The House today approved a resolution sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D – Distrct 75, Newport) to form a special legislative commission dedicated to fostering the growth of Rhode Island’s tourism industry.
The creation of this commission comes on the heels of a previous special commission that recently wrapped up two years of work focused on improving statewide promotion of the tourism industry, and which recommended that further work be done to study changes in the state’s tourism promotion structure and efforts to enable the industry to reach its full potential.
“Our discussions on the promotion of tourism in Rhode Island over the last couple of years have shed light upon a lot of possibilities that could better serve our state and our industry. We should be re-examining how we allocate the hotel tax, for example, to make sure it reflects our tourism growth goals, and we should be carefully and frequently measuring and evaluating our tourism promotion efforts so we know whether they are effective. This commission will continue the work we began two years ago, but with a more pointed focus on creating the most effective structures for the state’s efforts,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), who chaired the previous commission and also sponsored the legislation that created it.
The legislation (2017-H 6278A), which does not require Senate approval, creates a 19-member special House commission that includes six members of the House of Representatives,the director of the Rhode Island Department of Revenue; the president of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association; the executive leaders of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, Discover Newport, the Block Island Tourism Council, the South County Tourism Council, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council and the Warwick Department of Tourism, Culture and Development; the chairperson of the Providence Tourism Council; one representative of private-sector tourism each from Providence, South County and Newport; and the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
The bill instructs the commission to examine the creation and promotion of policies to enhance a coordinated tourism and visitor industry in Rhode Island using a statewide coordination of efforts and information to evaluate modifying the state’s tourism management and oversight structure; exploring the economic impact of environmental quality on the tourism industry; developing a comprehensive and unified metrics framework for the state and local regions to make evaluations for all future state government tourism investments; re-evaluating the formula used for the distribution of the hotel and lodging tax in order to reflect a 21st-century tourism model that strategically fits the state’s tourism management structures and provides equitably; and analyzing and evaluating the impact, sustainability and expansion of international tourism on Rhode Island’s tourism economy.
All of those efforts were recommendations the previous committee made in its report, issued last month.
The commission is to report to the House on its efforts by Jan. 5, 2019.
The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol. Warren), Rep. Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) and Rep. Robert J. Quattrocchi (R-Dist. 41, Scituate, Cranston).