Beaches have opened and warm weather is upon us, which can mean only one thing for the Ocean State, tourist season has begun. State officials are expecting increases in revenue compared to last year. Summer arrived later than usual last year, and Rhode Island saw just an average tourist season. But this year thermometers have already been pushing 80 degrees.
Director of tourism for Commerce RI, Mark Brodeur said early beach openings, and events like the Volvo Ocean sailing race in Newport are giving the season a strong start.
“We would love to see double digit growth; last year we saw about 6 percent in our overall hotel stays; we’d love to match that again,” said Brodeur. “I think with this early season growth it’s very possible.”
Brodeur adds the state is working to draw people into areas like Providence which don’t see the same influx of tourist dollars as the waterfront.
“In July Providence is going to be the place where the Irish step dancers host their competition. So we’re talking probably 15,000 to 20,000 people. So we’re expecting a huge boost from that.”
Brodeur said between direct and indirect jobs, about ten percent of Rhode Island employment is due to tourist spending. The industry accounts for about three percent of the state’s overall economy.
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