A report commissioned by Preserve Rhode Island and the Preservation Society of Newport County shows that Rhode Island attracts over 9.8 million "heritage visitors" who add nearly $1.4 billion to the state's economy.
The economic impact report, "Historic Preservation: An Overlooked Economic Driver," found that the spending done by these visitors creates jobs for 19,000 workers directly and 7,000 indirectly. Those jobs generate paychecks of nearly $1 billion.
For the purpose of this study, researchers identified heritage visitors as those who visited a landmark or historic site; visited a museum; expressed a particular interest in historic places, sites and landmarks; and/or expressed a particular interest in cultural activities or attractions.
According to the report, heritage visitors represent 43.5 percent of all visitors and account for 54.3 percent of total tourist expenditures. Also, they spend an average of 33 percent than non-heritage visitors, and overnight heritage visitors spend 48 percent more than their non-heritage counterparts.
The study also shows the effectiveness of the Rhode Island Historic Tax Credit program. The report finds that for every dollar the state invests in a tax credit project, $10.52 of economic activity is generated in the state. Since 2001, tax credit projects have occurred in 26 of Rhode Island's 39 municipalities. The state receives back nearly half of the historic tax credit before it is even rewarded.