From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in Golocal24.com
In the summer, of course, Newport is packed, but not in the winter. As Bob Curley, writing in Newport Life, noted in an article about hotels in the City by the Sea: “Newport has a classic resort town problem: not enough hotel rooms in the high season — when hotel occupancy tops 90 percent — and not enough visitors to fill those rooms in the off-season, when occupancy drops to about 40 percent.’’
So some people have long pushed to have a really major (500 guestrooms and big meeting halls for plenary sessions, etc.) convention-center style hotel to draw major national and even international meetings, and so many more visitors, year round. (The Newport tourist season, has, it is true, been lengthening in recent years, in part because of the proliferation of events created at least in part to snare more tourists and other visitors year round.)
A convention center might make economic sense, but would most Newporters want a lot more people in the off-season?
Mr. Curley notes that Newport now has about 2,360 hotel rooms (though more are soon to come), while the subtropical old East Coast tourist cities of Savannah (with 10,000 rooms) and Charleston (with 13,000) have many more. But is tight little Newport set up to handle a huge increase, even if it can get it despite that little cold snap called winter? Maybe. It handled thousands of sailors back when it hosted the Navy’s destroyer fleet.
To read Mr. Curley’s article, please hit this link.