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Is RI making the most from its tourism?

Tourism is a $5 billion industry in Rhode Island, and with ongoing budget woes (and high gas prices), you'd hope the state might be able to realize more revenue from this sector.

To some, the state has an excess of tourism-related agencies. They include:

The state division of Tourism, part of the RI EDC.

Five independent regional tourism councils, funded in part through the hotel tax, representing the Blackstone Valley, Newport County, Block Island, the East Bay, and South County.

The Providence/Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau.

And municipal departments in Providence and Warwick that focus, to some extent, on tourism.

Defenders of this approach say it's best-suited for promoting RI's distinct regions, and that the state has gotten a big return from a relatively small promotional budget for tourism.

Regardless of who's right, as I write in my story this week, this approach doesn't seem likely to change any time soon.

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