After completing 2012 with the best attendance in a decade, The Preservation Society of Newport County today announced a number of enhanced offerings for 2013, including plans to open more of the Newport Mansions earlier and keep them open longer.
Reflecting their popularity with a global audience, admissions to the Newport Mansions grew by 86,000 to a total of 883,000 in 2012.
This one-year increase of 11 percent, the strongest on record, follows the investment of over $1 million in four new tours over the last four years. These include adult and youth audio tours at The Breakers, an audio tour at Rosecliff, and the Servant Life Tour at The Elms.
An experiment in starting the spring season two weeks earlier in 2012 jump-started the growth.
Building on the year’s success, the 2013 spring season will begin on February 15, pulled back from the traditional first week of April.
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House now will be open daily from Newport Winter Festival until New Year’s Day, 2014. Additionally, the daily operating season for all 11 Newport Mansions will be expanded five weeks from Labor Day to Columbus Day, a 25% increase, followed by the traditional holiday programs at the mansions through New Year's Day.
Among other 2013 enhancements, an expanded audio tour of The Elms with new servant life research and stories about major preservation projects will premier in late spring. Mandarin language translations will be added to the existing French, German and Spanish audio tour translations at The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff as well.
“Tourism is a very important industry for Newport and all of Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. “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.”
“We have demonstrated time and again that exciting new initiatives that build visitation also help us fulfill our mission – funding projects like the recent restoration of Chateau-sur-Mer, or the restoration of 18th century lacquer panels at The Elms, or critical roof repairs at Kingscote,” said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “At the same time our new programs create jobs and grow our regional economy.”
“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,” said Evan Smith, President and CEO of Discover Newport. “ This will benefit every aspect of the hospitality industry—lodging, restaurants, retail stores and other attractions—that depend on visitors for their success.”
With a regional economic impact of well over $100 million dollars annually, Newport Mansions visitors spend an average of $100 a day in Newport, of which the Preservation Society captures approximately $17.50.
Regarding the Society’s impressive 11 percent jump in admissions in 2012, Rhode Island Tourism Director Mark Brodeur commented, "Increased visitation to the Newport Mansions is no accident where innovative programming continues to draw new consumers and interest loyal visitors. The Preservation Society sets the gold standard when it comes to managing historic attractions."
Jody Sullivan, Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, added, “Hospitality & Tourism is a critical economic driver for Rhode Island. This kind of ongoing investment is exactly what we need to keep growing our local and state economy. I applaud the Preservation Society for its leadership and its commitment to ensuring that our tourism economy remains vibrant."
“On behalf of all members of the Preservation Society, I want to thank all of the merchants and citizens of Newport County for their continuing support and participation,” said Coxe. “The Newport Mansions are just one element of our area’s unique historic offerings and incomparable visitor experience. We are confident that 2013 will be the best year yet for the Preservation Society and our wonderful community.”