PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Angel Taveras on Monday unveiled a plan that calls for spending $5 million annually to grow tourism in Rhode Island, which he said is a major economic driver.
The Providence mayor said he would increase the state tourism division's budget from $400,000 a year to $2.4 million and undertake a statewide marketing effort to create an "overarching brand" to draw more visitors.
The plan also calls for improvements in infrastructure and public transit; support for the arts, entertainment and cultural heritage industries; development of the "farm to table" food movement; and a website to match hospitality industry graduates with job openings.
The mayor said there's much more that can be done to showcase the state and that the tourism investments in his "Discover Rhode Island" plan should pay for themselves over time in terms of job creation and tax revenue.
"A progressive government understands that our tourism industry is more than an amenity — it is crucial to economic development and to Rhode Island's economic recovery," he said in a message accompanying the plan. "Our state needs to cultivate the tourism economy as it would any other major industry."
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