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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: May 8, 2012
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402

DEM DIRECTOR JANET COIT ACCEPTS TOURISM SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD AT ANNUAL TOURISM/HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY EVENT

PROVIDENCE -Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit was presented with an award for DEM's exceptional impact on Rhode Island's tourism industry at the 27th Annual Tourism Unity Luncheon and Travel Exchange held today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick.

The 2012 Special Recognition Award was given in recognition of DEM's development, maintenance and enhancement of the state's natural assets that make Rhode Island a more beautiful place for residents and visitors. Governor Lincoln Chafee presented the award to Director Coit at the event, which celebrated the tourism and hospitality industry's many contributions to the state's economy and its role in promoting Rhode Island's beauty, history, and culture to visitors locally, regionally and around the world.

"Visiting our parks, beaches, farms, historic sites, and bikeways is an experience that brings joy to your life," said Director Coit as she accepted the award. "These spectacular natural places are what make Rhode Island truly special, and sharing them with family, friends and visitors creates memories that will last a lifetime."

The theme of DEM facilities promoting tourism and economic development was highlighted throughout the event as several speakers took the podium, including Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who spoke about the preservation of the Rocky Point shoreline; Bob Billington, President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council who spoke about the Blackstone Bike Path; and Myrna George, President of South County Tourism who spoke about state beaches and parks in South County.

Director Coit said, "Our state hosts an incredible diversity of natural resources, and I am humbled and honored to accept this award on behalf of DEM staff for the work they do every day to maintain these magnificent places for the public good." Director Coit noted that she is particularly proud of how our state facilities are accessible to people of all ages and physical abilities. "Every time I go on the East Bay Bike Path, hang out at Salty Brine State Beach in Galilee, or visit Lincoln Woods or other state parks, I smile and feel grateful that these areas are available to all and well-loved by everyone."

Honorees at the event were congratulated for helping to make travel and tourism a $5.2 billion industry in Rhode Island that supports more than 41,000 jobs. Increased visitation equals job growth for Rhode Island. Every 187 visitors create a new job in the state, according to an IHS Global Insight study of 2010 Rhode Island tourism results.

This year's luncheon theme of "Beautiful Rhode Island" focused on the beauty and enjoyment of the state's natural, cultural and historical gems. Director Coit credited Governor Lincoln Chafee for inspiring the "Beautiful Rhode Island" slogan because he remarks so often about Rhode Island's unique beauty, physical attributes, and natural assets.

"From the quiet white pine forest in Western Rhode Island, to the sandy barrier beaches of South County, to the rocky shores of Little Compton, we have a lot to be proud of in Beautiful Rhode Island," said Director Coit.

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