Bristol’s diversified economy is one of our greatest strengths. Our major industry sectors are education, healthcare, marine trades, composites, construction, retail, hospitality and tourism. We generally follow the national trend of our fastest-growing sector being healthcare.
Bristol has established itself as one of the world’s premier boat building towns, and it continues to be an integral part of our economic landscape. Builders choosing Bristol cite the historical significance of the Herreshoff Family and the active marine trades and composites cluster in the East Bay Industrial Park. In 2018, Bristol was selected as the headquarters for the construction of the New York Yacht Club’s America’s Cup challenger, American Magic.
The education sector is tremendously important to Bristol’s economy. Bristol is the home of Roger Williams University, a private, four-year college that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Roger Williams University is one of the Town’s largest employers, with over 1,000 staff and faculty. In 2019, it was ranked the #1 four-year college in Rhode Island by Schools.com. Roger Williams University has 4,000 undergraduate students at their Bristol campus. Roger Williams University has the only law school in the State of Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Bristol’s hospitality and tourism sector continue to welcome regional and international travelers. Bristol has 9 local museums, a coastal state park, and a Maritime Visitors Center. Bristol’s event venues host approximately 250 weddings per year.