Tourists continue to visit Oregon, and spend heavily while here | Crain's Portland

Tourists continue to visit Oregon, and spend heavily while here

Travel-related spending to places throughout the state, like Crater Lake, increased by nearly $500 million last year, reaching a record $11.3 billion. | Photo courtesy of alans1948/Flickr.

The past few years for Mt. Hood Territory have been good. Really good. And more money from travel and tourism allows the organization, which encourages visitors to a variety of places in Clackamas County, to focus on further promoting the area as well as developing even more assets for people to enjoy.

Jarrod Lyman, the organization’s senior communications specialist, can point to several reasons for the uptick in travel.

“We’re not collecting things anymore. It’s cool to collect experiences – and even cooler to share these experiences via social media,” Lyman says. “And the experiences Oregon and Mt. Hood Territory can provide are unique and generally stick with people for a lifetime.”

Apparently, Mt. Hood Territory is not alone.

Last year marked the travel industry's seventh consecutive year of increasing growth and economic impact, with travel-related spending generating record revenue within the state.

Independent findings by Dean Runyan Associates indicate that travel-related spending throughout Oregon jumped by nearly $500 million last year to a record $11.3 billion, while the number of Oregonians directly employed in the industry rose to more than 109,000.

"The travel and tourism industry continues to be a bright spot for Oregon's economy," says Gov. Kate Brown. "Not only are travel-related spending, employment and earnings vital components to the state's healthy economy, but also, traveling and connecting with the outdoors are good for Oregonians' health and well-being."  

The report, which provides detailed estimates of statewide, regional and county travel impact, includes the following findings:

  • Visitors to Oregon generated $11.3 billion in revenue for the state in 2016. This represents a 4.3 percent increase in spending in real dollars compared to the previous year and marked the seventh consecutive year of growth.
  • Last year Oregon destinations hosted 28.4 million overnight visitors, with hotel room revenue throughout the state increasing by 8 percent.
  • Domestic visitor air arrivals to Oregon grew 10.5 percent over the previous year.
  • The travel industry added more than 4,000 new jobs in 2016, a 3.5 percent increase over the prior year, bringing total statewide travel industry jobs to 109,500.
  • The secondary impact from travel-generated revenue pumped back into the local necoomy by businesses and employees were equivalent to 56,900 jobs in 2016, with earnings of $2.6 billion.
  • The travel industry's gross domestic product was $4.7 billion in 2016.
  • The travel industry is one of the top three export-oriented industries in rural Oregon counties.

"Everything we do at Travel Oregon is aimed at improving the lives of all Oregonians through travel and tourism," says Todd Davidson, Travel Oregon CEO. "This report, indicating the strong economic impact and jobs numbers the industry brings to the state, shows us that we are on track to achieve our mission of inspiring travel that drives economic development, enhancing communities, both large and small, in every corner of the state."

May 11, 2017 - 10:07pm