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Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism in the Ocean State
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With miles of sandy beaches, a picturesque rocky shoreline and history around every corner, Rhode Island is a popular vacation spot for travelers near and far. Its rich diverse culture reflected in the eclectic mix of shops and restaurants located throughout the state’s many neighborhoods and villages make Rhode Island a wonderful place to live, work and play.

Indeed, tourism is big business in Rhode Island. Generating over four billion dollars in revenue each year, tourism is considered by many to be one of Rhode Island’s largest industries. However, tourism actually crosses many industrial sectors and significantly influences the success of various industries within those sectors. Hotels and motels, air and ground transportation, recreational activities, and restaurants are examples of businesses heavily impacted by tourists and tourist-related activities. Other types of businesses, including gasoline stations, retail stores, and linen and food suppliers, are also affected by tourists and tourist-related activities, but to a lesser degree.

In an effort to measure the importance of tourism to the Rhode Island labor market, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has defined a Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism industry cluster. This cluster includes all industries that are heavily dependent on tourists and tourist-related activities. Tourist-related activities are considered to be the types of activities in which people engage while on vacation. This includes all leisure, recreation and hospitality activities, as well as travel activities associated with tourists. Under this definition, it does not matter if the individual dining at a restaurant, attending a sporting event, or sunbathing at the beach is an Ocean State resident or an out-of-town visitor.

Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism Highlights

> In 2006, the Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism industry cluster employed an average of 55,252 workers with employment reaching 60,000 during the summer months. Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism accounted for more than 13 percent of jobs in the state’s private sector. By 2014, Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism employment is expected to exceed 64,000 jobs.

> Overall, Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism workers earned an annual average wage of $17,338 in 2006, significantly lower than the private sector average ($38,732) due, in part, to the seasonal and part-time nature of the industry.

> Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism employment grew by 6.9 percent between 2001 and 2006, well above the state’s private sector growth rate of 3.1 percent experienced during the same period.

> Of the 12,736 private sector jobs added in the Ocean State between 2001 and 2006, over one-quarter (27.8%) were in the Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism industry cluster.

> Jobs where necessary skills are learned “on-the-job” make up the largest portion of jobs in the Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism industry cluster, accounting for over 75 percent of the cluster’s employment.

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RI Department of Labor and Training
Labor Market Information
Center General Complex
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone: (401) 462-8740
Fax (401) 462-8766
TTY via RI Relay: 711
11/25/13 MDF
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