People are seen walking through downtown Newport during the Ocean Race. (VLNE)
NEWPORT, R.I. (VLNE) — Newport’s economy remained buoyant after The Ocean Race made a stop in the seaside town before sailing to its next destination.
“[The Ocean Race] generat[ed] tens of millions of dollars to the city and state economy,” said Evan Smith, president of Discover Newport.
This is the third Ocean Race that Newport has hosted. This year, Smith said, the race drew over 100,000 people.
When asked exactly how much the city profited from the event, Smith said they are still in the early stages of assessing the economic impact. He said it would be “weeks if not months” before they release a full economic impact statement.
“We’re just thrilled it was here,” Smith said. “Our tourist season has started – our peak tourist season is from May to October.”
He added that the “global marquee event” in Newport in the first two weeks of May is a “giant kick-off” to the tourist season.
Will Newport be ready to host future Ocean Race events?
“You know, that’s a great question because you get so excited and excited after you do one of these things. You have to step back and evaluate it,” Smith replied. “Sail Newport deserves mountains of credit for all the work they’ve done.”
However, while Smith said he “can’t really speak for [Sail Newport] at this point,” he believes the city has impressed people enough to be invited to bid again.
“Whether we go forward and pursue another offer — that would be another conversation for another day,” he said.
But will you be ready?
“Speaking for Discover Newport, we certainly would be, but we are not the only organization responsible for this fantastic event,” Smith concluded.
Also pleased with the revenue the Ocean Race brought to Newport was Mayor Ksaikham Khamsivoravong, who said the turnout was exactly what they had hoped for from the event.
“We had an incredible amount of coverage that came with it. We also had a lot of followers on the water,” Khamsivoravong said. “It was a very successful event for the city of Newport.”
The ocean race is still underway, and the teams are heading to their next destination — Aarhus, Denmark.