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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Meeting Friday on how to boost tourism

Tourism commission to meet at Matunuck Oyster Bar

The Special Legislative Commission to Study Methods for Growing Tourism in the State of Rhode Island Through Coordinated Branding and Marketing Efforts will meet Friday at the Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled Friday, Aug. 19, at 10 a.m. at the Matunuck Oyster Bar, 629 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown.

The commission, led by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) recently began holding its meetings at sites around the state to highlight and draw attention to Rhode Island’s tourism assets and to engage more Rhode Islanders in its conversations.

The commission, which also includes Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), was organized to study Rhode Island’s tourism industry and make recommendations for cultivating it through statewide coordinated branding and marketing efforts. 

It is currently working to review the distribution of the hotel tax; to examine other state tourism promotion organizational structures in order to recommend a stable and effective organizational home for statewide tourism efforts; and to design and recommend a metric system for measuring the impact and the return on investment on state tourism and marketing dollars. 

It is also receiving regular reports from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which receives a share of the hotel tax for marketing and branding, and reviewing its campaigns, expenditures and the return on dollars spent.

The meeting will include discussions from the commission’s workgroups on the hotel tax distribution, measurement metrics and other states’ tourism promotion structures, as well as an update from the Commerce Corporation by  its Chief Marketing Officer Lara Salamano and Havas. 

It will also include a presentation about the Matunuck Oyster Bar by Perry Raso, who owns both the restaurant and Matunuck Oyster Farm, which supplies the restaurant with oysters through his “pond to plate” concept. Public testimony is welcome.