Travel and leisure Oregon providing $2.3 million in grants for projects to spur state’s tourism industry

Travelling Oregon, the state’s tourism business office, offers $2.3 million in grants to invest in projects across the talk about to greatly help spur tourism as Oregon tries to recuperate from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local governments, port districts, federally recognised tribes, nonprofits and Oregon-structured tour operators and guides can make an application for up to $100,000 on funding to support projects focused on bettering infrastructure to safely welcome returning tourists as the pandemic continues.

The agency will fund projects that support outdoor recreation, help guides and tour companies operate, permit paid events and attractions to safely move forward, and improve organization districts, including funding projects that induce new outdoor spaces for visitors.

The application process will stay open until March 31. Tasks must be completed by the finish of November.

“The grants that we’re providing today are going to aid communities and aid businesses in being well-positioned to be able to offer these great Oregon experience in a very safe way,” Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson said. “That’s what we’re centered on, making sure individuals know they are able to travel in Oregon safely.”

The new initiative comes after Travel Oregon previous month awarded $913,000 to invest in 34 projects over the state focused on bettering visitor experiences through the pandemic. Among the recipients of this grant money was Portland’s economical development agency, which received $50,000 to improve the city’s green loop.

Approximately 87% of American travelers have plans to visit in the next half a year, the highest percentage because the start of the pandemic, according to a recently available study by general market trends firm Longwoods International.

However, Oregon’s tourism market has been decimated through the pandemic and it could have years for it to fully recover.

More than 1 million people visit Oregon in an average season, fueling a $12.8 billion tourism industry, according to Travel Oregon.

But visitor spending throughout the state dropped by practically 60% this past year as tourism dried up amid the pandemic, in line with the agency. Tourism could possibly be slow to rebound, particularly if international travelling remains limited and large occurrences and conventions happen to be slow to return. Oregon’s leisure and hospitality sector possesses shed 37% of its jobs through the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We anticipate that we will probably not see recovery back again to 2019 amounts until at least 2024 and it could be 2025,” Davidson said.

While certain parts of the state noticed tourism rebound last summer as leisure travel found, hotel occupancy in Portland plummeted from practically 75% in 2019 to 34% in 2020, worse than somewhere else in the state.

The decline in tourism across the state could have extreme financial implications for cities and counties.

“The travel and tourism industry is a primary driver of Oregon’s economy,” Davidson said.

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