Blackstone Valley Tourism Council | President | 175 Main Street, Pawtucket RI United States
I hope that I am. I sincerely try to change things for the sake of change but for the better. I think more each day that we have to collapse the systems we now have to create new workable systems for the future.
Blackstone River Valley, Rhode Island, USA. It is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, a place where we thought little about sustaining our environment in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Now we work to bring our community back to sustainability.
The Blackstone Valley, Birthplace of American Industry, moves to a sustainable and resilient condition through the use of sustainable and whole place-making principles.
Billington, a trained cabinetmaker, works to bring sustainable tourism principles to the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution: the Blackstone River Valley of Rhode Island. He founded the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council in 1985 and has created several dynamic public/private partnerships in the Blackstone Valley. His long interest in the planning and organizing authentic tourism places guides the development of Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island.
He serves as a federal appointee to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, and is a member of the Board of several arts and educational institutions. Billington developed six riverboats, one being a British-built canal boat bed and breakfast and is creating river access landings in 5 communities. He assisted in the development of, and manages two year-round Visitor Centers.
He has been invited to the White House to meet President William Clinton and he has hosted First Lady Hillary Clinton in the Blackstone Valley. He has met with the President of Taiwan at his Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan and was invited to meet First-Lady Laura Bush and received White House financial support for cultural tourism projects in the Blackstone Valley.
His interest in community development, main streets, job creation, creating healthy, livable authentic landscapes and education have all come together under the non-profit agency he has lead for 25 years; the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. He founded the Sustainable Tourism Planning and Development Laboratory to help communities develop sustainable programs. Since it's founding in 2005 the Tourism Laboratory has presented semi-annual conferences educating 75 to 125 professionals from New England each session.
Billington has spoken at tourism conferences in the US, England, Scotland and Hong Kong and Madrid. He has teaches at Boston University's Graduate School, Johnson & Wales University and Bristol Community College where he coordinates the tourism curricula.
In 2006 the United Nations World Tourism Organization presented Billington with the Ulysses Prize. In the same year the United Nations World Tourism Organization certified the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council in Tourism Governance with its S.Best program.
In 2008 the World Travel and Tourism Council presented the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council their Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award. In 2008 the World Travel Awards, recognized Billington as the North American Travel Personality of the Year. He chaired the second Civic Tourism Conference in 2008 in that same year the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities presented him with the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities.
Billington spends his free-time with his Dad, building a boat for the Blackstone River.