Location:
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


April 11, 2011

 

2011-R-0172

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CONNECTICUT COMMISSION ON CULTURE AND TOURISM NOMINEE

By: John Rappa, Chief Analyst

CONNECTICUT COMMISSION ON CULTURE AND TOURISM (CCCT) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (CGS 10-393(a))

The executive director implements the state's policies and programs for:

1. attracting tourists to Connecticut;

2. promoting the state's arts, history, and culture;

3. supporting the film industry; and

4. preserving historic properties.

The director answers to a 28-member commission, which consists of 23 voting members and five non-voting ex officio members. The governor and legislative leaders appoint the voting members, who annually elect the commission's chairperson and other officers.

PRESERVING CULTURE AND PROMOTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1. CCCT implements policies to preserve and promote the places that define Connecticut's past, such as historic sites and art museums. Some might argue that these assets are intrinsically good, regardless of the jobs or tax revenues they generate. Should CCCT invest its dollars in only those assets that generate money for the state?

2. As the former director of the Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, how did you balance the need to develop Stamford's economy and improve its infrastructure with the need to preserve its past?

3. How should the state evaluate its culture and tourism programs? What constitutes success?

REORGANIZATION

1. The governor proposes to fold the staff of the Culture and Tourism Commission into the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and to convert the commission into a committee advising the DECD commissioner. How would this change benefit Connecticut's culture and tourism assets?

2. You have alluded to the governor's proposal, stating that the commission was a “key component of our economic development strategy,” but has been “traditionally underutilized.” How was the commission underused? How could it have been used more effectively?

3. You also have said that you are “looking forward to redesigning the way we approach tourism and cultural attractions and working with key stakeholders in those sectors…” How will the state's approach to tourism and culture change under your leadership?

4. How would that change affect way the state interacts with regional and local tourism agencies? How would it affect the state's cultural, historical, and art museums?

TOURISM MARKETING

1. Appropriations for tourism marketing seem particularly vulnerable during economic downturns. How can the state consistently fund this function in good and hard times?

2. If the state's culture and tourism attractions were for-profit businesses, would they be capturing their potential share of the market?

3. If the legislature gave you a blank check to develop and implement a tourism marketing campaign, how would you market the state? What would your message be? To whom would you direct it? What role would the regional tourism districts, local visitors' bureaus, and other organizations play?

4. Should all tourism marketing be centralized under a state agency, or should the function be shared between the state and the regional tourism districts?

ARTS AND CULTURE

1. Many of Connecticut's arts and historical museums are run by nonprofit organizations with limited staff, money, and resources. Are these entities well managed? Do they operate efficiently? Do they have the administrative, fiscal, and technical wherewithal to run museums and other attractions?

2. Every year, the legislature is inundated with requests to fund capital improvements for arts and cultural heritage projects through bonding, but lacks the technical capacity to evaluate these proposals. Are there other ways to review and approve these types of projects for state funds? Does the CCCT have a capital improvement plan for arts and cultural facilities?

BUSINESS OUTLOOK

1. How big is the state's culture and tourism sector? How much does it contribute to the state's economy?

2. How does CCCT track and evaluate the national and regional trends affecting Connecticut's culture and tourism sector? Do you see any trends that could benefit or harm this sector?

3. How will demographic trends and technological changes affect Connecticut's culture and tourism sector and the policies and programs to develop it? For example, does the growing elderly and Hispanic population require the state to develop new cultural and tourism assets, and market and promote the existing ones differently?

4. How has the recession affected our culture and tourism sector? Are our attractions drawing fewer visitors? If so, how are the attractions coping with declining revenues?

5. How much does Connecticut's professional and amateur sports sector contribute to the state's economy? Can it contribute more? Is so, what needs to be done to make that happen?

JR:ts