The Special Legislative Commission to Study Methods for Growing Tourism in the State of Rhode Island Through Coordinated Branding and Marketing Efforts will meet Thursday with Darin Early, president of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and Seth Goldenberg, founder and CEO of Epic Decade, one of the three firms that developed the state’s tourism campaign.

The meeting is scheduled Thursday, May 26, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the House Lounge on the second floor of the State House.

At the meeting, the commission will review information it has requested from the Commerce Corporation about the specifics of the statewide tourism campaign rollout earlier this year. Among the information the commission requested were the data and responses of the 1,800 people (in state and out of state) that were tested on the tourism logo, a financial accounting of Commerce Corporation’s tourism budget and expenditures from July 1, 2015, to the present, the criteria used in selecting the consultants, the contract and severance agreement with former chief marketing officer Betsy Wall and the cancellation a letter for the contract with Havas.

The meeting will also include a discussion on the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s performance metrics and best practice research, an update on the campaign from Early and Goldenberg, and a discussion of 2017 goals regarding the statewide branding program.

No public testimony will be taken at this meeting, although it is open to the public and the media.

The commission, which is led by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), has been asked to perform a comprehensive analysis of best-practice methods used to expand tourism on both a regional and national level, to gather information on the current collaborative practices of the state’s multiple tourism councils, to analyze  reports provided semi-annually by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and to make recommendations to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation that would enable it to develop more informed and coordinated decision-making efforts regarding the development of branding and marketing of tourism in Rhode Island.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

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