“I was ecstatic about the whole event. I'm grateful for so many things.”
Smith gushed about the almost perfect weather, the partnership with the community, and collaboration with hundreds of organizations throughout the city and state, which he said lead to about 60,000 visitors throughout the world series.
“We did get up to the 10,000 mark on Saturday. It was a moral victory.”
The saturation point at the fort was around 10,000, he said.
“Going into this, we have said that we wanted people to leave Newport saying the world tour was very interesting, but that Newport did it the best,” he said. “I think we accomplished that.”
Aside from racing, Smith said the event was a “nice blend of festival and regatta.” He added that race organizers had the sense to know that many of the visitors did not know sailing as well as other sports, and did a good job of keeping the crowd engaged and informed, as well as entertained with tents and exhibitions like the Exploration Zone.
“Selfishly, there were a lot of reasons I supported this thing,” he said. “The NBC coverage was one of the most important aspects of it for me as a tourism director. The whole world could see how beautiful Newport can be.” NBC offered live coverage of the final races.
As for a boom for local businesses, Smith said the results were a mixed bag.
He said some businesses saw a spike in sales, while others remained unaffected.
“We were pleased with the impact,” he said. “It's not like any businesses were hurt by the event.”
Smith said Newport's nightlife and restaurant scene was particularly active on Friday and Saturday night.
Hotels, on the other hand, did not see the numbers they were expecting.
The real success story, Smith said, was how well the event was choreographed.
“The water shuttles worked great, it was by far biggest project they've done... Also kudos to Bike Newport, they worked hard to get people to bike out there.”
“I think that [the event] showed that we can by working together we can do great things.”