Among the positives during a busy summer in Newport, a corporate-outing windfall was realized as the City by the Sea played host to several major sailing events, including the America’s Cup World Series, tall ships and the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race.
Whether companies specialized in team-building exercises or simply provided a means for all to enjoy the festivities, many, including charter-boat services, reaped the benefits from the successful spending combination of tourists, nationally known corporations and world-class sailing events.
The R.I. Economic Development Corporation has hired Planning Decisions of Portland, Maine, a 30-year-old research and planning firm to conduct an economic study on the racing world series and the other marine events in Rhode Island, with the purpose of understanding the sources of revenue. The company will also create a system for the state to evaluate the economic impact of future marine events. The report is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.
The Cup races took place June 23-July 1 and the EDC estimated the event could bring in more than $70 million into the state’s economy. Part of the state’s efforts to make the happening even more attractive was the addition of an “exploration zone” in Newport that gave visitors a first-hand look at Narragansett Bay. The zone included sailing, sea creatures and the history and heritage of boat building and America’s Cup racing. The tall ships followed July 6, and both events were preceded by the Newport to Bermuda race on June 15.
“It has been a banner year in Newport, we had a great summer. Obviously all the sailing events drove volumes of people to Newport,” said Kerri Quinn Jaffe, chief marketing officer for Newport Harbor Corporation, where she oversees sales management and marketing strategy for several facilities, including the Castle Hill Inn. “Also, a variety of corporations attended some high-profile events over the summer,” she said. Corporate outings are held at the Castle Hill Inn, 40 acres of property overlooking the southern Narragansett Bay. “We certainly had our share of corporations coming to Newport to experience the lawn and our views,” she said.