Tourism Revenues Rise in Rhode Island

Although the recession has created a difficult two years for the hospitality industry nationwide, a recovery appears to be underway in many states, including Rhode Island, where officials recently have reported increases in hotel and meal tax receipts, as well as convention center revenue.

According to the Rhode Island Division of Taxation, from January to May 2010, receipts from meals taxes increased 4 percent over the same period in 2009 to $7.4 million, while receipts from hotel tax revenue — excluding the city of Newport, R.I., which collects its own hotel tax — were up 9.25 percent to $596,266.

"I know that things are really moving in the right direction," Rhode Island Hospitality Association President and CEO Dale Venturini told local business journal Providence Business News. "People are feeling enthusiastic."

Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority reported last month, the Dunkin' Donuts Center had its best year in more than 15 years while the Rhode Island Convention Center experienced its best net profit since opening in 1993. For the fiscal year ended June 30, the Dunkin' Donuts Center reported $7.9 million in total revenue, up 13 percent from the previous year, while the Rhode Island Convention Center reported $14.2 million, up 4.7 percent.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment and the board is immensely gratified, considering these tough economic times," said Rhode Island Convention Center Authority Chairman David A. Duffy, who attributes the state's success to his organization's ability to attract several high-profile meetings and events, including the GovEnergy Workshop & Tradeshow and conventions for the National Association of Oil Heating Service Managers and the Snow & Ice Management Association, among others.