MORE THAN 880,000 people visited the Newport Mansions in 2012, according to the Preservation Society of Newport County, thanks in part to new offerings such as the Servant Life tour at The Elms, pictured above.
NEWPORT – Admissions to the Newport Mansions topped 880,000 in 2012, marking the best attendance in more than a decade, according to the Preservation Society of Newport County.
Mansion admissions grew by 86,000 in 2012 to 883,000. The one-year increase of 11 percent marks the strongest on record, according to the preservation society, and follows the investment of more than $1 million in four new tours over the last four years.
The tours include adult and youth audio tours at The Breakers, an audio tour at Rosecliff and the Servant Life tour at The Elms.
The preservation society said starting the spring season two weeks earlier in 2012 also jump-started the growth.
“Building on this year’s success, the 2013 spring season will begin on February 15, pulled back from the traditional first week of April,” said a society release.
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House now will be open daily from Newport Winter Festival until New Year’s Day, 2014. Also, the daily operating season for all 11 Newport Mansions will be expanded five weeks from Labor Day to Columbus Day, a 25 percent increase from previous years. The traditional holiday programs at the mansions through New Year’s Day will follow.
“This is a huge development for Newport. Having the Newport Mansions open earlier will be a tremendous boost to our efforts to market Newport as a year-round destination, especially strengthening the spring shoulder season,” Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport, said in a statement. “This will benefit every aspect of the hospitality industry — lodging, restaurants, retail stores and other attractions — that depend on visitors for their success.”
Other 2013 enhancements include an expanded audio tour of The Elms with new research on servant life as well as stories about major preservation projects. These will premier in the late spring.
“Tourism is a very important industry for Newport and all of Rhode Island,” R.I. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed said in prepared remarks. “The work of the preservation society is particularly vital in preserving the historic beauty of Newport, and I couldn’t be more pleased about the record growth in tourism seen in 2012.”
“A booming tourism industry is great for Newport, great for the state, and most importantly, great for getting our economy back on track,” said Paiva Weed.