The City of Norwich is launching a new program aimed at revitalizing local businesses and driving tourism to the area.
"Passport to Norwich" offers people ideas and incentives for exploring the city. People are invited to pick up a free passport pamphlet, pick a destination to explore, and choose a participating restaurant at which to eat. If you spend $10 at one of the restaurants you get a stamp. Twenty passport stamps puts you in the running for a $250 gift card.
“It is really a way to drive tourists and also residents here to Norwich," said Regan Miner, with the Norwich Historical Society. "Our goal is to encourage heritage tourism and also encourage economic development in town as well.”
Inside each pamphlet, there is also information about the Walk Norwich Trails and other tourism destinations. The city is hoping that the passport program will help people discover local businesses and, at the same time, explore the city's history and scenery.
“I think it’s a great time. We have so much energy going on in the city right now," said Angela Adams, the head of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce. “There’s many reasons to come down right now as things are opening.”
Uncle D's Blazin' BBQ is one of more than 50 restaurants participating.
“We are hoping that it brings new people to the area and that it helps ramp business back up to where we were pre-COVID times," said Angelina Gardner, owner of Uncle D’s Blazin' BBQ.
Norwich received a grant from the Eastern Regional Tourism District and a matching sponsorship from US Foods to fund the program. There are $10,000 worth of gift card prizes available.
Passports can be picked up from the restaurants, the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, Norwich City Hall, or Foundry 66. There is a maximum of three stamps allowed from one location.