“We’re looking at $48.5 million in direct spending losses for the state of Rhode Island,” said Kristen Adamo on the impact of the coronavirus on tourism. “The hit that our industry has taken has just been massive. We were the first to be hit and I think we’re going to be one of the last to recover.”
Tourism is a major economic driver in Rhode Island; we hosted 25.4 million visitors in 2018, and the industry supported 86,000 jobs. (Not surprising, given our beautiful coastline, charming communities, amazing food, remarkable history, and vibrant cultural scene.)
So, yes, this hit is significant, deep, and widespread.
Kristen is president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, which grows and supports the meetings, events, sports, hospitality, and tourism sectors of our economy. She was forced to lay off 15 of her own employees, and it’s the lost jobs that drive her. “It lights the fire in your belly,” she notes. “Everything you do, you think, am I saving a job?.”
So what can we do to support our neighbors who work in the tourism industry? “Advocate for us by getting out there,” Kristen responds. Patronize local restaurants (dining in or taking out!), plan a staycation at a local hotel, and recommend Rhode Island for conventions and events.
You heard her, Rhode Island.