In an effort to distribute South County-related tourism materials, the South County Tourism Council (SCTC) has acquired space at the Pilot Travel Center at Exit 93 off Route 95 in Connecticut. The move was a direct result of the closing of the Rhode Island Welcome Center.
According to SCTC President Myrna George, the council represents 449 square miles of southern Rhode Island, and six chambers of commerce in that region. She said the chambers had expressed concern about the welcome center closing and that the council tried to be responsive to that request.
The Rhode Island Welcome Center, which sits on the northbound side of Route 95 in between Exits 2 and 3, was officially closed on Thursday, Sept. 29 because of funding shortages and a decreasing number of visitors, according to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. (RIEDC).
“I think that the State Division of Tourism, as well as the South County Tourism Council, found the cost of maintaining [the welcome center] was not effective,” said George. “The research did not support the investment.”
During a visit to The Chariho Times last week, Governor Lincoln Chafee said that closing the welcome center was a hard decision, but one that ultimately had to be made. He cited the use of electronic tourism information over standard brochures as one of the main reasons for the decision.
“The experts say that those maps and brochures were in less and less demand,” Chafee said. “We just could not pay the several hundred thousand dollars.”
For more information, pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.