NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — After the past two years, we all need a vacation, and Americans are prioritizing fulfilling that need despite inflation and sky-high gas prices.

The latest data from Longwoods International COVID-19 and American Travel Sentiment Research found that 44% of those surveyed said they’re cutting back on how many trips they take due to higher gas prices. Additionally, they were planning on traveling more locally to cut down on gas.

However, Newport has seen something more optimistic, according to Discover Newport President Evan Smith.

“Most of our travelers come from four states: Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Over 65% of our visitor population comes from those four states,” Smith said. “I could say that people are making cutbacks in their lives and lifestyle, but they’re still prioritizing their vacation. People need that vacation.”

He added that visitors may instead decide to cut down on how many nights they stay in town or how much they go out to eat.

When it comes to dining out, Smith said the restaurants are packed. Traditionally, tourism destinations like Newport rely on international workers who come on 6-month visas for the busy season. That was cut back during the pandemic.

This year, Smith said, they’re back to about 50% of what they usually are with international workers. He said restaurant owners are just trying to fill shifts to accommodate patrons.

“When you look at the various different categories, dining is over 250 million dollar industry just in the City of Newport alone. The challenge, as many people know, is the workforce right now,” Smith said. “For many restaurants, the people are there, the travelers are there, they want to eat, but managers and owners of restaurants are having to watch their scheduling.”

Newport is attracting a variety of people for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to take in the City by the Sea’s rich history and culture, or its variety of recreational activities from golfing to sailing. It’s also home to festivals and tournaments, such as the Newport Folk Festival and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Open, all happening during the busy summer season.

Don’t forget the many mansions and venues hosting weddings as events return to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, Smith said it appears people are comfortable attending many of the festivals and events, like the Newport Bermuda Race, because they are largely outdoors.

He said hotel prices are going up and people are considering alternatives like Air BnB for short-term stays. Smith said at this point, about a fifth of all overnights in Rhode Island are through home-sharing services, rather than hotels.