Destination Providence, a public-private partnership of city and state officials and local businesses, is revving up an ad blitz to convince travelers that Rhode Island's capital is the next big hot spot.
Encouraged by the interest generated by NBC's new show Providence and a 1.5-million-square-foot mall slated to open in August, officials hope to lure visitors with promises of fine dining, high-class shops and interesting architecture.
The campaign will position the city as eminently walkable with a European feel, said Josh Fenton, senior vice president of RDW Group, the Providence agency that landed the $1 million assignment after a review.
The agency will be sure to highlight one popular attraction: the gondolier who works the Providence River, which winds through the downtown area. RDW executives found a photo of a Venetian gondolier who, Fenton claimed, is "identical" to Providence's own.
So much so that they plan to use it in ads comparing the cities.
"It's uncanny," Fenton insisted. "It's a double-take situation. Really."