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Slide Show: Promoting "America's First Vacationland" Through The Years

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Have you submitted your Rhode Island tourism slogan yet? If not, there's still time! The deadline is Tuesday, July 14. We've already received some...

Have you submitted your Rhode Island tourism slogan yet? If not, there's still time! The deadline is Tuesday, July 14. We've already received some fabulous submissions from some very creative Rhode Islanders.

For the rest of you, here's a little inspiration.

Ever wondered how Rhode Island enticed tourists in years past? Wonder no more. We've gone to the State Archives and pulled this treasure trove of vintage tourism brochures and photos. Scroll down below the slide show to learn more about when Rhode Island first starting trying to attract tourists, and a few other tidbits. Thanks to Gwenn Stearn and team for their help!

(Music: "Rhode Island Is Famous For You," sung by Buddy Clark)

When did Rhode Island first start promoting tourism in an organized way? Here's a little history:

  • In 1927, Rhode Island established The Bureau of Information, mandated to “promote the further development of the natural resources of the state and the collection, preparation, publication and distribution of information and statistics relating to its natural, historical, agricultural and industrial advantages.”
  • From 1939-1950 the office was called Publicity and Advertising. In 1954, the department's name changed to Recreational Advertising.
  • The Rhode Island Development Council was born in 1951 to "guide and accomplish a coordinated, efficient and economic development of the state, which would be, in accordance with present and future needs and resources, and best promote the health, prosperity and welfare of the people of the state of Rhode Island." That was abolished in 1974 to create the Department of Economic Development. The name changed again in 1995 to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.
  • Today responsibility for tourism promotion sits with the Division of Tourism. Its purpose: "to work with tourism and promotion agencies around the state in promoting the state as a tourist destination." Rhode Island has just announced it will spend $5 million dollars on a new advertising and promotion campaign. No bidders on the contract have been announced yet.

Slide Show: Promoting
Slide Show: Promoting "America's First Vacationland" Through The Years