Updated March 26 at 6:25pm
hospitality & tourism

Tourism industry feted by state

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WARWICK - Eight individuals, businesses and organizations were honored for their work promoting tourism in Rhode Island during the Tourism Unity Luncheon and Travel Exchange held Wednesday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick and sponsored by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and its tourism division.

“I have consistently stated that in order for Rhode Island to prosper, we must take advantage of our existing assets, and our tourism industry is one of Rhode Island’s foremost assets,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee told the gathering. “We have a unique history and natural environment and beauty that no other state can match. We must capitalize on that and use it strategically to our advantage.”

The luncheon featured 27 exhibitors who took part in the Travel Exchange, an opportunity for media, travel trade and private sector organizations to network and promote their services. The Moremi African Beats Inc., the Eastern Medicine Singers and the CrissCross Orchestra provided musical entertainment, organized by the tourism division and the R.I. State Council on the Arts.

Those honored were:

  • Providence & Worcester Railroad, Blackstone Valley region – Located in Lincoln, the company is the only interstate freight carrier serving Rhode Island, possessing exclusive and perpetual right to conduct freight operations in the Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border. The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council works closely with the railroad on special events, such as the Polar Express train trips at Christmastime.

  • Taste of Block Island Committee – The committee organizes a wide range of events taking place around the island, helping visitors fully experience Block Island’s food, lodgings, beaches, activities, shopping and hospitality.

  • Downtown Bristol Merchants Association – This group of merchants works to enhance the business environment for the profitability of its members through mutual cooperation by sharing common market advocacy, event hosting and best business practices. The association, for instance, worked to have downtown businesses stay open later one night a week during the holiday shopping season last year.

  • WADK-AM, Newport – Located off Thames Street in downtown, the News Talk radio station was established in 1948 to serve Newport County and regularly runs special programs related to business matters, as well as covering local news and sports with two hours of local news weekday mornings.

  • Neil Schriever, senior vice president of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau – Based in Providence, Schriever has more than 20 years of experience working in various markets and representing different types of properties and destinations. He has “shown strength in leadership, implementation, sales strategies, account development and building relationships,” tourist officials said.

  • Matunuck Oyster Farm & Restaurant – Located in the Matunuck section of South Kingstown, the shellfish it serves is grown and maintained at The Matunuck Oyster Farm in East Matunuck, which was established in 1992 and offers educational field trips to show how shellfish are cultivated in local waters.

  • Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce – Located off Post Road in Warwick, the Chamber supports and advances the business community in the central part of the state by providing leadership initiatives in economic and human development.

  • John V. Gibbons – Gibbons, director of national accounts for the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, received a special recognition award in his capacity as executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission. His specialties include lining up sports venues, coordinating hotel blocks for small- to large-scale sporting events and assisting clients through government regulation and public safety. He played a key role when the first round of the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball tournament was held in Providence last year.

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