The South Central region of Connecticut boasts exceptional arts organizations, healthcare and education institutions, tourist attractions, delicious dining options, comfortable accommodations, and breathtaking natural scenery. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the region's industries, resulting in ongoing and severe consequences. Although leisure travel has recovered and even surpassed pre-pandemic levels at times, business travel has not been as fortunate and is not expected to fully recover until 2025. The hospitality sector, especially restaurants and lodging, is struggling to attract and retain employees capable of supporting a return to full capacity.
The arrival of Avelo Airlines in this area's market has been a positive development for the industry. They now offer nonstop flights to 17 (and growing) destinations from New Haven, surpassing all other airlines in Connecticut. Additionally, Tweed-New Haven Airport has expanded its parking facilities to accommodate Avelo Airlines passengers. The arrival of Avelo Airlines in this area's market has been a positive development for the industry. They now offer nonstop flights to 15 destinations from New Haven, surpassing all other airlines in Connecticut. Additionally, Tweed-New Haven Airport has expanded its parking facilities to accommodate Avelo Airlines passengers.
To increase resilience, safety, and customer service, the hospitality sector is adopting technology, including robotic servers, electronic ordering and check-in, touchless transactions, integrated platforms to monitor guests' movements and sanitization schedules, and virtual guest communications. Much of the investment is customer-facing, as the guest experience is a significant competitive differentiator.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend of working from home, leading to the rise of "bleisure hospitality market" where hospitality venues are being used as temporary offices. The demand for preventive medicine and self-care retreats is increasing, providing an excellent opportunity for hospitality venues to cater to these needs. Additionally, the solo and LGBTQ+ travel markets present growth opportunities for the region's tourism and hospitality sectors.
The Cultural Equity Plan of New Haven is working towards enhancing economic prospects for Black and Brown communities by removing structural hurdles to access and amplifying their prominence.
Click here for the most recent American Hotel & Lodging Association's State Fact Sheet for Connecticut.