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The Volvo Ocean Race Newport stopover in 2018 will be a main topic of discussion when the Special Legislative Commission to Study Methods for Growing Tourism in the State of Rhode Island Through Coordinated Branding and Marketing Efforts meets today.

The meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. in Suite 101 (the Narragansett Room) at the offices of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence. The commission has been holding some of its meetings at sites around the state to highlight Rhode Island’s tourism assets and to engage more Rhode Islanders in its conversations.

On the agenda is a presentation by Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, Inc. on Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport scheduled May 8 through 20, 2018. He has been asked to share strategies for having a successful event and expanding the economic impact of the stopover. Newport is the only North American stopover of the race, as it was in 2015, when the 13-day stopover of the grand prix sailing event brought nearly 130,000 visitors to Newport, with a $47 million impact on the state.

Also on the agenda is a report via Skype from Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics, an economics company dedicated to analytically-based consulting to the tourism sector.

There will also be a report from Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Martha Sheridan, who leads the commission’s working group on best practices of other states and their tourism structures.

Additionally, there will be work to prepare the commission’s final report to the House, and a round robin discussion of regional summer tourism plans.

No public testimony will be taken at this time, however the hearing 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.