May 28, 2017

FloGris Museum’s Andersen Honored as ‘Leader of the Year’ at Governor’s Tourism Conference

Jeff Andersen, Director, Florence Griswold Museum, (second from right) receives the Leader of the Year award from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (second from left) at yesterday’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism at Hartford. Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, stands to the Governor’s left.

The Director of Old Lyme’s Florence Griswold Museum Jeff Andersen was one of five individuals and organizations honored at Thursday’s annual Connecticut Governor’s Conference on Tourism for their outstanding contributions and dedication to Connecticut’s $14.7-billion tourism industry sector. Governor Dannel P. Malloy, together with the Connecticut Office of Tourism, presented the 2017 Connecticut Governor’s Tourism Awards, which spanned five separate categories.

The citation for Andersen’s ‘Leader of the Year‘ award described how, under Andersen’s leadership, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme was transformed from a hidden-secret historical site to one of the state’s premier cultural institutions — and one of the nation’s preeminent centers for American Impressionism. As a steadfast advocate for the arts, Andersen worked diligently to transform the historic boardinghouse, grounds, facilities and collections, creating a world-class visitor experience for artists, enthusiasts, students and others.

In 2016, the museum acquired the last remaining parcel of the original Griswold estate, restoring the historic site to completion for the first time since it was divided in 1937. Andersen will retire in 2018 after 40 years of dedicated leadership.

“The tourism sector is one of the major drivers of Connecticut’s economy,” Governor Malloy said. “The industry creates jobs, generates tax revenues and contributes to our high quality of life in Connecticut. It’s an honor to recognize some of the key people involved in making tourism such a vital contributor to our state’s economy.”

The other recipients of the 2017 Connecticut Governor’s Tourism Awards were Virginia Kozlowski, who was named Tourism Legacy Leader. Kozlowski, Executive Director, Visit New Haven, Connecticut Lodging Association, REX Development is a 25-year-veteran of the hospitality industry, has dedicated her career to promoting tourism and business in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Art Trail was honored as Partner of the Year. Over the past two decades, the dedicated members of the Connecticut Art Trail have worked tirelessly to promote Connecticut’s rich cultural history and drive visitation to the state.

The Durham Fair Volunteers were named Volunteers of the Year. What started as a small event in 1916 has grown to be the largest agricultural fair in Connecticut, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the state and beyond. Fueling this growth has been hundreds of volunteers who have committed their time and passion to making the event a success year after year.

Ben Paletsky, CEO, South Farms was honored as the Rising Star.  He is the driving force behind South Farms in Morris, one of New England’s premier destination-farm venues.

More than 400 attendees from tourism-related businesses, associations and municipalities across the state joined the Governor in congratulating the winners. Throughout the day, attendees also heard from leading tourism industry experts, including keynote speaker Doug Lansky, and participated in business-building workshops and networking sessions.

Other conference highlights included a presentation of the results of last year’s Connecticut still revolutionary tourism marketing campaign. Central to the campaign was the state’s official tourism website, www.CTvisit.com, which relaunched in April 2016. The completely redesigned website attracted 4.2 million visits last year, a 64 percent increase over 2015, and generated 2.2 million referrals for industry partners listed on the site. The state also reported significant increases in social media engagement and public relations activity.

“The conference is a unique opportunity for the industry to gather, learn and celebrate those individuals and organizations who have dedicated extra time and energy to helping tourism in Connecticut grow and thrive,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism. “We look forward to working with each and every partner in the state to make 2017 an even greater success.”

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