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Rhode Island House Greenlights Increased Cruise Ship Fees, Promising Boost for Newport

Legislation sponsored by Representative Lauren H. Carson, aimed at increasing landing and boarding fees for cruise ships, successfully passed the House of Representatives Thursday.

Under the proposed legislation, marked as 2024-H 8027A and backed by the Newport City Council, the city would have the authority to raise fees charged to cruise ships during their stops in Newport. Currently set at $3 per passenger upon arrival and departure, the proposed adjustment would elevate this fee to $10 per passenger, totaling $20 for each visitor during a cruise ship visit. This marks the first increase in fees since 2014.

Representative Carson, representing District 75 in Newport, emphasized the significance of cruise ship stopovers in boosting Newport’s tourism industry. She stressed the importance of maximizing revenue from landing and embarking fees, particularly considering that cruise passengers often spend minimally in the city.

The raised funds from the $10 fee would be directed towards crucial infrastructure upgrades at Perrotti Park, a primary entry point for cruise passengers.

Perrotti Park, frequented by large cruise ships, is slated for significant enhancements, including the replacement of the Harbormaster building and the addition of public restrooms for cruise passengers. Additionally, $12 million is allocated for seawall replacement to enhance safety and resilience.

Newport anticipates a busy cruise schedule for 2024, with 62 large vessels expected to dock at Perrotti Park. Last year, Newport welcomed over 117,000 cruise passengers, highlighting the economic significance of this tourism segment.

The legislation, now advancing to the Senate, has found support in Senator Dawn Euer, who introduced companion legislation (2024-S 3021). As Newport looks forward to potential revenue growth and infrastructure improvements, the proposed fee adjustment represents a strategic move towards maintaining the city’s allure for residents and visitors alike.




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