As Memorial Day weekend approaches, travelers far and wide are pulling out their luggage for the summer travel season ahead. Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport, the regional destination management organization for Newport and Bristol Counties, is excited about the many renovations and improvements found throughout the region that will enhance the visitor experience.

“We’re all still riding high from the wildly successful Volvo Ocean Race and the many investments completed in advance of the event, including the Newport Marriott’s $35 million renovation, the Hyatt Regency Newport’s $9 million renovation, the $3 million renovation at the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the multi-million dollar expansion at Newport Vineyards and the many pedestrian and traffic improvements around the city that have our destination looking better than ever,” said Smith.

Travel agency AAA predicts the unofficial summer season kickoff event, Memorial Day weekend, will see the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years. The agency projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the weekend, a 4.7 percent increase over 2014. Launching the summer driving season, 33 million travelers will be driving to their destinations. AAA also states that most drivers will likely pay the lowest gas prices over Memorial Day weekend in at least five years. (The association defines the Memorial Day holiday travel period as Thursday, May 21 to Monday, May 25.)

“This is excellent news for our destination as a majority of our visitors arrive by motor vehicle and nearly 35 million people live within a 200-mile radius of Newport,” said Smith. “Last week, ABC News named Newport among the ‘Eight Most Adorable Beach Towns’ in the country, and earlier this year, Fodor's Travel declared Newport the ‘Top U.S. Destination on the Rise.’ These accolades, in addition to a rising consumer confidence index, improving national employment and what looks to be the lowest gas prices over Memorial Day in at least five years, all lead me to believe Newport and our surrounding communities will have a very successful season ahead.”

To schedule an interview with Evan Smith, please contact him directly at 401-862-4947 or