And a Great Tourism Site Shall Guide Them

Tourist and statue

I wanted to love New York. I mean, I do love it – the state. But the recently updated I Love New York website? It’s lovely to look at and has a tremendous amount of information about places to visit, things to do, and stuff to eat and drink.

Why, then, do I think it’s just meh?

Because It didn’t make it any easier for me to plan a getaway. And that’s what a good tourism site should do.

To see what I mean, you simply need to travel a smidge to the east and explore the great site presented by the Nutmeg State. The Connecticut Office of Tourism has developed a beautiful, easy to navigate website that you can search based on interests, price, and season.

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But my favorite feature is the index titled “52 Getaways“. These are complete itineraries such as “Biking the Quiet Corner” and “Mark Twain’s Hartford”. A brief description is provided and each trip is tagged with keywords such as “active adventures”, “rest and relaxation”, etc. A map of the itinerary and roundtrip mileage are provided as well as addresses for each of the stops.

Look at “Out for Ice Cream“. It’s in the Family Fun category and recommended for the summer. Four fantastic ice cream stops are described; one of them is located on a working dairy farm. Besides the sweet treats, the site recommends a visit to Quassy, an old-fashioned lakefront amusement park and mentions that there’s a budget-friendly Quality Inn along the route.

galleon at Quassy Amusement Park

Photo: Quassy Amusement Park

Want something a bit more adult? The Grand European Tour is 53 miles roundtrip and includes stops at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum; 2 art museums; Wooster Street, New Haven’s Little Italy; and a French patisserie.

Done. All you need to do is pack a couple of bags, gas the car, and go.

Returning to the NY site, if I wanted a budget-friendly, summer trip for the kiddies, I’d select “Amusements and Family Fun”. And then, drumroll, SIX HUNDRED attractions appear! I narrow it down to a region, choosing “Catskills”. That gets me to 35. I pick the Stone and Thistle Farm which leads me to a description of the working farm. I have the option of adding it to an itinerary that I’m invited to build. You can then jump to a map that you need to zoom in and out of to assist you with choosing restaurants and shops in the area. Frankly, I lost interest when the 600 thumbnails popped up.

Remember…I’m from NY and I found it overwhelming. Imagine if I were coming to NYC with my family of 5 from Italy and wanted to add on a 3-day upstate trip. Where would I start? I Love NY could have featured 3 simple trips – say Niagara Falls, Cooperstown, and the Adirondacks – and provided the info to make the getaway a breeze.

Connecticut did just that. The went the extra mile which made me, the tourist, feel wanted, so, of course, I want them back. Are you listening New York? Consider packaging some of that great content into exciting itineraries; to get some love, you gotta give it.

NY Times Travel Show

3 Tourism Websites With Planned Itineraries (excuse them for the lack of imagination; apparently there’s a rule that all tourism websites must be called “Visit …”)

VisitPhilly – Count me in for the “Quintessential ‘Rocky’ Tour” or “The Best Beer Gardens”.

VisitIndiana – Like Connecticut, full itineraries are listed with detailed information about attractions, accommodations, and restaurants. “Bite into the Farm to Fork Trail” highlights include bison, lavender, wine, and asparagus. They had me at bison.

VisitUtah – As a fan of the Great American roadtrip, I was happy to see that Utah features 5 of them; they feature many of the state’s significant natural attractions like Natural Bridges and Zion.

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