South County Tourism Council techniques up efforts to promote area

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The South County Tourism Council, which promotes 11 towns up and down the state’s southern coast, is pushing the region as a summer return-to destination spot as pandemic fears dissipate with the wintertime chills.

Louis Bishop, council president, told The Independent last week that the council is using over $360,000 in state-allocated money from hotel-tax revenue to support its mission to market South County from New England to Washington, D.C.

“My goal is to bring people on as the go-to travel market,” said Bishop about the emphasis that Southern County is only a couple of hours car ride away from anywhere in the Northeast - and well worth the trip.

It’s been a hardcore year for tourism-related businesses through the entire county. Early spring indications, say executives of tourism councils and chambers of commerce, indicate a solid rebound.

Various bellwether businesses such as for example rental agencies, boat sellers and retail businesses echo the same sentiments.

Bishop remarked that a few of tourism council’s info on private home local rental shows a rise over 2019 and 2020 already. “I am anticipating good sturdy numbers for the reason that category as the season develops,” she said.

Her results mirror the national info collected by Phocuswright, a company that studies trends found in the travel industry.

Consumers, when asked late this past year whether they were more or less confident that travel will be safe in the brand new year - in comparison to how they felt through the elevation of the pandemic - expressed confidence.

Nearly 50% of U.S. respondents explained they felt well informed it could be safe to travel, the firm reported.

That number is expected to grow as more persons became vaccinated against COVD-19 and had the itch to plan a summer vacation.

Raising the flag

To greatly help put South County before those making summer ideas, the council - established by point out law to market tourism - has contracted for seven digital billboards from New York to Washington, D.C.

In addition, it has teamed up for a great advertising effort with WGBH found in Boston to utilize the Massachusetts industry of day-trippers, persons wanting weekend getaways and traditional summer months vacationers.

Furthermore, the council has also placed online digital advertisings on countrywide magazine websites and dipped into some radio advertising aswell, she said.

Bishop said the council is also using surprise baskets with various advertisements and price reduction cards to lure persons to the spot. They receive to chambers of commerce to work with for promotion and one special work centered on fundraising for the Chorus of Westerly.

Among the 11 towns in the council’s region, Westerly and its own attractions, like the chorus, can be a drawing card for visitors who get a surprise basket, she said, adding that this effort caused $4,000 to the group.

The chorus includes in its membership one-third children ages 8 - 16 and two-thirds adults of most ages. Parents rehearse once weekly for two hours. Kids rehearse twice a week for just one hour and attend an eight-day time music camp directed each August.

Outlook on the summertime

“From all we hear, people are feeling safe and sound and want another. Hotels put health and safety first and people will come back. That is without question. We happen to be another drive-to marketplace,” Bishop said.

That is a marked contrast to her assessment last July, when South County saw a resurgence in hotel and other lodging numbers in mid-summer after a fall in planting season when the pandemic and accompanying restrictions were flattening the tourist industry.

At that time, Southern County, like Cape Cod experienced, an urgent influx of folks - after massive cancellations of accommodations bookings in March and early on April.

Vacationers just like to spend time here, perhaps a short get from their homes elsewhere, and revel in a traditional summer vacation, Bishop said last July with some caution that “it is still a mixed bag of issues.”

This year that is not her view or that of other people who promote the local tourist economy.

Kristin Urbach, executive director of the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, said, “Our local market will knowledge a burst after May 28 as restrictions become less strict for social gatherings, events, dining, and more!»

“At the NK Chamber of Commerce, that as well serves as the official tourism center, we’re experiencing a rise of tourism related inquiries,” she said.

CBNC recently reported that COVID vaccines, flexible cancellation policies and people yearning to liberate from home are creating anticipations for a booming summer months travel season already showing up through reservations found in the national travel sector.

A survey from research company Toluna indicates Us citizens are gaining assurance to visit with each passing month, with 27% comfortable to visit in April and 42% by July.

Joseph Viele, executive director of the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, reported that his customers feel good about a strong season forward. They happen to be buoyant by a corona virus vaccine assisting to convenience fears, he added.

“We are already seeing signs of lifestyle in businesses. There happen to be more persons in restaurants and some of the state’s restrictions have eased and that's making for an improved business environment,” he stated this week.

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