Newport Economy: What is better than a Newport Summer?

What could be better than summer in Newport?  We are blessed with a thriving tourism economy and our City by the Sea is filled with wonderful events, fabulous summer weather and the vision of many possibilities.  But at what cost?


Let’s start a conversation on the future of our tourism economy:

       How can we build a thriving tourism and sustainable economy and maintain quality of life for Newport residents and maintain our historical heritage?

       How can we attract tourism investment to meet these goals? 

       Can government revenues from tourism activities cover the added costs for infrastructure and government services?

       How we profit from sustainable tourism?  

       And finally, if Newport Grand is approved for table games, is Newport happy with 1% of the profits?


In their Spring 2014 report to the Newport City Council, the Newport Finance Review Commission reported that:

 $640 million of tourism dollars are generated in Newport annually. 

  Only a small portion of this economic inflow makes it to Newport’s municipal revenue budget -- about $15 million. 

   For every ten tax dollars generated from tourism in Newport, seven dollars stay in the State budget. 

And now, as we face a new decision on expanded gaming, it is important to note that for every gaming dollar generated, 60% goes to the State, 28% to Newport Grand and the balance of just over 1% goes to the city of Newport.

On the expense side there are embedded expenses of infrastructure and municipal services (e.g., police, fire, trash) associated with supporting and encouraging a vibrant tourism industry. The stress of the summer traffic, limited parking and crowds of tourists -- approximately 3,500,000 in 2013 -- have a profound impact on Newport. 

I know that the tourist economy is the backbone of our city. From 1986-2001 I owned a Bed and Breakfast in downtown Newport.  I lived and worked by the seasonal nature of business in Newport.  But as I think about our economy, I ask what is our shared vision for the economic future of Newport?


As part my Unfolding Platform, I will propose strategies for examining these issues.  Please join in the discussion, watch for my next email on the tourism economy and email me your ideas at LaurenHCarson@gmail.com.