House Finance Committee members expressed backing Wednesday for the intention of the state’s new effort to boost tourism, despite the much-publicized mistakes in the initial rollout
The marketing slogan of “Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer” was dropped after being criticized and ridiculed, and an updated tourism web site was rife with errors. In speaking to lawmakers, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor called the mistakes unacceptable. Moving forward, Pryor said the state will eschew a single slogan while emphasizing the overall appeal of attractions like the Rhode Island’s beaches, theater and restaurants.
"I will tell you that some states don’t have a tagline,"Pryor said in an earlier briefing with reporters. "They emphasize the name of the state. Some do. I think we’re in a good place if we put that behind us."
Governor Gina Raimondo has boosted spending on promoting tourism, after years of under-funding. Lawmakers say they support the focus of sparking more visits from people in other Northeast states and want the Commerce Corporation to coordinately more closely with regional tourism councils. Pryor said he's taken steps to make that happen.
Pryor said the benefits of promoting tourism will eventually win over Rhode Islanders upset by the botched rollout.
“A positive effort of this kind can result in more tourists, more dollars in our economy, more jobs for Rhode Islanders," he said. "That’s how I think we’ll earn their trust back.”