Ray Watson Receives $300,000 Innovation Fellowship
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Watson, who is a lifetime resident of the Mount Hope section of Providence and heads the Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, was funded $300,000 to launch an initiative designed to expand multi-cultural tourism and improve cultural cohesion.
“Letitia and I admire all of the applicants for their talent, creativity and optimism about the potential of our state. We look forward to watching the constructive change that comes as a result of this year’s fellowship,” said John Carter.
Watson’s proposal was chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants.
“It is an untapped resource for drawing more and more diverse tourism to Rhode Island, which combined with Providence's world-class artistic reputation and standing, will serve as an economic stimulant for the state's economy,” said Watson.
The grant is awarded at a time when the state of Rhode Island's tourism campaign has been shelved and the Commerce Corporation's Chief Marketing Officer was forced to resign by Governor Raimondo's Administration. These changes took place after public opposition to the new tourism logo and tagline were unveiled, a tourism video included footage from Iceland, and more than 100 errors were unveiled on the tourism website.
“The goal is to cohesively and sustainably solidify greater Providence as the cultural heritage capitol of the Northeast,” said Watson.
Cultural tourism accounts for 78 percent of U.S. travelers—some 118 million tourists—who include arts and heritage in their trips each year. They stay longer and spend 36 percent more money than other kinds of travelers do, contributing more than $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
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