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Evan Smith, President and CEO of Discover Newport, predicts a busy upcoming Labor Day weekend throughout the region.

Discover Newport is the official destination management organization (DMO) dedicated to promoting the City of Newport and the eight surrounding coastal townships in Newport and Bristol Counties, Rhode Island

Three key factors, he said, have led him to the projection.

“First, occupancy rates have been at or near capacity throughout the summer. Specifically, Newport’s lodging tax was up 36.5% in July over the same time last year and the food and beverage tax was up nearly 14% – these are very assuring figures,” said Smith. “Second, gas prices are steadily declining and our destination is within driving distance of 10% of the U.S. population including key markets like New York, Philadelphia, Hartford, New Haven, Boston and points north. Lastly, we’re seeing a promising weather forecast which is critical for so many day trippers and weekend getaway travelers.”

Smith’s forecast is in sync with travel expectations recently stated by AAA Northeast which projects 35.5 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Labor Day weekend (defined as Sept. 3 through 7). The travel agency noted that nearly 86 percent of those traveling will do so by car.

“We’re equally optimistic about the early fall travel outlook,” added Smith. “Autumn traditionally welcomes a significant amount of visitors including an increase in international travelers as well as thousands of motor coaches and cruise ship passengers. It is also the time of year we see a surge in meetings and conventions; a critical component of tourism business. We look forward to welcoming all of these visitors to our destination during what we believe is one of the most spectacular times of the year.”

Photo of people dining at 22 Bowen’s Restaurant on Bowen’s Wharf provided by Newport Restaurant Group.

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