bacon – to be held this March at The Old Trolley Barn in New Haven
- The 1841 wooden whaleship, the Charles W. Morgan, sailing from Mystic Seaport.
- The Bear Creek Campground opening in June at Lake Compounce in Bristol/Southington
- The Connecticut Antiques Trail, a new statewide trail of antique shops and centers
- An array of activities planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state parks.