In Rhode Island, tourism and hospitality has long been a leading industry, providing jobs, income and revenue for local businesses and municipalities. Annually, more than 21 million visitors come to Rhode Island to experience all our great state has to offer.
From NCAA tournament games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, to internationally acclaimed events such as the Newport jazz and folk festivals and meetings and conventions that annually draw thousands of thought leaders, Rhode Island prides itself on making it easy to visit our beautiful state.
In fact, making it easy to travel to and around Rhode Island has resulted in millions of dollars in spending by visitors.
That’s why we strongly support the addition of transportation-network companies such as Lyft and Uber to our state. Since their introduction to Rhode Island several years ago, these convenient ride-sharing services have been making it easier for people to navigate and explore the Ocean State. Whether for a business meeting or a chance to go enjoy the exciting events our state has to offer, TNCs provide a safe, affordable, and convenient ride around town.
What’s even better is that TNCs are helping to keep our roads and our communities safer by providing an alternative to impaired driving. When people are out having a good time, they know they can get back to their hotel without having to get behind the wheel, by utilizing one of these services.
We were thrilled when Rhode Island lawmakers passed TNC legislation last year and so far, the results have been terrific for our state. Local drivers have the chance to earn extra income, it’s easier than ever for visitors to explore new areas in our communities, passengers are spending more, and people are less likely to drive after a day or night out enjoying Rhode Island.
Let’s keep a good thing going. Approximately one in five TNC rides is taken by a visitor to our state. Let’s work together to keep TNCs on the road across the entire state, as we work to promote Rhode Island as THE place to come visit for work or for fun.
Martha Sheridan is president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau. Evan Smith is president and CEO of Discover Newport.