PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (sihs-ihl-EE'-nee) is kicking off National Travel and Tourism Week with a meeting with tourism business owners and leaders of the state's hospitality industry.

The Democrat hosted a roundtable discussion Monday in Providence about Rhode Island's tourism economy.

Attendees at the event include Dale Venturini, president of the state Hospitality Association, and Evan Smith, president of Discover Newport.

Cicilline says tourism plays a critical role in the state's economy, noting that the state's tourism industry employs more than 40,000 people and generates $3.5 billion in spending.

Monday's event comes at the start of National Travel and Tourism Week, which is timed to attract the attention of those making plans for the summer travel season.