Discover Newport

“Civitas is excited to present Discover Newport with our inaugural District of the Year award,” said Civitas Advisors President & CEO John Lambeth. “Evan Smith and his team have set an exceptional precedent in the tourism industry by proactively responding to their funding challenges and employing an offensive strategy to grow their marketing budget.”

Civitas Advisors is a California-based firm specializing in tourism marketing districts (TMDs); hotelier-funded revenue streams dedicated to strategic marketing efforts aimed at boosting leisure and business travel to a destination. The goal of these city-approved TMDs is to increase hotel occupancy and visitor spending throughout the market.

The earliest TMD was established in California nearly 30 years ago and today, there are more than 160 TMDs worldwide. The first TMD in New England was formed last year in Newport, Rhode Island, as a mechanism to protect reliable, dedicated tourism promotion funding. Discover Newport President & CEO Evan Smith is both humbled and honored to accept the award on Newport’s behalf.

“I really need to acknowledge our forward-thinking hotel partners who recognize the exponential, revolutionary advantages of adopting a TMD. Without their partnership, none of this would have been possible,” said Smith. “I have every confidence the TMD will be a touchstone of our destination marketing efforts and will have direct, measurable results for our lodging partners.”

Under the Newport Tourism Destination Marketing Management District plan, participating hotels charge a $1 assessment per night to fund the district budget. One study found that for every dollar raised by a TMD, there is a $70 return for the economy. It is estimated that this new initiative will raise $338,000 in its debut year, setting Newport up for a prosperous and autonomous tourism marketing future.

For more information on Discover Newport, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.