Published February 08. 2014 4:00AM Updated February 08. 2014 11:39PM
Mystic — U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney announced Friday that he will be attending a Canadian trade mission next week focused on Connecticut tourism.
Courtney, accompanied by Anne S. Evans, district director for the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, said more than 200,000 Canadian tourists visited Connecticut last year, more tourists than from any other country. Canadian tourism adds about $38 million to Connecticut’s economy annually, officials said.
“We believe there is more capacity for growth,” said Courtney, the 2nd District Democrat, at a Mystic Seaport press conference. “There is a real opportunity here.”
Among those joining Courtney during the trade mission Monday in Toronto will be representatives of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort casinos, Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, The Waterford Group hotel management company, the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau and the 5 Star CT, which provides group tours to the Mark Twain House & Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, among other venues.
Local products that tour operators attending the one-day event at the Toronto Hilton will have a chance to sample beer from Cottrell Brewing Co. in Pawcatuck and clam chowder from the Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic.
“These opportunities always produce results,” Courtney said.
Evans said the trip will focus on fun and food — two things that visitors seek out when traveling to a new destination.
Sheri Cote, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said a similar trade mission to Australia brought good results, generating a significant response from tour operators.
“We’re looking forward to getting better results from this one,” she said.
Evans said that in addition to hosting about five trade missions a year, her office is organizing an event in Mystic this September that will invite people from around the world to find out more about Connecticut’s aerospace-related companies.
“It’s going to be a game-changer for Connecticut,” she said.