Hospitality professionals from throughout Rhode Island gathered at Belle Mer’s Island House in Newport on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 to recognize colleagues who brought and will bring their group meetings to the City-by-the-Sea. The recently rebranded “Hospitality Champions” program, formerly known as “Newport Ambassadors,” was developed by Discover Newport in 2003 to encourage individuals to reach out to their respective clubs, groups, organizations, boards or associations and nominate Newport as a destination to host an event, meeting or convention. 

“I always look forward to this event,” said Anne Roberts, a Destination Expert and Hospitality Champion committee member at Discover Newport. “It’s an opportunity to thank the people in our community who act as ambassadors to Newport by bringing their companies, groups and organizations here for their meetings and conventions. Their actions singlehandedly create a far-reaching positive economic impact throughout our local and state hospitality industry.”

2014 Hospitality Champions:

Rosemary Bower, Founder, A Wish Come True

Association of Wish Granting Organizations Meeting at the Newport Harbor Hotel in June, 2015

Daniel Childs, Regional Manager, Luxottica Retail Care

Luxottica Fall Regional Meeting at the Newport Marriott in September, 2014

Jay Lasky, Owner, Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen Spring Meeting at the Newport Harbor Hotel in May, 2014

Kimberly Sullivan, Fisheries/ARE Program

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management - Division of Fish & Wildlife

Council for Environmental Educators Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in May, 2015

Tara Chace, Volunteer, Wilson Ornithological Society/Association of Field Ornithologists

Wilson Ornithological Society/Association of Field Ornithologists Joint Meeting at various Newport properties in May, 2014

“Promoting Newport County is a labor of love for me,” said Hospitality Champion Jay Lasky. “When Helly Hansen North America told me they were interested in holding their Spring 2015 product launch here for over 100 people, it was easy to spring into motion and find many interesting things for them to do. Places to stay like the Newport Harbor Hotel or where to hold two weeks’ worth of marine-related meetings made Fort Adams seem like a perfect fit.  They went sailing on Narragansett Bay, running on Cliff Walk, and ate at many of our great locally owned restaurants.”

Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport, noted that it’s not uncommon for local residents to overlook the economic impact and trickle-down effect Newport and Bristol Counties experience from group business. “Many people are involved in or members of various groups, from social, cultural and hobby clubs, volunteer associations and reunion groups to professional associations, industry associations and boards. Often they travel, locally, regionally, nationally or even internationally to gather. By bringing these groups to our destination, not only are they sharing what an extraordinary place this is, but there is a multi-tiered positive economic impact. Local hotels, inns, transportation, restaurants, shops, caterers, florists, event planning companies—they can all potentially benefit from the expenditures that groups bring to a destination.”


Discover Newport is the official destination management organization (DMO) dedicated to promoting the City of Newport and the eight surrounding coastal townships in Newport and Bristol counties, Rhode Island. These include Barrington, Bristol, Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Warren. As a non-profit organization, Discover Newport partners with stakeholders throughout our tourism and hospitality industry to market the region as a premiere destination for business and leisure travel.