PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Economic Development Corporation has hired Maine-based research and planning firm Planning Decisions Inc. to conduct an economic impact study of the America’s Cup World Series Event taking place this week in Newport.
“We went out to bid for it, and they were the only ones who responded,” said Paul Harden, executive director of the America’s Cup Rhode Island 2012. “Their mission is to [study] the economic impact and to develop a structure for models to evaluate future marine-related events, whether it be Tall Ships or other events. The purpose of that is really to make sure we’re comparing apples to apples.”
Planning Decisions will place team members on site at Fort Adams, where the state and the America’s Cup Host Committee has set up a viewing village for sailing enthusiasts, to survey attendees and also will survey America’s Cup Event Authority officials on their numbers, as well as compare sales tax revenue during the June 29-July 1 racing events.
The America’s Cup Event Authority has estimated an economic benefit of $72 million to Newport during the events. The study should be completed by October.
Harden said early numbers are encouraging. He had expected about 2,000 to 3,000 people to visit the Fort Adams village over its initial weekend on June 23-24. There were 4,400 there on June 23 and 4,800 on June 24, he said.
“From what I’ve heard, feedback is pretty positive. We’re not going to [really] know until later in the week when they’re actually racing,” Harden said. “Hopefully people will see Newport and Rhode Island and what a beautiful [place] this is, and they’ll come back.”