N.H.'s New Tourism Director: Partnering With Higher Ed Makes Sense

Dec 23, 2014

Credit www.flickr.com

It’s no secret that tourism is a vital part of the New Hampshire economy.

It’s the state’s second-largest industry, so it’s fair to say Victoria Cimino has a big job on her hands.

She’s the state’s new director of tourism.

She’s been on the job a few weeks now, and joins Morning Edition to talk about her new role.

So tourism is obviously critical to the state’s economy. How much money are we talking about bringing into the state on a yearly basis? And is it your hope to grow that figure?

In Fiscal Year 2013, direct spending by visitors to New Hampshire totaled $4.6 billion. New Hampshire played host to more than 34.2 million during that same year. So obviously, it’s an enormous part of the economy.

You’ve talked about supporting the governor’s goal of increasing tourism spending throughout the state. What are some of your ideas?

The state’s tourism department could partner with the state’s higher education community to start talking to people who are considering New Hampshire as the place they would like to go to college or university. So to kind of look at it that way, not only within the domestic market, but the international market. There are a number of people who are coming to the United States to study, and New England overall is known as the educational capital of America.

Victoria Cimino

Do we know what the retention rate is for students who graduate in New Hampshire and how many of them end up staying here?

I don’t know that number, but I will say that for every student who travels to New Hampshire to go to college or university, they have family or friends who visit them while they’re here. That’s a significant impact, a domino effect.

What specific goals do you have for the first year of your tenure?

I would like to explore the idea of focusing on higher ed. I would also like to work more closely with Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to kind of nurture and foster root development. I would like to focus on international marketing as a major component of our overall strategy. There is now a national international marketing program. It was started through the Department of Commerce in a partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, so the United States now has an international marketing program.

Obviously, geography plays a huge part in the industry, but there are specific sectors that may not be geography related. One that comes to mind is your department’s involvement in BrewNH, a marketing effort for the state’s craft beer economy.

That is a great example. Certainly, the division does partner with the Department and Agriculture on a variety of programs, BrewNH being one of them. There is also a chocolate, wine and cheese trail that we have packaged and marketed appropriately. So there are certainly the no brainer partnerships that make a ton of sense. And then there are some nontraditional partnerships that might also do us some good as we’re kind of packaging and promoting New Hampshire.