Summer tourist season winds down in Newport

(Brian Yocono/WPRI)

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) – Newport is wrapping up what could be a banner year for summer tourism.

Evan Smith, the President and CEO of Discover Newport, told Eyewitness News that this year, which included the Volvo Ocean Race, looks like it could be one of the biggest on record.

“Probably a record-breaking summer,” he said Saturday. “All the numbers aren’t in yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if we set an all-time record for total tourism dollars here in Newport.”

The city by the sea was busy, as usual, on the weekend that signals the unofficial end of summer.

“I think we’re just going to adlib,” said Pat Masotti, who was in town for a weekend wedding. “There’s so much to do and see, and not enough time, so I guess we’ll just take it hour by hour.”

Smith said that there were a number of factors which made the summer so successful – good weather, low gas prices and a somewhat stronger national economy – but much of the credit belongs to the businesses and venues themselves.

The success of the destination is really due to the private sector and all the work that they do to try to being people to us.”

Not everyone agreed; Tyson Ford of the Perry Mill Tavern lamented the loss of one of the local landmarks and said things were far from record-breaking in his establishment.

“Not having the tent there this year…all our big weekends would always be when there was a concert or comedy show, something like that going on. Not having it this year, I’ve definitely seen the impact.”

Even though Labor Day brings the summer season to a close, Smith said that things won’t get much slower, with cruise ships, international travelers and business conferences expected to help keep things busy in Newport.

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