Providence tourism industry struggling amid pandemic, protests


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Providence’s tourism industry has been dealt a very difficult hand over the past couple of months, according to Kristen Adamo, president of the Providence/Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Adamo said the city’s tourism industry has taken back-to-back hits; the first being the start of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the national coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests and the overnight riot that occurred earlier this month.

Although Providence residents know the city is safe, she feels that it is being unfairly portrayed to those that may want to visit.

“What I’m concerned about is some of the coverage in the national media, it’s portraying an inaccurate picture of cities, it makes it look like there is rioting every day,” Adamo said. “First of all, there is a difference between a peaceful protest and a riot, and also, it makes people unnecessary afraid to go into cities.”

But Adamo said it’s not just national tourists she’s concerned with. She’s also worried that people from other New England states are also hesitant.

“So what we are looking at now, is how do we communicate particularly to locals in other cities here in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, that Providence is a safe city and there’s lots of great things still going on?” Adamo said. “Especially in a time like this when restaurants and other small businesses really need the support.”

She said she’s hopeful tourists will return to the city to enjoy all it has to offer. She’s organizing a group of community members to discuss a plan to entice visitors to come to the city.

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